Repeated miscarriage exacts heavy mental toll on couples

12 Nov 2020

Recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) appears to have an adverse psychological effect on women and their male partners, with both being at risk of developing depression and anxiety, a study has found.

The study included 90 couples (mean relationship duration, 8.7 years) and 14 women who completed a questionnaire covering psychological risk factors (ScreenIVF), experience of pregnancy losses, coping strategies, and partnership satisfaction.

Women had experienced a median of three pregnancy losses, with 15 (14.4 percent) having had a history of second-trimester miscarriage and/or stillbirth. There were 34 women (32.7 percent) with a history of at least one live birth with their current partner (secondary RPL). The mean interval between the latest pregnancy loss and the initial visit for consultation was 5.7 months.

Results of ScreenIVF showed that 51.7 percent of women and 19.1 percent of men were at risk of depression, 47.7 percent and 19.1 percent were at risk of anxiety, and 28.1 percent and 30.7 percent were at risk of limited social support.

With respect to coping, active strategies yielded more favourable effect than avoidance on the psychological risk. On the other hand, having a satisfying partnership and a child together were protective.

The findings underscore the importance of offering support to couples dealing with RPL.

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