Psychological Impact of Pregnancy Loss: Best Practice for Obstetric Providers

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Abstract

Three overlapping areas of study form the foundation of the psychological impact of pregnancy loss: (1) transition to parenthood and the development of attachment, (2) perinatal mental health disorders, and (3) complicated grief. This article integrates findings from prominent lineages of theory to offer the obstetric provider an evidence-based framework for patient care. Current consensus across fields of study is that preexisting depression and anxiety are the strongest predictors of psychological functioning after loss and through the subsequent pregnancy. Compassionate care, informational guidance and timed follow-up positively impact patient outcomes. The article concludes with recommendations for obstetric provider training and self-care.

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