Can stress cause a miscarriage?

For a very long time, stress has been suspected as the cause for early miscarriages. But don’t worry, there is very little evidence supporting this theory. Approximately 10-20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage during the first trimester but they are not stress related. Once this first stage of pregnancy is over the probability of the pregnancy spontaneously terminating reduces drastically with each passing week.

Miscarriages that occur during the first trimester of pregnancy are usually due to chromosomal abnormalities or a problem with the embryos development. This means that something is not right with the baby’s chromosomes and, therefore, that would not permit him to survive. These abnormalities are usually caused by a damaged egg or sperm cell, or a problem that occurred when the zygote started dividing. Reasons for miscarriages can be varied and can also be caused by, but not limited to, chromosomal abnormalities in either parent, problems with blood clotting, hormonal imbalance, disruption in implantation due to an immune response, abnormalities of the uterus or cervix, smoking, drug use or malnutrition. None of these are stress related. In fact, neither moderate stress, sex, working outside the home in safe environments or moderate exercise cause miscarriages.

It is very common to be concerned about having a miscarriage. It is actually one of the most common fears during pregnancy, but rest assured that stressing out during pregnancy is not a risk factor. If you are worried about a spontaneous abortion be sure to take some time to relax, take care of yourself, eat healthy and avoid known risk factors such as drinking or smoking.

Most miscarriages are due to chromosomal abnormalities so there is really not much that can be done to prevent them from happening. What you can do is stay as healthy as you can before and after conceiving. Also, it’s important to talk with your doctor about signs and symptoms of an abortion and have a strong support system that can help you vent your anxieties and help you relax and feel safe.

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