A 1-year longitudinal study of psychological morbidity after miscarriage

Fertil Steril. 2010 Apr;93(6):1966-75. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2008.12.048. Epub 2009 Jan 30.


Objective: To examine the 1-year longitudinal course of psychological outcomes after miscarriage.

Design: Longitudinal observational study.

Setting: University-affiliated teaching hospital.

Patient(s): 280 miscarrying women and 150 nonpregnant women.

Intervention(s): Psychological outcomes were assessed using the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) immediately, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months after miscarriage.

Main outcome measure(s): Scores on GHQ-12 and BDI.

Result(s): Half (55%) of the miscarrying women scored high (>or=4) on the GHQ-12 immediately, 25% at 3 months; 17.8% at 6 months, and 10.8% at 1 year after miscarriage; 26.8% of the patients scored high on the BDI (>or=12) immediately, 18.4% at 3 months, 16.4% at 6 months, and 9.3% at 1 year after miscarriage. Patients who were initially more distressed continued to score higher on both the GHQ-12 and the BDI along the 1-year course when compared with those who were initially less distressed. When compared with the nonpregnant controls, the miscarrying women scored statistically significantly higher on the GHQ-12 and BDI; the differences became not statistically significant only 1 year after miscarriage.

Conclusion(s): A statistically significant proportion of patients reported psychological morbidity shortly after miscarriage, but their level of distress reduced over time until they were comparable with the controls 1 year later. Patients who were initially more distressed continued to be throughout the 1-year course.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Spontaneous / epidemiology*
  • Abortion, Spontaneous / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Morbidity
  • Parity
  • Personality Inventory
  • Pregnancy
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Social Class
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors