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Anxiety May Persist After Miscarriage

Wednesday, September 19, 2007
By Joene Hendry

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - After a miscarriage, depression appears to decline during the following year, but many women and their partners continue to feel anxiety more than a year later, study findings suggest.

"In people who experience miscarriage, anxiety, rather than depression is more likely to be the clinical burden, [and] this can be persisting [and] enduring," Dr. Grant P. Cumming, of Dr. Gray's Hospital, Elgin, United Kingdom told Reuters Health.

Few studies have attempted to assess the long-term emotional impact of miscarriage on couples. This led Cumming and colleagues to examine depression and anxiety in women and their partners within one month after the women experienced a miscarriage, and again 6 and 13 months later. They report the study in BJOG, a journal of obstetrics and gynaecology.

Of the 273 women and 133 men who completed all assessments, just over 10 percent of the women and 4 percent of the men showed depression within the first month following miscarriage.

After 13 months, the researchers identified depression in about 2 percent of the women and the men.

"We expected depression scores to be high in women initially, but were surprised to see them fall as quickly," Cumming said.

The main psychological burden in women, and in some men, was anxiety, Cumming added. Within the first month after miscarriage, over 24 percent of the women and over 5 percent of the men showed anxiety.

At the final assessment, anxiety was still evident in nearly 16 percent of the women and over 4 percent of the men.

Cumming said it is important that health professionals address negative psychological sequelae following miscarriage and the potential negative effects on relationships, mental health, work, and future pregnancy.

SOURCE: BJOG, September 2007
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