With one in eight pregnancies ending in a miscarriage in the UK (according to the NHS), the loss of a pregnancy is actually fairly common.
While some women may accept it as a fact of life and do well after a miscarriage, for many it is a lot more than that.
As well as being a physically draining experience, the loss of a baby can be a painful experience emotionally.
A grief of the miscarriage is often accompanied by feelings of guilt, shock and anger, and can also often cause anxiety and depression.
These are considered as fairly common a month after the loss but expected to gradually disappear after a while.
However, there is now growing awareness that these symptoms can last much longer and that women can actually experience symptoms of PTSD after a miscarriage for a much longer time.
Psychological Trauma after miscarriage
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is often associated with combat or war zone exposure, natural disasters or serious vehicle accidents. But symptoms of PTSD can arise from a variety of traumatic experiences, such as a miscarriage.
In December 2019, a study of 650 women, by Imperial College London and KU Leuven in Belgium, has found that one in six women suffer from long-term symptoms of PTSD after a miscarriage.
For some women it may be the first time they experience anything beyond their control and for many women it will be the most traumatic event in their life.
Symptoms of PTSD
When experiencing PTSD after a miscarriage, typical symptoms may include:
- Flashbacks, nightmares or repetitive images or sensations
- Avoidance, for example not wanting to talk about it or visit places that remind you of the trauma
- Sleeping difficulties
How to overcome miscarriage trauma?
While women are usually offered psychological support directly after their loss, those who suffer from post traumatic stress symptoms several months after a miscarriage often feel isolated.
As some of my clients may say “There is an expectation that you are supposed to recover and move on”.
This can lead them to feel anxious about getting pregnant again, or enjoying the following pregnancy and living in constant fear that something wrong may happen.
While dealing with the anxiety is important, resolving the trauma is a crucial part of the recovery.
My preferred tools are EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) and hypnotherapy which can both be very effective in the treatment of trauma and PTSD and help to:
- Reprocess the traumatic memories by neutralising the negative associations
- Restore calm
- Rebuild confidence
- Strengthen self-esteem
- Look forward to becoming pregnant again
Have you experienced a traumatic miscarriage and feel that you are not able to move on?
To find out more about getting help for PTSD after a miscarriage you can contact me using the form below.