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Miscarriage and your mental well-being

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 2 minutes read

Miscarriage is the term used for loss of pregnancy before 20 weeks of gestation. Most miscarriages occur in the first trimester, or before the 13th week of gestation. Sadly, miscarriage is far more common than people think. Approximately one in every ten pregnancies will end in miscarriage.

It's an incredibly difficult and emotional experience. It brings physical, psychological, and social challenges. People often wonder why it has happened, and whether they've done anything wrong or could have done something to prevent it. Most of the time, there is no obvious reason for a miscarriage, and you should reassure yourself that there's nothing you could have done differently or better. You should also take heart from the fact that a miscarriage, even multiple miscarriages, does not mean that you are not going to carry a pregnancy to full term and become a parent.

Impact on your mental health

Many people need to take time to grieve the loss of their baby after a miscarriage. Around 1 in 5 women who have suffered a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy will have ongoing psychological symptoms, which can last for many months.

Your doctor would want to know that you have had a miscarriage and would want to know if you were having a difficult time with your mood, mental health, or other distressing psychological symptoms.

What is the first step?

First, it's worth reaching out to trusted friends, family, and your partner. Talking about things with people who care about you can give you a sense of strength and perspective.

If it's causing ongoing distress, or your feelings are interfering with your day-to-day functioning or relationships at home or work, book a routine appointment with your doctor. They will want to hear how you are doing and may be able to advise of helpful support groups or services that are available in your area.

You should urgently speak to a medical professional if you are having thoughts of harming yourself or suicide. You can get urgent help via your doctor, calling 911, or by going to the emergency department, which is a safe place during a crisis.

If you have had multiple miscarriages, you should speak to your doctor, as there are some instances where medical causes lead to an increased chance of miscarriage. And you may need their support with future pregnancies, as this can bring up similar feelings of anxiety, guilt, and grief.

Other support options

The Empty Arms Miscarriage and Early Pregnancy Loss Support Group is an organization that can provide you with information and give you support via telephone, online chat, or support groups.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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