10 Facts about Pregnancy After Loss
- In the U.S. 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage, and 1 in 160 pregnancies end in stillbirth. These numbers do not include infant death from preterm labor, diagnosis of life-limiting conditions, or SIDS.
50 – 80% of women who experience perinatal loss become pregnant again within 12 – 18 months after their loss.
- After a pregnancy loss or infant death, many women will experience grief, confusion, anxiety, guilt and fear of loss in a subsequent pregnancy.
A pregnancy after a loss can activate a new layer of grief.
- Women who are pregnant again after a loss report having higher symptoms of anxiety during their subsequent pregnancies compared to those who have not experienced loss.
Studies show that fathers are also affected by the emotional stress of a subsequent pregnancy.
Women who are pregnant again after a loss are at an increased risk for postpartum anxiety and depression, even after having a subsequent successful pregnancy and birth.
- Psychological distress during a subsequent pregnancy increases the risk of preterm labor and low birth weight, as well as having a difficult time bonding with the baby born after loss.
- Education through awareness can promote health during subsequent pregnancies and help ensure safe and healthy deliveries.
Knowledge that there are resources available and others to turn to for compassion and guidance is an important aspect in the journey of healing during a subsequent pregnancy.
- Blackmore, E., Cote-Arsenault, D., Tang, W., Glover, V., Evans, J., Golding, J., O’conner, T., (2011). Previous prenatal loss as a predictor of perinatal depression and anxiety. The British Journal of Psychiatry. 198:373-378.
- Giannandrea, S. A., Cerulli, C., Anson, E., & Chaudron, L. H. (2013). Increased Risk for Postpartum Psychiatric Disorders Among Women with Past Pregnancy Loss. Journal Of Women’s Health.
- Gold, K., Boggs, M., Mugisha, E., Palladino, C., (2012). Internet message boards for pregnancy loss: Who’s on-line and why?Women’s Health Issues. 22-1, e67-e72.
- O’Leary, J. (2004). Grief and its impact on prenatal attachment in the subsequent pregnancy. Archives Of Women’s Mental Health, 7(1), 7-18. doi:10.1007/s00737-003-0037-1.
- O’Leary J, Thorwick C, Parker L: The baby leads the way: Supporting the emotional needs of families’ pregnant following Perinatal loss. 2nd edition. Edited by Ragland, K. Mpls, MN; 2012.
- Wheeler, S. R. (2000). A Loss of Innocence and a Gain in Vulnerability: Subsequent Pregnancy after a Loss. Illness, Crisis & Loss, 8(3), 310.