Study finds prevalence of depression in women after miscarriage

Study finds prevalence of depression in women after miscarriage

Pregnancy is a delicate health situation for both the mom-to-be and the baby, especially during the initial months, when chances of facing complications are quite high. Of all the problems, a miscarriage is the most common problem that affects 10-15 percent of pregnancies, with most of them occurring in the first trimester. A miscarriage can happen either spontaneously or one may induce it. The reasons leading to a spontaneous miscarriage can range from chromosomal abnormalities, uterine anomalies to environmental factors like drinking or smoking.

The woman who has suffered a miscarriage could experience a plethora of emotional upheavals—feeling of numbness, a sense of disbelief and a mixture of anger, guilt, sadness and depression. A major factor contributing to this mental state is the strong bonding between a mother and her baby, irrespective of the pregnancy ending early.

Whether it occurs due to natural causes, or is an induced one, a miscarriage has a significant impact on the psychological well-being of the woman. Studies have found an induced miscarriage to be associated with a higher rate of psychiatric complications compared to the one that happens spontaneously. This paves the way for the onset of many psychological issues like depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD).

A recent study published in February 2018 by researchers at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi, found the prevalence of depression two weeks after a miscarriage among 34 percent of the participants who had suffered a miscarriage. The study included 182 women belonging to the reproductive age group of 15-49 years, who had a miscarriage, either spontaneous or induced. Women who had a history of depression were not included in the study. The researchers used the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) to measure the symptoms of depression, consisting of a 10-item questionnaire. The responses regarding the frequency of depressive symptoms were scored from zero to three. A score of 13 and above was deemed screen-positive and an indicator of a higher likelihood of depression.

The results showed 62 women of the 182 patients having a positive depression screen, which was 34.1 percent of the women. At least 33.1 percent of the women (which is 21 women) had thoughts about self-harm. Hence, the researchers emphasized the need for screening these women using the EPDS after a miscarriage. Depression in these women, if not addressed, could spell doom.

Shock and denial is usually followed by anger or guilt

Depression may set in any time in women who have had a miscarriage, though the mentioned study says it is usually after two weeks. Grieving starts when the resultant hormonal change intensifies the symptoms. It could start as early as 10 days, while in some instances, could take much longer. First, there is shock and denial, usually followed by anger or guilt.

However, it is important to address various factors that trigger depression in women post miscarriage. This also points to the fact that a screening for depression is important for women after miscarriage in order to maintain her mental and physical well-being.

Dealing with depression

Although depression is a common mental health issue, a majority of the people still refrain from seeking help because of the stigma attached to mental illnesses. If you know someone who is showing signs of depression, the Arizona Depression Helpline can assist you in locating the best treatment centers for depression in Arizona offering evidence-based programs. You can call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-233-3895 or have an online chat for depression with our experts to get further details about some of the most effective depression treatment programs in Arizona.