Pregnancy Loss and Distress Among U.S. Women

Karina M. Shreffler, Arthur L. Greil, Julia Mcquillan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Although pregnancy loss-especially miscarriage-is a relatively common experience among reproductive-aged women, much of our understanding about the experience has come from small clinic-based or other nonrepresentative samples. We compared fertility-specific distress among a national sample of 1,284 women who have ever experienced a stillbirth or miscarriage. We found that commitment/attachment to pregnancy that ended in loss as well as current childbearing contexts and attitudes were associated with distress following pregnancy loss. Practitioners working with women or couples who have experienced pregnancy loss should be aware of the importance of characteristics associated with higher distress, such as whether the pregnancy had been planned, recency of the loss, no subsequent live births, having a medical explanation for the loss, a history of infertility, current childbearing desires, importance of motherhood, and locus of control over fertility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-355
Number of pages14
JournalFamily Relations
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Attachment
  • Commitment
  • Distress
  • Fertility
  • Miscarriage
  • Pregnancy loss
  • Stillbirth


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