Pregnancy Loss Can Lead to Post-Traumatic Stress
Women who experience early pregnancy loss (from either miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy) are vulnerable to symptoms of post-traumatic stress, sometimes for as long as 9 months following the loss, according to a study published online December 13, 2019, in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The authors stated that this represents “a significant health issue,” given the frequency of miscarriages, especially since there is a societal trend towards later childbearing.
Of course, as therapists we are not able to provide obstetrical care. However, as the article’s authors suggest, we can be continually mindful of the needs and vital statistics of our pregnant clients, including their age, their personal history of miscarriages (as well as that of their close relatives), preexisting or currently existing mental health issues, the viability of spousal/family support, and the degree to which medical professionals are aware of the need for sensitive communication with their patients during and after a miscarriage.
If a miscarriage happens, we can be aware of the risk of long-term post-traumatic symptoms and help normalize our clients’ struggles with prolonged symptoms. And we can help those in our clients’ support network to be better able to provide the kind of support our clients need to effectively cope with their emotions.
For more information, please refer to the article: “Pregnancy loss can lead to post-traumatic stress.” Medscape, Jan. 21, 2020.
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