Previous pregnancy loss has an adverse impact on distress and behaviour in subsequent pregnancy

OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether women with previous miscarriages or terminations have higher levels of anxiety, depression, stress, and altered behaviours in a subsequent pregnancy. DESIGN: A retrospective analysis of 5575 women recruited into the Screening for Pregnancy Endpoints (SCOPE) study, a prospective cohort study. SETTING: Auckland, New Zealand, Adelaide, Australia, Cork, Ireland, and Manchester, Leeds, and London, UK. POPULATION: Healthy nulliparous women with singleton pregnancies. METHODS: Outcomes were recorded at 15 and 20 weeks of gestation. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Short-form State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) score, Perceived Stress Scale score, Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale score, and pregnancy-related behaviour measured using behavioural responses to pregnancy score. RESULTS: Of the 5465 women included in the final analysis, 559 (10%) had one and 94 (2%) had two previous miscarriages, and 415 (8%) had one and 66 (1%) had two previous terminations of pregnancy. Women with one previous miscarriage had increased anxiety (adjusted mean difference 1.85; 95% confidence interval, 95% CI 0.61-3.09), perceived stress (adjusted mean difference 0.76; 95% CI 0.48-1.03), depression (adjusted odds ratio, aOR 1.26; 95% CI 1.08-1.45), and limiting/resting behaviour in pregnancy (adjusted mean difference 0.80; 95% CI 0.62-0.97). In women with two miscarriages, depression was more common (aOR 1.65; 95% CI 1.01-2.70) and they had higher scores for limiting/resting behaviour in pregnancy (adjusted mean difference 1.70; 95% CI 0.90-2.53) at 15 weeks of gestation. Women with one previous termination displayed elevated perceived stress (adjusted mean difference 0.65; 95% CI 0.08-1.23) and depression (aOR 1.25; 95% 1.08-1.45) at 15 weeks of gestation. Women with two previous terminations displayed increased perceived stress (adjusted mean difference 1.43; 95% CI 0.00-2.87) and depression (aOR 1.67; 95% 1.28-2.18). CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights the psychological implications of miscarriage and termination of pregnancy.