Grief Following Miscarriage: A Comprehensive Review of the Literature

Department of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Children's Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center, Bronx, New York 10461, USA.
Journal of Women's Health (Impact Factor: 2.05). 05/2008; 17(3):451-64. DOI: 10.1089/jwh.2007.0505
Source: PubMed


The literature exploring the relationship between miscarriage and grief is sparse. This paper summarizes the literature on grief subsequent to an early miscarriage to elucidate the nature, incidence, intensity, and duration of grief at this time and to identify potential moderators.
An electronic search of the Medline and Psych Info databases was conducted. Studies were selected for inclusion if they related to early miscarriage, used a standardized measure to assess perinatal grief, and specified the assessment intervals employed. Qualitative studies were included when helpful to develop hypotheses.
Descriptions of grief following miscarriage are highly variable but tend to match descriptions of grief used to characterize other types of significant losses. A sizable percentage of women seem to experience a grief reaction, with the actual incidence of grief unclear. Suggestively, grief, when present, seems to be similar in intensity to grief after other types of major losses and is significantly less intense by about 6 months. Few conclusions can be drawn in regard to potential moderators of grief following a miscarriage.
Although additional research is clearly needed, guidelines for coping with grief following miscarriage can be based on the data available on coping with other significant types of losses. Given the range of potential meanings for this primarily prospective and symbolic loss, practitioners need to encourage patients to articulate the specific nature of their loss and assist in helping them concretize the experience.

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    • "Health care professionals are in a position to keep affected couples informed about what they will be experiencing and also about various examinations and treatments [1] [22]-[24] (Brier 2011). Competent support is shown to better enable the couple to process their grief and to proceed forwards with their life [1] [4]. Research shows that women with suspected miscarriage benefit from structured information and standardized management [13]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: The aim of this paper is to describe the process of developing web information on miscarriage based on scientific evidence, for women and couples in Sweden experiencing miscarriage. Method: A participatory design was used which included researchers, professional experts and users. A participatory design was used involving researchers, professional experts and users. The information was developed in six stages: 1) identifying the needs of information; 2) identifying and constructing the main areas of information and its paths; 3) identifying and inviting experts for revision; 4) developing the text; 5) reviewing the text; 6) design and structuring for adaption to website. Results: The text of information developed gradually based on the seven steps. The final text comprised three parts: 1) what is miscarriage; 2) experiences of miscarriage; 3) processing and planning for new pregnancy. Conclusion: Using participatory design was time and resource consuming, however it was functional for producing appropriate information for the target group. The developed evidence based facts text is assumed to be a complement to the information that is provided by the health care system.
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    • "A woman may feel a developmental disruption in her perception of herself as a capable woman (Mercer, 1995). These grief reactions may diminish in the first 6 to 12 months after the loss (Brier, 2008); however, because many women will become pregnant again within a short time period after a miscarriage (Cuisinier, Janssen, de Graauw, Bakker, & Hoogduin, 1996), it is important to examine the psychological impact of miscarriage during subsequent pregnancy. Qualitative studies of pregnant women with a history of miscarriage have shown that these women often distance themselves from the pregnancy and are cautious about experiencing joy associated with pregnancy (Adolfsson, Johansson, & Nilsson, 2012). "
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    • "A small number of respondents perceived medical care as cool and incomplete, they also felt lonely. Although the loss of a baby usually evokes in a woman helplessness, sadness and grief (Nikcevic et al. 1998; Brier 2008). Kelley and Trinidad (2012) presented in their studies the experience of still birth from the perspective of parents and physicians . "
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