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Signs Of Ptsd After Ectopic Pregnancy

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How To Recognise The Signs Ptsd

Miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy may trigger long-term post-traumatic stress

As the research mentions, one of the most common symptoms of PTSD is flashbacks. These may come in the form of nightmares or could be triggered by something in your day-to-day life reminding you of your horrible experience for example, walking past the hospital. Flashbacks could be extremely vivid, making you feel like you are reliving the experience. However, its possible to have flashbacks at a much lower level. You may find yourself overwhelmed by the same emotions you felt at the time or you could have scary thoughts or nightmares about an unrelated subject.

Insomnia can be another key symptom of PTSD. You may find yourself struggling to sleep if you are having nightmares, but it could also be down to the increased levels of adrenaline in your system if your body is stuck in fight or flight mode. A lack of sleep can also perpetuate your other symptoms and make recovery harder. Other symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Irritability or outbursts of anger
  • Irrational and intense fear
  • Being easily moved to tears
  • Panic attacks
  • Inability to remember an important aspect of the trauma
  • Guilt, shame, embarrassment or self-blame

Many people, including those in the study, reported avoiding friends, family or activities they used to enjoy.

Could I Have Done Anything Differently Its Not Your Fault

Its understandable to try and make sense of what happened and feel frustrated when there are no answers. Its important to remember that an ectopic pregnancy is not your fault. While some factors may increase your likelihood of having ectopic pregnancy, we still do not understand fully why it happens to some women and not others.

Your Feelings Following An Ectopic Pregnancy

There is no right or wrong way to feel after a traumatic experience. So its important to give yourself time to process your feelings following an ectopic pregnancy. Women often describe feelings of shock, grief & sadness, fear, and guilt.

  • Shock

Often the transition between finding out you have an ectopic pregnancy to treatment is very quick because it is important to provide rapid, life-saving treatment. This leaves many women feeling shocked and overwhelmed, especially if you have otherwise been healthy. It is scary to suddenly go through emergency surgery and have digested the news that you were at risk of losing your life.

  • Sadness and Grief

The loss of a baby is truly upsetting and many women experience an understandable change in mood and outlook. With an ectopic pregnancy, family and healthcare professionals are often focused on physical health. You may be more focused on your emotions and it may feel unjustified losing a baby that you never met but this is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. Its likely you may need some time to mourn for the future plans you had made for your new family.

  • Stress and Anxiety

Sometimes an ectopic pregnancy diagnosis is in limbo and you may have had multiple blood tests and ultrasound scans. During this time, a lack of definitive answers can cause significant stress and anxiety. You may feel you have lost control over your fertility, especially if you have had a fallopian tube removed and what this means for the future.

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If Your Feelings Following An Ectopic Pregnancy Continue To Affect You Longer Term Seek Support

Up to 50% of women suffer flashbacks and nightmares, re-living intense emotions associated with ectopic pregnancy. If this is the case for more than four weeks you may be suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and we would recommend visiting your GP.

Often women can feel low in mood and if you become persistently sad, notice you are avoiding social situations or equally feeling numb and low in energy, you may be depressed. If these feelings following an ectopic pregnancy continue for over two months you may need extra support from healthcare professionals.

Support available:

  • Ectopic Pregnancy Foundation patient experiences may help you to understand what other women have felt going through a similar experience
  • Ask your doctors/nurses for local support and services available
  • Visit your GP for counselling support
  • Ectopic pregnancy forums allow you to speak confidentially with others online

Persistent Avoidance Of Stimuli Associated With The Trauma And Emotional Numbing Including:

Miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy could put women at high risk of PTSD ...
  • Efforts to avoid thoughts , feelings , conversations about the event .
  • Efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the trauma .
  • Feeling detached and estranged from others Ah, Yeah!
  • Especially from people whose pregnancies result in living children.
  • The sense of a foreshortened future YES!
  • Thinking My child didnt live, why should my life be all of a sudden guaranteed.

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The Study By The Numbers

The researchers studied more than 650 women who had experienced an early pregnancy loss.

The majority had an early miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy .

The study revealed that a month following pregnancy loss, nearly a third of the women reported post-traumatic stress while 1 in 4 experienced moderate to severe anxiety and 1 in 10 had moderate to severe depression.

Nine months later, 18 percent of the women had post-traumatic stress, 17 percent moderate to severe anxiety, and 6 percent moderate to severe depression.

Tom Bourne, PhD, FRCOG, FAIUM, a study author and a consultant gynecologist at Queen Charlottes and Chelsea Hospital, told Healthline the motivation for the study came from women who had experienced early pregnancy loss.

We had noticed the level of psychological distress among our patients in clinical practice and wanted to have evidence to quantify this, he said.

Taking note of this, he said, led to a small pilot study that was published in BMJ Open in 2016 that showed high levels of post-traumatic stress.

From this we planned this larger study, he said.

His team previously published criteria used to diagnose miscarriage, which now form the basis of guidelines worldwide.

I Feel Jealous Around Pregnant Women And Feel Bad About It

Discomfort and jealousy around other pregnant women or when a friend announces they are pregnant is something that we often hear about. This is usually coupled with wanting to avoid them and guilt for thinking this. These reactions do not mean that you are a âbadâ or âunkindâ person. While being happy for others, we are also grieving the loss of what we do not have and seeing othersâ pregnancies is a stark reminder of what could have been for ourselves.

People who are recovering from ectopic pregnancy often feel shocked at these reactions. It is unexpected and unlike their ânormalâ selves. Anger, guilt, hatred, loathing, and a sense that it is just not fair are all common and understandable. These emotions are not a reflection on you as a person they are as a result of the intense and heart-breaking situation that you have experienced. It can take time to realise that these feelings are normal and you are grieving for the pregnancy that you have lost. Many find it helpful to share emotions on our discussion forums safely and privately among others who understand.

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Miscarriage: Tens Of Thousands Have Ptsd Symptoms

BBC News

The tech being trialled to reduce miscarriage trauma

Tens of thousands of women in the UK may be experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder after miscarriages each year, a leading researcher warns.

Prof Tom Bourne estimates the number affected could run to 45,000 annually.

But he says most are not given prompt psychological support that could help prevent PTSD developing.

His team is trying out a variety of new approaches – including virtual reality – to help address the issue.

Signs Of Ptsd From Pregnancy Loss

Ectopic Pregnancy – Overview (pathophysiology, signs and symptoms, treatment, investigations)

The P in my PTSD should stand for pregnancy loss because pregnancy loss is what has created my post-traumatic stress syndrome.

My PTSD stems from the stillbirth of my daughter.

I know outside of the loss community people dont often want to hear about the trauma that is associated with the death of our children. Thinking PTSD is reserved for war veterans, but anyone can get PTSD and in the case of pregnancy loss, the trauma that we experience as our children are so confusingly born into this world, yet have already died inside us, is one of those reasons.

A recent study found that after miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, 1 in 6 women may experience PTSD symptoms for up to nine months after her loss. And for many women, pregnancy loss might be the most traumatic event they have experienced in their life.

Below are some of the criteria for PTSD, along with my own experience added, to share with others how my PTSD is shaped explicitly by pregnancy loss.

Yours might look different.

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Miscarriage And Ectopic Pregnancy May Cause Long

15 January 2020

One in six women experience long-term post-traumatic stress symptoms after a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, with women also suffering from anxiety and depression.

The results come from the largest ever study into the psychological impact of early-stage pregnancy loss, supported by NIHRs Imperial Biomedical Research Centre and the Imperial Health Charity and carried out with scientists from Imperial College and KU Leuven in Belgium.

The research, , studied 737 women who had experienced an early pregnancy loss. 537 women had had an early miscarriage , and 116 had an ectopic pregnancy .

The results showed that one month after pregnancy loss, nearly a third of women suffered post-traumatic stress while one in four experienced moderate to severe anxiety, and one in ten had moderate to severe depression.

Nine months later, 18 per cent of women had post-traumatic stress, 17 per cent moderate to severe anxiety, and 6 per cent had moderate to severe depression.

Professor Tom Bourne, lead author of the research from Tommys National Centre for Miscarriage Research at Imperial College London said: Pregnancy loss affects up to one in two women, and for many women it will be the most traumatic event in their life. This research suggests the loss of a longed-for child can leave a lasting legacy, and result in a woman still suffering post-traumatic stress nearly a year after her pregnancy loss.

Is There Anything That Can Be Done To Help Prevent Ptsd Following Pregnancy Loss

Early intervention is crucial in helping to prevent the onset of PTSD and C-PTSD symptoms. Good aftercare and grief counselling can be beneficial, particularly after traumatic cases. Although pregnancy loss can feel like a very taboo subject, speaking out to doctors, friends and family can all help to make those suffering feel less alone, and also help to alleviate the onset of any mental health problems.

For GPs and pregnancy units, its important they are trained to look out for these symptoms, and to also practice empathy and understanding when meeting people who have experienced pregnancy loss. People who have had clinical depression prior to their pregnancy loss are statistically more likely to develop PTSD or C-PTSD, and therefore extra attention should be paid to how they are coping. Likewise, those who experience more than one pregnancy loss are at an increased risk of developing PTSD or C-PTSD, and this too should be acknowledged.

NICE guidance from 2005 and 2011 recommends the use of trauma focused psychological treatments for PTSD and C-PTSD in adults, specifically the use of Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing and trauma focused cognitive behavioural therapy .

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Getting Support After An Ectopic Pregnancy

The experience of ectopic pregnancy can be extremely distressing. You may feel very relieved to be alive and free from pain, yet still feel deeply sad at the loss of your baby and anxious about the future. Your partner may have similar feelings, or might be more concerned about your health, especially if you were treated as an emergency.

Whatever your feelings and anxieties, you dont have to bear them alone. You might find it helpful to contact our staffed helpline or to join our online forum, which has a dedicated board for molar pregnancy. Youll find more details here of where you can find support from others who will understand.

Honoring The Pregnancy Loss Can Help People Heal

Thousands display post

For men and women, doing something to acknowledge an early pregnancy loss whether its planting a tree, writing a letter or poem, or lighting a candle to honor the loss can be beneficial in the healing process. However they do it, men should acknowledge theyve had a loss, too, and have to acknowledge their partners loss, Domar says. After all, they went into the pregnancy experience together, so an early pregnancy loss can cause some degree of distress for both partners.

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What Is Ptsd And How Does It Relate To Miscarriage

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a type of anxiety specifically triggered by a frightening or distressing event. After a trauma, its common for people to struggle with heightened anxiety or feelings of stress and sadness. However, with PTSD these issues can go much deeper and can last much longer.

When you go through a distressing situation, your body goes in to fight or flight mode releasing adrenaline. However, with PTSD its like your body has got stuck in that mode. It continues to send out stress signals, even once the trauma is over. Studies show that the part of thebrain that handles fear and emotion is more active in people with PTSD. This can last for months, if not years if not treated properly and result in a myriad of symptoms including nightmares, insomnia, panic attacks and isolation.

Is It Natural To Experience Grief After An Ectopic Pregnancy

Many women do experience feelings of grief after an ectopic pregnancy – for their baby, for their fertility, and for their future.

However, while the feelings of loss can seem unbearable, grief is actually a healing process.

Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross has named the five stages of grief people go through following a serious loss. Sometimes people get stuck in one of the first four stages. Their lives can be painful until they move to the fifth stage acceptance.

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In The Control Group One In Ten Reported Symptoms Of Anxiety

Furthermore, around 16 per cent of the women suffered depression at one month, which dropped to 5 per cent at three months.

Professor Tom Bourne, senior author of the study, said the team are now planning larger follow-up studies, to confirm the findings and help identify at-risk women.

Not all women who suffer a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy will go on to develop PTSD or anxiety and depression. Therefore, we are now investigating why some women may be more at risk than others, to help medical professionals identify who may need extra support.

This study gives a voice to many women who have suffered miscarriage in silence and the often-significant consequences that follow. The message is clear in a civilised society, it is not acceptable for women to suffer in this way. Following this study there must now be added impetus to change in miscarriage treatment and care many women need more support following a miscarriage and the NHS needs to rethink how women are treated throughout the experience so they do not suffer from PTSD and other psychological impacts. Tommys Centre for Early Miscarriage Research was opened this year with the support of many families who want to bring about change and wed encourage all families to join with us to find answers to miscarriage and help improve care for everyone.

Professor Bourne added that in addition to improving diagnosis of psychological disorders following miscarriage, researchers need to assess what treatments may help.

The Person Has Been Exposed To A Traumatic Event In Which Both The Following Are Present:

My Methotrexate Experience for an Ectopic Pregnancy
  • The person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with a pregnancy that ended abruptly, never began, or resulted in the death of their unborn/newborn child.
  • The persons response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror as they were forced to intensely participate in the birth of their dead child, which also resulted in the demise of their hopes and dreams.

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At Three Months After The Pregnancy Loss The Number Of Women Who Reported These Symptoms Had Increased To Nearly Four In Ten

Among the women who suffered a miscarriage, 45 per cent reported PTSD symptoms at this time, compared to 18 per cent of the women who suffered an ectopic pregnancy.

Among all the women who reported PTSD symptoms at three months, nearly a third said their symptoms had impacted on their work life, and around 40 per cent reported their relationships with friends and family had been affected.

Dr Jessica Farren, lead author of the research from the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial, said: We were surprised at the high number of women who experienced symptoms of PTSD after early pregnancy loss particularly the number of women who were still experiencing symptoms three months after their miscarriage.

She said this research suggests women who have a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy should have an opportunity to discuss their emotions with a medical professional.

‘At the moment, there is no routine follow-up appointment for women who have suffered an early pregnancy loss. We have checks in place for postnatal depression, but we don’t have anything in place for the trauma and depression following pregnancy loss. Yet the symptoms that may be triggered can have a profound effect on all aspects of a womans everyday life, from her work to her relationships with friends and family.’

The results also revealed around a third of women with early pregnancy loss had symptoms of moderate anxiety one month after the event. This decreased to one in five women at three months.

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