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date: 04 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews research on the psychological impact and treatment of pregnancy loss for women, men, and families. The psychological sequelae of pregnancy loss can include mild to severe grief, complicated grief, depressive disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other anxiety disorders. Effects on couples, men, and other family members, including the impact on subsequent pregnancies, parental attachment to subsequent children, and gender differences in how men and women cope and grieve, are discussed. The authors present a conceptual framework for understanding pregnancy loss, positing that reactions largely depend on deeply personal and often unconscious meanings of pregnancy and on how parenthood fits into personal identity and the achievement of adult developmental tasks. The authors discuss unique aspects of pregnancy loss that may explain its broad impact and describe ways in which psychotherapy with pregnancy loss patients differs from psychotherapy with the general population, especially regarding countertransference and attitudes toward self-disclosure.

Keywords: Pregnancy loss, miscarriage, perinatal grief, depression, PTSD, reproductive trauma, couples

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