• Tara Pollak

Pregnancy loss and mental health

Today is the first day of Baby Loss Awareness Week 2020 and the focus is on mental health. This is a particularly important topic at the moment as Covid-19 has created barriers in maternity services and access to support and care. Before Covid hit, a cohort study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology found that people who experience pregnancy loss are twice as as likely to experience moderate to severe anxiety and almost four times as likely to experience moderate to severe depression than people with viable pregnancies.

Given that the study followed participants up to 9 months after the loss, this means that pregnancy loss has lasting effects on mental health. It also indicates a lack of support and care afterwards. In my own research area, the Lothians in Scotland, one of the major hospitals, the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh which boasts a large maternity unit has not a single specialised bereavement midwife. Local charities co-host a sensitivity training day, but given the busy and exhausting schedules of hospital staff and the fact that they are not paid for attending said training, not as many sign up as could.

There is a lot more that can be done for people who have experienced pregnancy loss. This week's motto #YouAreNotAlone is all about showing that there are people who care and support you. Follow @babyloss for updates throughout this week and for more information on pregnancy loss during Covid-19.

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