Dr. Sarah Davies
Miscarriage - Trauma & PTSD
A recent study has highlighted the prevalence of women experiencing miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy and developing symptoms of trauma and PTSD. https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/194715/miscarriage-ectopic-pregnancy-trigger-long-term-post-traumatic/
This really highlights the need for awareness within health professionals and improvement in care provisions for those who experience this kind of sudden loss.
Trauma or a traumatic event, of any kind, tend to be an overwhelming or negative experience that is sudden in nature, out of the blue, or a shock to the system.
Discovering an ectopic pregnancy or experiencing a sudden loss to a pregnancy is exactly that. It’s a complete shock to the system. The shift in our reality can be extreme; with all the hopes and plans of pregnancy and beyond, a sudden change in plan can simply be too much for parts of our brain to be able to fully process the information, the change, the experience and the extent of what it all means.
With shock, coming to terms with such a sudden loss can be very difficult. Symptoms of trauma and PTSD in relation to miscarriage include:
Sadness and Grief that does not seem to ease
Fear or further loss
Changes in sleep / sleep disturbances
Change in eating habits
Extremes of guilt or blame
Often women report fear and issues of control; for example, becoming incredibly fearful and anxious that it may happen again or over-anxious, overly-concerned, fearful or protective over other children or loved ones. This can also include an increasing sense of needing to feel in control. Sometimes this can manifest in obsessive-compulsive behaviours or alcohol use or other addictive behaviours.
Please know that help is available. It is hoped that the findings of the research from Imperial College London and KU Leuven in Belgium will aid in services being adapted to be aware, informed and vigilant to help people recognise the symptoms of trauma or PTSD following ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage. Having somebody to talk is important at difficult times. Of course counselling can be helpful. However, if you feel like talking about your experience does not seem to help of shift difficult feelings, it may be that a specialist trauma therapy approach is more suitable and more helpful. Whilst many services provide talking therapy or CBT therapy as a standard go to for counselling, it is not always the most helpful approach for those experiencing trauma or PTSD.
EMDR therapy is a helpful and appropriate approach to help address symptoms or PTSD and trauma. EMDR works in a way that facilitates the gentle processing of traumatic experiences including sudden loss. Often people report an improvement in symptoms following just 1 or 2 sessions. You can find out more about EMDR Therapy here: https://www.drsarahdavies.com/emdr
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