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Can Stress Cause a Miscarriage?

Can Stress Cause a Miscarriage?

Both mental and physical stress can lead to miscarriage. This article discusses the adverse effects of stress on pregnancy.
HerHaleness Staff
Last Updated: Dec 31, 2017
After a long time, she was excited and happy when she got her pregnancy reports. It was confirmed that she was pregnant. She had no one to share her happiness with. Her husband came back from work and the same old fights started again. It was unbearable for her to stay with that man. She thought of leaving the house but she had nowhere to go. She continued living in the same stressful environment only to find out that she was bleeding again...she had to face that brutal spontaneous abortion - miscarriage!

According to statistics of miscarriage, many women lose their pregnancy due to stressful-life situations. A lot of research studies have been conducted to find out the correlation between stress and miscarriage. If you are thinking whether stress lead to loss of pregnancy or otherwise, then the answer is yes. Women who face high levels of physical and emotional turmoil, just before or during the pregnancy or conception, generally miscarry their pregnancy.

Relation Between Stress and Loss of Pregnancy

The whole process of miscarriage is related to one hormone in the human body which is known as 'cortisol'. It is secreted by adrenal glands and plays a key role in regulating the blood pressure, blood sugar, and glucose metabolism. Cortisol levels are generally higher in the morning and lower in the night. This hormone is also known as 'stress hormone' because it gets secreted at higher levels in response to the stress. A little increase in cortisol is alright as it provides people with quick energy, improved-memory functions, increased immunity, and lowered-pain sensations. But, if a person is always stressed, then his or her body hardly gets a chance to come back to normal, resulting in chronic stress. Such chronic stress keeps your cortisol levels high, which has a lot of adverse effects on the body, including high-blood pressure, imbalanced-blood sugar, impaired cognition, weak bones and muscles, etc.

This increased cortisol can be problematic for pregnant women as it affects the progesterone levels in a woman's body. Progesterone is a steroid hormone that plays a vital role in the female menstrual cycle. After ovulation, progesterone is secreted to thicken the uterine lining so that the embryo rests well on the wall. When there is no ovulation or embryo, the progesterone levels decrease naturally. This results in shedding the inner lining of the uterine wall, which means, women start menstruating. The problem is, when the cortisol levels increase, the progesterone levels go down. So, if a pregnant women is worried all the time the cortisol level increases, which decreases the progesterone levels. This gives the brain a signal of no egg implant and miscarriage bleeding takes place. So, it is important for pregnant women to maintain moderate progesterone levels by lowering the cortisol levels. And, this is possible only if they keep the emotional strain away. It is suggested that pregnant women should learn some stress-management techniques to avoid the chances of miscarrying due to emotional imbalance.

Ways to Stay Healthy During Pregnancy

Though pregnancy loss caused by critical-medical conditions cannot be avoided, there are many ways by which you can keep yourself healthy during pregnancy. The first thing is that you must lead a stress-free life. If you cannot, then you must learn to manage your emotional state effectively. Chances of miscarriage increase as you age, so it is suggested to conceive within your maternal-age limits. Following are some of the ways to have a safe and healthy pregnancy:
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain healthy weight every month during pregnancy
  • Keep the abdomen safe from trauma
  • Do not smoke, and avoid the company of smokers
  • Do not drink alcohol
  • Avoid excessive consumption of caffeine
  • Do not take any over-the-counter drugs without consulting your doctor
  • Do not engage in rigorous and risky activities
  • Visit your doctor immediately if you observe any symptoms related to loss of pregnancy.
Thus, take good care of your health during this cruicial stage of your life, and have a safe pregnancy.

Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.