Psychological outcomes following missed abortions and provision of follow-up care

Authors

  • Dr A. V. Nikcevic,

    Corresponding author
    1. Harris Birthright Research Centre for Fetal Medicine, King's College Hospital Medical School, London, UK
    • Harris Birthright Research Centre for Fetal Medicine, King's College Hospital Medical School, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8RX, UK
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  • S. A. Tunkel,

    1. Harris Birthright Research Centre for Fetal Medicine, King's College Hospital Medical School, London, UK
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  • K. H. Nicolaides

    1. Harris Birthright Research Centre for Fetal Medicine, King's College Hospital Medical School, London, UK
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Abstract

This cross-sectional study of 204 women who had experienced a missed abortion, diagnosed at 10–14 weeks of pregnancy, examined the availability and desirability of routine follow-up care, and whether such care is associated with reduced psychological morbidity in the aftermath of miscarriage. Clinically elevated anxiety and depression were observed in 45% and 15% of women, respectively, and the mean score of grief was 2.52 which is similar to that observed in people who suffer death of a close relative. A follow-up appointment after the miscarriage was thought to have been desirable by 92% of women but was offered to only 30%. No significant association between such care and reduced psychological morbidity was identified. However, there were significantly more women with clinically elevated levels of anxiety among those who felt that they were not provided with an opportunity to discuss their feelings during the follow-up, suggesting that such a follow-up either had a deleterious effect on women's psychological state or the distress itself led to such a perception of care. One-third of women in our sample would have liked psychological counselling to help them deal with the emotional aspects of their loss. Copyright © 1998 International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology

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