This study examined the impact of physical abuse, psychological abuse, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on miscarriage.
Despite research documenting high rates of violence during pregnancy, few studies have examined the impact of physical abuse, psychological abuse, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on miscarriage. Secondary analysis of data collected by the Chicago Women's Health Risk Study permitted an exploration of the relationships among physical abuse, psychological abuse, PTSD, and miscarriage among 118 primarily ethnic minority women. The interaction between maximum severity of abuse and age provided the best multivariate predictor of miscarriage rate, accounting for 26.9 percent of the variance between live birth and miscarriage outcome. Mean scores of psychological abuse, physical violence, forced sex, and PTSD were significantly higher in the miscarriage group than in the live birth group. Women who experience physical violence and psychological abuse during pregnancy may be at greater risk for miscarriage. Prospective studies can confirm findings and determine underlying mechanisms. Routine screening for traumatic stress and PTSD may reduce rates of miscarriage. (Published Abstract)