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The mental health impact of pregnancy loss: reactions to the research

17th January 2020

This week we shared and discussed the results of a new piece of research, which found that miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy may trigger long-term post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression.

There was a very positive reaction from the media, with a wide variety of local and national press picking up the story. We spoke to Channel  5, BBC Scotland, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio Devon, BBC Radio Sussex, BBC Radio 5 Live, LBC, Sky News, New Scientist, Elle, the Telegraph and more.

We couldn’t have done this without the help of our media volunteers Amy, Lara and Sally, and Glasgow Support Group volunteer, Gillian. Thank you so much for sharing your stories and shining a light on the very real impact of pregnancy loss on so many women – and their partners too.

Here is a selection of the stories in the media you might like to read, listen to or watch:

 

Social media

Our posts about the news reached nearly 100,000 people, with nearly 500 comments on our posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Discussions online echoed the research focus on the serious and long-term effects on mental health, as people shared their own experiences.  Many noted the gap between their needs and the services and support available, commenting that the impact is huge and often still felt many years later.

Key issues mentioned were:

  • Lack of support at the time of loss and later
  • Lack of recognition of pregnancy loss as a significant event, including in the language used by medical staff
  • Women experiencing loss being seen in the same place as expectant mothers or those who have given birth
  • High levels of anxiety when thinking about another pregnancy and during any future pregnancies
  • Little access to or even mention of counselling or other therapies, and often long waiting lists if they were referred.

I don’t think I’ll ever get over our loss. Being told not to bother asking for help as the waiting list was too long and ‘I’d be over it by the time I got my appointment’ really didn’t help.

Many people also talked about the need for follow up, that they were discharged from hospital all too swiftly with only a leaflet offered, if anything at all. Many women said they felt pressured to return to work.  There is also a clear need for partners’ needs to be considered.

 

What next?

We’re already working both independently and in collaboration with other charities to improve care during and after pregnancy or baby loss – whether that’s in hospital or via general practice, through:

  • Our free e-learning and face to face workshops
  • Leading on early pregnancy loss for the National Bereavement Care Pathway in England and being developed in Scotland
  • Contributing to the Baby Loss Alliance report on the need for psychological services after pregnancy or baby loss
  • Advising on development of NHSE guidance on perinatal mental health after loss.

We’re also keen to support the Imperial College researchers’ call for more studies, screening and thought about tailoring support for anyone who might develop PTSD, acute anxiety or depression as a result of pregnancy loss.

 

If you need support and information…

We’re here to help you through, with:

You don’t need to go through pregnancy loss alone.

 

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