Research Article| Volume 9, ISSUE 1, P19-22, March 1999

Psychological aspects of spontaneous and recurrent abortion

      This paper is only available as a PDF. To read, Please Download here.


      Spontaneous abortion is common in early pregnancy, whilst recurrent miscarriage is relatively rare. Empirical studies of psychological sequellae of spontaneous abortions are limited, but strongly suggest that a significant number of women who miscarry, experience grief and various degrees of clinically-significant depression and anxiety. Depression is more common amongst women with recurrent abortions. Contributory factors for the development of psychological distress in women range from obstetric history, personality, past history of psychiatric illness, attitude towards pregnancy and social support.
      There is evidence that clinicians are poor at the psychological management of miscarriage. If detected early, successful intervention can be made in cases of grief and other clinical disorders. Sensitivity, support and appropriate psychopharmacological intervention can significantly reduce distress.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Reproductive Medicine
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Hill J.A.
        Sporadic and recurrent abortion.
        Current Problems in Obstetrics, Gynecology and Fertility. 1994; 17: 113-164
        • Osterweis M.
        • Solomon F.
        • Green M.
        Bereavement reactions, consequences and care.
        in: Zisook S. Biopsychosocial aspects of bereavement. American Psychiatric Press, Washington DC1987
        • Engel G.L.
        Is grief a disease? A challenge for medical research.
        Psychosom Med. 1961; 23: 18-22
        • Brown J.T.
        • Stoudemire G.A.
        Normal and pathological grief.
        JAMA. 1983; 250: 378-382
        • Zisook S.
        • Schuchter S.R.
        Depression through first year after the death of a spouse.
        Am J Psychiatry. 1991; 148: 1346-1352
        • Beutel M.
        • Decrkardt R.
        • Rad M.von
        • et al.
        Grief and depression after miscarriage: their separation, antecedents, and course.
        Psychosom Med. 1995; 57: 517-526
        • Siebel M.M.
        • Graves W.L.
        The psychological implications of spontaneous abortion.
        J Reprod Med. 1980; 25: 161-165
        • Turner M.J.
        • Flannelly G.M.
        • Wingfield M.
        • et al.
        The miscarriage clinic: an audit if the first year.
        Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1991; 98: 306-308
        • Neugebauer R.
        • Kline J.
        • O'Conor P.
        • et al.
        Determinants of depressive symptoms in the early weeks after miscarriage.
        Am J Public Health. 1992; 82: 1332-1339
        • Thaper A.K.
        • Thaper A.
        Psychological sequelae of miscarriage: a controlled study using general health questionnaire and the hospital anxiety and depression scale.
        Br J Gen Pract. 1992; 42: 94-96
        • Prettyman R.J.
        • Cordol C.J.
        • Cook G.D.
        A three month follow-up of psychological morbidity after early miscarriage.
        Br J Med Psychol. 1993; 66: 363-372
        • Friedman T.
        • Gath D.
        The psychiatric complication of spontaneous abortion.
        Br J Psychiatry. 1989; 155: 810-813
        • Garel M.
        • Blondel B.
        • Lelong L.
        • et al.
        Depressive reaction after miscarriage.
        Contraception, Fertility and Sterility. 1992; 20: 75-81
        • Stirrat G.
        Recurrent miscarriage II: clinical associations, causes, and management.
        Lancet. 1990; 336: 728-733
        • Klock S.C.
        • Chang G.
        • Hiley A.
        • et al.
        Psychological distress among women with recurrent spontaneous abortion.
        Psychosomatics. 1997; 38: 503-507
        • Slade P.
        Predicting the psychological impact of miscarriage.
        J of Reproductive and Infant Psychology. 1994; 12: 5-16
        • McGrath E.
        • Keita G.P.
        • Strickland B.
        • et al.
        Women and depression: risk factors and treatment issues.
        American Psychiatric Press, Washington DC1990
        • Brugha T.S.
        • Bebbington P.E.
        • MacCarthy B.
        • et al.
        Social network, social support and the type of depressive illness. 1987; 76: 664-673
        • Brugha T.S.
        • Sharps H.M.
        • Cooper S.A.
        • et al.
        The Leicester 500 Project. Social support and the development postnatal depressive symptoms, a prospective cohort studies.
        Psychol Med. 1998; 28: 63-79
        • Gilchrist A.C.
        • Hannaford P.C.
        • Frank P.
        • et al.
        Termination of pregnancy and psychiatric morbidity.
        Br J of Psychiatry. 1995; 167: 243-248
        • Iles S.
        The loss of early pregnancy.
        Baillieres Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 1989; 3: 769-790
        • Lee D.T.S.
        • Wong C.K.
        • Ungvari G.S.
        • et al.
        Screening psychiatric morbidity after miscarriage: Application of the 30-item General Health Questionnaire and Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale.
        Psychosom Med. 1997; 59: 207-210
        • Friedman T.
        Women's perspective of general practitioner management of miscarriage.
        J R Coll Gen Practitioners. 1989; 39: 456-458
        • Banks R.
        Just another abortion?.
        BMJ. 1993; 306: 1698
        • Phipp S.
        Mourning response and intervention in still birth: an alternative genetic counselling approach.
        Soc Biol. 1981; 28: 1-13