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Keywords:

  • Anxiety;
  • assisted reproduction;
  • depression;
  • miscarriage;
  • subfertility

Objective

To compare the psychological impact following early miscarriage between women who conceived naturally and women who conceived following assisted reproduction.

Design

Prospective cohort study.

Setting

Assisted reproduction clinic and general gynaecological unit in a university-affiliated, tertiary referral hospital.

Population

A cohort of 150 women (75 after natural conception; 75 after assisted reproduction).

Methods

Completed semi-structured interviews using two standard questionnaires [the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) and the 22–item Revised Impact of Events Scale (IES-R)], at 1, 4, and 12 weeks after a diagnosis of first-trimester miscarriage.

Main outcome measures

The GHQ–12 and IES–R scores for the two groups of women.

Results

The GHQ-12 and IES-R scores were significantly higher in the assisted reproduction group than the scores in the natural conception group, at 4 weeks and 12 weeks after miscarriage. Further breakdown of the scores revealed significantly higher hyperarousal symptoms at 4 and 12 weeks in the assisted reproduction group, indicating the traumatic effect of miscarriage to these women.

Conclusions

Following first-trimester miscarriage, subfertile women who conceived after assisted reproduction had higher stress and anxiety-depression levels, and experienced more traumatic impact from the event, than those after natural conception. A timely support and psychological intervention would be beneficial in the management of this group of women.