Recurrent miscarriage: psychological and relational consequences for couples

Psychol Psychother. 2006 Dec;79(Pt 4):585-94. doi: 10.1348/147608306x96992.


Recurrent miscarriage is a rare condition that has been described as a traumatic event for couples. Although symptoms of depression, anxiety and lowered self-esteem have been related after recurrent miscarriage, little is known about its impact on couple sexuality and on gender differences in attitude and the grief that follow. The objectives of this study are to describe the consequences of recurrent pregnancy loss for the couple's relationship, and explore gender differences in attitudes and grief intensity toward this kind of reproductive failure. Each member of 30 couples with at least 3 recurrent miscarriages answered a set of questionnaires, including the Impact of Events Scale (Horowitz, Wilnwe, & Alvarez, 1979), the Perinatal Grief Scale (Toedter, Lasker, & Qlhadeff, 1988), the Partnership Questionnaire (Hahlweg, 1979) and the Intimate Relationship Scale (Hetherington & Soeken, 1990). Results showed that men do grieve, but less intensely than their partners. Although the couple's relationship seemed to not be adversely affected by recurrent miscarriage, couples described sexual changes after those events. Grief was related to the quality of communication in the couple for women, and to the quality of sex life for men.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Habitual / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Denial, Psychological
  • Female
  • Grief
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires