**ATTENTION** 7/17/12 Thank you for visiting this blog post. Please note that I am in the process of writing a guide to help those who have experienced pregnancy loss. You can read about that and more on pregnancy loss by clicking here or the tab above.**
Unfortunately, pregnancy loss can be followed by another type of loss; that of the romantic relationship. In 2010, researchers at the University of Michigan released findings of a study which revealed that couples were more likely to break up following the loss of a pregnancy. Further, unmarried couples were at higher risk.
Specifically, the findings showed that couples who had experienced miscarriage had a 22% higher risk of breaking up, and those who had experienced still birth had a 40% higher risk. These risks remained up to 3 and 9 years following the loss respectively. These numbers are particularly concerning, given the number of people who experience pregnancy loss (miscarriage occurs in 15-20% of known pregnancies, stillbirth in about 1%).
As mentioned in my first post about miscarriage, male partners tend to experience grief later than women. Thus, it could be suggested that the couple isn’t on the same emotional page following the loss. This could then cause feelings of anger, guilt and abandonment. In same-sex couples, both partners also struggle with the experience of pregnancy loss. One study conducted with lesbian partners showed that the resulting emotional distress is compounded by the complexity of planning and achieving pregnancy in the first place.
Given all of this information, couples should consider the very real risk their relationship may face. To prevent the dissolution of the relationship, communication with each other about the loss and resulting thoughts and feelings should take place. Couples should consider consulting with a marriage/couples therapist and in talking about the loss, may consider the following:
I plan to include a section on the unique struggles of couples in my upcoming book about pregnancy loss.
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