Depression Risk Increased After Miscarriage

New York - Miscarriage can represent a physical stress to the body of a woman as well as lead to emotional trauma affecting women and their families.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics (1997), the pregnancies of approximately half a million women annually in the United States end in miscarriage. The impact of miscarriages is further underscored by current estimates that nearly 20 percent of recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage.

In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (1997;277:383-388) Dr. Richard Neugebauer and colleagues compared the risk for an episode of major depressive disorder among miscarrying women in the first 6 months after their loss of pregnancy with community women who had not been pregnant.

Dr. Neugebauer's study found that there was a significant risk of depression in women after miscarriage. Furthermore, 72 percent of the episodes of major depression occurred during the first month after the loss of the pregnancy.

The study also found that the risk for depression was substantially higher for those miscarrying women who had no children. Further, the data demonstrated that over half of the women with prior histories of major depression experienced recurrences after they had miscarriages.

The authors conclude that women should be monitored for signs of depression during the weeks after miscarriage.

For more information, please visit the Miscarriage Center.


Last Editorial Review: 4/1/2002