The impact of supportive counselling on women's psychological wellbeing after miscarriage – a randomised controlled trial

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To assess the effectiveness of supportive counselling after miscarriage.


Randomised controlled trial.


University hospital.


Two hundred and eighty women with miscarriage.


Women were randomised to receive supportive counselling from a nurse (at diagnosis and 2 weeks later) or routine care. Psychological wellbeing was measured with the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI).

Main outcome measures

Primary outcome measured the proportion of women suffering psychological distress (GHQ-12 score ≥4) at 3 months after miscarriage. Secondary outcomes were GHQ-12 and BDI scores at 6 weeks, 3 and 6 months.


There was no difference in the proportion of women suffering psychological distress at 3 months after miscarriage (17.1% in counselling group versus 24.4% in control group; 95% CI –0.034 to 0.177; P = 0.19). However, for the subgroup of women (n = 152) with high baseline GHQ-12 scores, the median GHQ-12 score in the counselling group was significantly lower than the control group at 6 weeks (median score 3 versus 4.5 in counselling and control groups; P = 0.04) and 3 months (median score 1 versus 2.5 in counselling and control groups; P = 0.03). Similarly, for women with high baseline BDI scores (BDI > 12), the proportion for women continuing to score high was significantly lower in the counselling group 6 weeks after miscarriage (33.3 versus 61.1% in counselling group and control group; P = 0.03).


Although the results of current study do not justify routine counselling of all women following miscarriage, a supportive counselling programme for selected women with high levels of psychological distress is promising and merits further investigation.

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