Pregnancy following miscarriage: course of grief and some determining factors

J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 1996 Sep;17(3):168-74. doi: 10.3109/01674829609025678.


This prospective study aimed to investigate the impact of both (the speediness of) a subsequent pregnancy and the birth of a viable child on grief arising from a previous pregnancy loss. Data were collected from a series of written questionnaires. Of the 2140 pregnant women who participated in the study, 227 lost a baby by miscarriage (85%) or perinatal death (15%). In 221 women, the loss concerned a singleton. At each of four post-loss assessments, these women completed the Perinatal Grief Scale. They also indicated whether they had conceived again and, if they had, related how they felt about that. Data were analyzed by means of hierarchical multiple regression. Both conceiving again and the birth of a living child lessened grief. A speedy new pregnancy was only rarely found to be detrimental. It is suggested that parents, at least following miscarriage, no longer be advised to wait a specific time before conceiving again. Preferably their individual situation should be discussed with them in order to help them make their own informed decision concerning the subsequent pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Spontaneous / psychology*
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Grief*
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy / psychology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recurrence
  • Regression Analysis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors