Pregnancy loss is heartbreaking for all mothers who suffer this experience, and it takes time to recover from emotional and physical pain.
However, some mothers also experience a less common reaction to pregnancy loss related to trauma. The traumatic event of pregnancy loss can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder in some women.
Here are some important facts to be aware of surrounding PTSD related to pregnancy loss:
1) Any traumatic event can result in post-traumatic stress, including pregnancy loss, according to Gary Brown, a licensed psychotherapist in Los Angeles, California.
However, a diagnosis for PTSD can’t be made until 30 days after trauma. Anything less than 30 days is just considered to be a normal response to severe stress.
2) Post-traumatic stress disorder can develop in part due to feeling out of control and afraid of death during a traumatic event.
Just like with any traumatic event, how you cope relates to how you perceive what happened, said Crystal Clancy, a licensed marriage and family therapist and co-director of Pregnancy and Postpartum Support MN.
However, risk factors that predispose certain people to develop mental disorders like PTSD also come into play.
3) Risk factors can help determine who is more at risk of developing PTSD after pregnancy loss. However, even women at risk for PTSD may never develop the condition.
Some risk factors include going through a dangerous and traumatic event, getting injured, as well as feeling helpless and extremely fearful, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Other possible risk factors are a history of other mental health issues, having minimal social support after a traumatic event, and experiencing additional stressors after a traumatic event, the NIMH reported.
4) There are several possible events related to pregnancy, labor and delivery that can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, Brown said in an email.
These can include loss of the baby, the birth of a baby with obvious abnormalities, and medical issues with the baby that require an extensive stay in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Brown, Gary. Email interview. May 10, 2016.
Wade, Jessica. Email interview. May 11, 2016.
Clancy, Crystal. Email interview. May 10, 2016.
National Institute of Mental Health. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Risk Factors. Web. May 12, 2016.