Recurrent pregnancy loss: a shared stressor---couple-orientated psychological research findings

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Authors:

Pauline Voss, Maren Schick, M.S., Laila Langer, M.D., Asrin Ainsworth, Beate Ditzen, Ph.D., Thomas Strowitzki, M.D., Tewes Wischmann, Ph.D., Ruben J. Kuon, M.D.

Abstract:

Objective

To compare the psychological impact of recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) on affected men and women and to determine risk and protective factors in both partners.


Design

Cross-sectional study.


Setting

University-affiliated fertility center.


Patient(s)

Ninety female/male couples and 14 women.


Intervention(s)

Participants completed a questionnaire covering psychological risk factors (ScreenIVF), experience of pregnancy losses, coping strategies, and partnership satisfaction.


Main Outcome Measure(s)

Comparison of psychological risk factors, perception of RPL, and coping strategies between both partners and analysis of the influence of risk and protective factors.


Result(s)

In the ScreenIVF, 72.7% of women versus 66.3% of men showed a risk for anxiety, 51.7% versus 19.1% a risk for depression, and 28.1% versus 30.7% a risk for limited social support. The use of avoiding coping styles seems to be less favorable with regard to the psychological risk than active strategies. Having a child together and a satisfying partnership correlated with a lower risk for depression. Sharing the experience of RPL with others and being in a satisfying relationship correlated with a higher social support.


Conclusion(s)

Both men and women affected by RPL show high risks for developing depression and anxiety, underlining the importance of also including the male partners. The factors of communication with others, a satisfying relationship, and already having a child together correlate with decreased psychological risks. We advocate for health care professionals to implement screening for anxiety, depression, and social support for both partners and support them in dealing with RPL.


Registration Number

The study is registered in the German Clinical Trials Register (DRKS), number DRKS00014965.

Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders. The journal publishes juried original scientific articles in clinical and laboratory research relevant to reproductive endocrinology, urology, andrology, physiology, immunology, genetics, contraception, and menopause. Fertility and Sterility® encourages and supports meaningful basic and clinical research, and facilitates and promotes excellence in professional education, in the field of reproductive medicine.

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