There’s isn’t one black and white answer to why some women miscarry. It’s hard to pinpoint a single reason on why it occurs. Having a miscarriage can be hard on women. They will take some time to deal with the loss of their baby and completely heal from the pain. And some women pin down stress as the factor why they might have miscarried. They may suffer from thoughts like, ” Was it because of me?”, “Did I do something wrong”, “Will I miscarry again?” and many more. These lingering thoughts can take an emotional toll on a woman.
The connection between stress and miscarriage is a complex one. And stress is a part of being human. But is there a link between the two? Let’s find out.
Link Between Stress And Miscarriage
Dr. Yvonne Butler Tobah, who is an obstetrician-gynecologist affiliated with Mayo Clinic says that there’s no evidence which suggests that stress can lead to miscarriage. Miscarriage can occur to anyone. Around 10-20% of all pregnancies end in a miscarriage. And since all the pregnancies are not realized, this number can actually go up higher (1).
Early miscarriage can occur due to a chromosomal abnormality. It can interfere with the development of the embryo resulting in miscarriage. Although there’s nothing you can do to prevent a miscarriage, there are some things you can control. Avoid smoking or using illegal drugs, and keep a check on the blood sugar levels and blood pressure. If you are a diabetic or have any other chronic conditions, you need to be extra careful and monitor your health.
According to Dr. Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD who is a board-certified anatomic pathologist, although stress has long been considered as a reason for miscarriage, it has never really been established. However, a study which was conducted in 2006 says that women who weren’t more than 3 weeks pregnant and having high-stress level hormones were 3 times more likely to have a miscarriage than women within the same gestational period having normal levels of stress hormones (2).
Cortisol is the stress hormone which is released when the mind or body is undergoing stress. It was found in the study that 90% of pregnant women with elevated cortisol levels had a miscarriage within the first 3 weeks of pregnancy.
Though the study suggests an association of stress with miscarriage, there are other studies with contradictory findings. More research and studies need to be conducted to firmly establish and clarify how the stress hormones are linked to miscarriage.
What Are The Other Causes Of Miscarriage?
Risky habits such as smoking, usage of drugs, and excessive consumption of caffeine can cause miscarriage. Other factors leading to miscarriage are maternal age, maternal trauma, certain health conditions, and hormonal problems. Another cause is if the implantation of the egg in the lining of the uterus is not successful (3).
How To Manage Stress During Pregnancy?
There are some steps that you can take from your side to manage stress during pregnancy. Let’s find out what those are:
1. Do Some Gentle Exercises Or Meditation
Exercising can lift your mood and relieve you from stress. You can also do some yoga or meditate for a while in the morning. Just walking for 20 minutes every day can help you feel relaxed.
2. Eat Right
Make sure you eat a well-balanced diet so that you don’t feel tired and irritated. Also, drink enough water to stay hydrated. This simple step can help you feel better.
3. Be Open
If you are feeling stressed or low, it’s always good to talk about it to your partner, family or friend. Be honest about how you feel. You can also talk to your doctor about stress.
4. Rest Well
Get enough rest. It’s the most important thing for your body and mind. Try to sleep and wake up at a certain time if you are having trouble sleeping. Avoid any distractions while you are going to bed.
Regardless of whether stress causes miscarriage or not, stress is no way to live your life. If you are feeling too stressed and nothing helps, it’s better to consult a doctor. We hope more studies will be done in the future to establish the link between stress and miscarriage. Until then, try to keep your pregnancy stress-free!