London: A new study has found that women who experience depression and anxiety after a miscarriage can continue to experience these symptoms even if they subsequently go on to have a healthy child.
The findings, based on the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) at the University of Bristol, show no evidence that mental health problems associated with miscarriage or stillbirth end with the birth of a healthy baby.
Instead, women may continue to experience symptoms for several years after the postnatal period.
The researchers studied 13,133 pregnant women involved in ALSPAC and asked them to report the number of previous miscarriages and stillbirths they had experienced.
They were assessed for symptoms of depression and anxiety twice during their pregnancy (at 18 and 32 weeks), and four times after giving birth (at 8 weeks, 8 months, 21 months and 33 months).
The majority of women (10,310) reported no miscarriages. 2,823 women reported having one or more previous miscarriages. 108 reported having one previous stillbirth and just 3 women had 2 previous stillbirths.
The researchers found that women who had lost a baby in the past experienced significantly higher levels of anxiety and depression during pregnancy and this continued nearly three years after they gave birth to a healthy baby.
The study was published online by the British Journal of Psychiatry.