Anxiety following miscarriage and the subsequent pregnancy: a review of the literature and future directions

J Psychosom Res. 2004 Jan;56(1):35-45. doi: 10.1016/S0022-3999(03)00042-4.


Objective: This is the first comprehensive review to summarize the research literature regarding anxiety symptomatology and disorders following miscarriage.

Methods: Both "controlled" and "uncontrolled" designs are considered, with the inferential limitations of studies lacking comparison groups highlighted.

Results: The limited research available suggests that miscarrying women are at increased risk for anxiety symptoms immediately following miscarriage and continuing until approximately 4 months post-loss. Beyond 4 months, reports are inconsistent. There is evidence to suggest increased risk for some anxiety disorders in the 6 months following loss; however, studies using larger sample sizes and comparison groups are needed.

Conclusions: This is the first review to consider the incidence of anxiety disorders following miscarriage, as well as the psychological impact of loss on the pregnancy subsequent to miscarriage, and the impact on partners of miscarrying women. Areas warranting further study are noted and are intended to guide future investigation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Spontaneous / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Panic Disorder / epidemiology
  • Phobic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy / psychology*
  • Spouses / psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Time Factors