Previous pregnancy loss has an adverse impact on distress and behaviour in subsequent pregnancy

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Objective To investigate whether women with previous miscarriages or terminations have higher levels of anxiety, depression, stress, and altered behaviours in a subsequent pregnancy. Design A retrospective analysis of 5575 women recruited into the Screening for Pregnancy Endpoints (SCOPE) study, a prospective cohort study. Setting Auckland, New Zealand, Adelaide, Australia, Cork, Ireland, and Manchester, Leeds, and London, UK. Population Healthy nulliparous women with singleton pregnancies. Methods Outcomes were recorded at 15 and 20 weeks of gestation. Main outcome measures Short-form State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) score, Perceived Stress Scale score, Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale score, and pregnancy-related behaviour measured using behavioural responses to pregnancy score. Results Of the 5465 women included in the final analysis, 559 (10%) had one and 94 (2%) had two previous miscarriages, and 415 (8%) had one and 66 (1%) had two previous terminations of pregnancy. Women with one previous miscarriage had increased anxiety (adjusted mean difference 1.85; 95% confidence interval, 95% CI 0.61-3.09), perceived stress (adjusted mean difference 0.76; 95% CI 0.48-1.03), depression (adjusted odds ratio, aOR 1.26; 95% CI 1.08-1.45), and limiting/resting behaviour in pregnancy (adjusted mean difference 0.80; 95% CI 0.62-0.97). In women with two miscarriages, depression was more common (aOR 1.65; 95% CI 1.01-2.70) and they had higher scores for limiting/resting behaviour in pregnancy (adjusted mean difference 1.70; 95% CI 0.90-2.53) at 15 weeks of gestation. Women with one previous termination displayed elevated perceived stress (adjusted mean difference 0.65; 95% CI 0.08-1.23) and depression (aOR 1.25; 95% 1.08-1.45) at 15 weeks of gestation. Women with two previous terminations displayed increased perceived stress (adjusted mean difference 1.43; 95% CI 0.00-2.87) and depression (aOR 1.67; 95% 1.28-2.18). Conclusions This study highlights the psychological implications of miscarriage and termination of pregnancy.




McCarthy, F. P., Moss-Morris, R., Khashan, A. S., North, R. A., Baker, P. N., Dekker, G., … O’Donoghue, K. (2015). Previous pregnancy loss has an adverse impact on distress and behaviour in subsequent pregnancy. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 122(13), 1757–1764.

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