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Harvard Medical School

Can Women Suffer from Postpartum Depression After Miscarriage?

After the birth of a child, it is common for women to experience some type of mood disturbance. Typically, it is relatively mild (postpartum blues). However, about 10-15% of women experience a more severe and disabling illness, postpartum depression. It has been suggested that women who develop postpartum depression may be more sensitive to the hormonal changes that take place after delivery and that these hormonal changes may contribute to emergence of depressive symptoms during the postpartum period.

With respect to depression after miscarraige, it is thought that some women may experience similar, although less dramatic, hormonal shifts. Whether these hormonal changes can directly precipitate an episode of depression is still unclear. However, we do know that most women report some degree of psychological distress after a miscarriage, and that about 1 in 10 women actually meet criteria for major depression. Risk factors for depression after miscarriage include a prior history of depression, having inadequate social supports and being childless. Symptoms of depression include feeling sad or blue, loss of interest in one’s usual activities, and hopelessness. If any of these symptoms emerge after a miscarriage, further evaluation is necessary.

Neugebauer R. Kline J. Shrout P. et al. Major depressive disorder in the 6 months after miscarriage. JAMA 1997; 277:383-8.

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7 Responses to Can Women Suffer from Postpartum Depression After Miscarriage?

  1. N. Rawcliffe December 11, 2007 at 10:02 pm #

    This is good to see,
    I suffered a major depressive episode after my miscarriage in 2004, I got pregnant again in 2005, brought to term, but suffered another major depression during that pregnancy.

  2. cwmh December 12, 2007 at 9:32 am #

    There is some data to suggest that women who have suffered an episode of depression within the context of a reproductive event (for example, after a miscarriage or after delivery) are more likely to have another episode during pregnancy.

    Thus, screening for depression during pregnancy is essential, and early intervention can lead to better outcomes for both the mother and her child.

  3. Elysia January 6, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    I recently just found out for the second time now that I lost yet another baby. I do have a daughter and she is 23 months old! I went on this site to try and find answers as to why I am feeling the way I am. Thank you for helping me better understand myself!

  4. Donna October 11, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    7 months after miscarriage depression has set in again has anyone else had this happen to them

  5. Destiny January 25, 2013 at 4:54 am #

    I recently had a miscarriage and have been very depressed since. I can hardly even get out of bed. I’m laying here all day long. I want a baby very badly but I have an overwhelming fear of miscarring again. Just don’t know what I should do.

  6. Sara April 1, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

    I hope Destiny that you are better. I suffered a miscarriage in August of 2013 and didn’t pass the babies till October my body didn’t want to let go and I refused the Dand C. But now Im still going through depression, anger and worthlessness, Ive made an appt to my Dr today. I pray that you have gotten through this and is better. I am too scared to miscarry again. I know what you are feeling

  7. samantha July 12, 2014 at 10:32 pm #

    Im 19 years old and have suffered from depression for most of my short life… I recently had gone to the doctors because I thoight there was a possibility that I was preganat. Well I was . They werent sure on how far along i was so they orded a ultra sound… i knew instantly when they started the ultra sound that i had miscarried before the even told me . There was a baby but no heart beat . It broke my heart and now after aboit two weekss after I went to the doctors im really depressed now and dont know what to do with myself ….

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