About 11.5% of women who had a miscarriage during the pandemic experienced post-miscarriage depression, up from 10.5% before the pandemic, a new study showed.
The study was published last week by Evernorth Research Institute, which is part of Evernorth Health Services and analyzes anonymized clinical and administrative data. For this report, it analyzed claims data of more than 847,000 women with miscarriages between 2018 and 2021. The findings were presented at the 2023 AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting.
Evernorth Research Institute found that just 10% of women who had post-miscarriage depression during the pandemic received the “full spectrum of treatment” through therapy and antidepressants. However, this is a slight increase from before the pandemic at 9.4%
“Post-miscarriage depression isn’t the same as postpartum depression, in that it impacts patients differently,” said Urvashi Patel, Ph.D., vice president of the Evernorth Research Institute, in the report. “The fact that many women do not get the full spectrum of treatment they need is concerning. But it points to an area of opportunity. We need to do more to raise awareness, break down the stigma and to connect women and their families with the resources and treatment they need to get well.”
While few women received the full spectrum of treatment for post-miscarriage depression, the percentage of women who received no treatment at all declined during the pandemic. During the pandemic, 37.9% of women with post-miscarriage depression received no treatment, down from 41.4% before the pandemic. This is largely driven by an increase in women who received just psychotherapy (25% of women with post-miscarriage depression during the pandemic versus 21.8% before the pandemic). About 27% of women with post-miscarriage depression received medications to treat their condition during the pandemic, a slight decrease from before the pandemic at 27.5%.
The report comes at a time when one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage in the first 20 weeks. Miscarriages are known to cause grief, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. About 10% to 20% of women who experience a miscarriage battle post-miscarriage depression, and it can have “detrimental and long-lasting impacts” if it’s not treated, the report said.
Employers and plan sponsors have an opportunity to support those struggling with post-miscarriage depression by “offering different types of behavioral health resources — such as in-person, digital, or app-based — and encouraging individuals to seek care, especially after difficult life events like a miscarriage,” Patel said in an email.
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