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Miscarriages 'put women at risk of developing PTSD'

By Jane Kirby

Some women who suffer a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy may be in danger of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a study has suggested.

Experts from Imperial College London found that 38% of women in their group met the criteria for probable PTSD three months after losing a baby.

Some 113 women took part in the study, published in the journal BMJ Open, filling in questionnaires about their thoughts and feelings after losing a baby.

Among the women who suffered a miscarriage, 45% had symptoms of PTSD after three-months, while 18% of the ectopic pregnancy group felt the same.

Some suffered nightmares or flashbacks, while others went out of their way to avoid family members who were pregnant.

Dr Jessica Farren, lead author of the research, said: "We were surprised at the high number of women who experienced symptoms after early pregnancy loss.

"At the moment, there is no routine follow-up appointment for women who have suffered a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. We have checks in place for postnatal depression, but we don't have anything for the trauma following pregnancy loss."

Professor Tom Bourne, senior author of the study, said the team were planning larger follow-up studies. He added: "Not all women who suffer a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy will go on to develop PTSD or anxiety and depression. We are now investigating why some women may be more at risk."

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