PTSD Symptoms Developed after the Pregnancy Loss via Miscarriage or Pregnancy Termination


Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania 


This presentation is more due to psychotherapy – as the main treatment option.

Pregnancy loss, a potentially traumatic event that many women opt not to share with others, can result in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suggesting that screening for the disorder may be beneficial following miscarriage or termination of pregnancy. There have been many debates, in Lithuania, over this topic, however, the cases even are not registered. They have been left for psychiatrist’s responsibility, if at all.

An understanding of the type and frequency of emotional reactions to pregnancy loss is important in order to target appropriate support to those that need it. There is stigma around this topic, in the society, women have be left on their ones, and they even were not seeking help, but did bear the symptoms.

Sixty tree, years ago abortion was legalised by the Soviet regime in Lithuania. Since then there have been an estimated more than, two million abortions in the country, while currently there are a bit less than three million residents in the country, at all. The phenomena without the causes for this high number of abortions having ever been tackled remain unresolved.

There are many reasons for abortions, whether they are financial or social problems, like insecure relationships. But particularly frequent are a lack of self-esteem, the inability to talk to one’s partner or even total subjugation to that partner. The environment is of particular importance, and only too often society seems cold and indifferent towards the individual, and there is a lack of family love. These are factors that drive women to abortion: they have mothers and fathers and a man whom they love, but when they ask their close ones for help and advice these people turn their backs on them.

Termination of pregnancy is stigmatized both in society and psychiatry and is due to political and ethical debates. Therefore abortion may result in traumatized psyche as a complication. Trauma affecting a woman’s thoughts, feelings, dreams, fantasies, intentions, and relations change her attitude to life as such, to her nearest, also to the values and eventually to herself. The consequences occurring as uncontrolled chain reaction affect her family life, career and communication; they break her as personality and lead towards destruction. There is always a risk of suicide. In psychiatry, termination of pregnancy is very important as it can be a reason for developing psychopathology. The identified psychopathological symptoms meet the diagnostic criteria of post-traumatic stress disorder. Psychopathology is distinguished by its personal, spiritually painful and stigmatized character. During my psychiatric clinical practice I have met, and documented, five hundred female patients suffering from this. 

I am going to present one case, of the lady, who, in some way,  was an example- as ‘she became a teacher for me, demonstrating what the psychopathology is about, and how to identify it’. The lady was a professor at the University, a mother of the two children, but was not understood at all, by her husband, and both kids, even by professionals, who were treating her,  she developed an emotional distance from her family members. This is more, a case report of psychotherapy, spiritual case, however medical, too.

Case presentation demonstrates: PTSD symptoms developed, after the termination of pregnancy. Treatment includes both medical-with psychotropic medication, psychotherapy, spiritual consultations, individual human approach.

Key words: PTSD, pregnancy loss, termination of pregnancy, miscarriage, healing, medical treatment, psychotherapy.