Can High Stress Cause a Miscarriage?

4 min read

Written by Aparna Hari

Aparna Hari

Does stress cause miscarriageMiscarriage happens when a mother loses a pregnancy before the 20th week. Its cause is related to the abnormal development of the fetus. But can high stress cause a miscarriage? Well,  stress does not directly result in miscarriage but high-stress levels are associated with untimely or very early delivery and low-birthweight of the newborn. In response to stress, the body shuts off all non-essential functions and gives priority to muscles.

As a result, whenever you’re stressed, the development of the fetus can be affected. This is because the body is preparing for a crisis, to fight, run, etc. It doesn’t prioritize supplying nutrients to the fetus at that moment. Don’t worry, everyday stress doesn’t do this. But if stress goes out of hand for a long time, it needs to be addressed with some good strategies which you’re going to learn further.

In This Article

What is Miscarriage?

Losing a pregnancy before the 20th week is a miscarriage. And if such spontaneous loss occurs after this period, it is deemed as a stillbirth. Miscarriage is seen for about 10-20% of pregnancies. The word “miscarriage” suggests the meaning that an abnormality happened in the carrying of a fetus. But actually, miscarriage is the result of a fetus not developing normally.

How Can Stress Affect Your Growing Baby?

How Can Stress Affect Your Growing Baby_

It is quite common to feel overwhelmed by the surge of emotions and bodily changes during pregnancy. To digest the fact that you are going to be a mother gives you butterflies in the stomach and anxiety at the same time. This is all very normal. But if left unchecked and uncontrolled, it may continue for a long time.

For instance, you have headaches, sleeping problems, fast breathing, and a racing pulse. Some other symptoms are

  • Anxiety or worry
  • Compulsive thinking
  • Anger
  • Problem with eating habits (food cravings have increased a lot or vice versa. Eating the wrong foods)
  • Having difficulty unwinding or relaxing

Such high stress levels may leave one with high blood pressure and heart problems in the future. Moreover, a mother who takes a lot of stress has more possibility of delivering preterm (having a baby before 37 weeks of pregnancy). There’s also a risk that the baby will have a low birth weight. Such deliveries put the baby at high risk for health problems.

Furthermore, studies have seen a link between a mother’s stress levels during pregnancy, and the baby experiencing physical, mental, and behavioral problems.

[Read : How Does The Stress Affect Your Baby]

What Are the Hormonal Implications From Stress?

Stress often comes with a lot of negative thinking and anticipating something really bad. And whenever we do this, our brains secrete corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH). And hormones are like chemical messengers of our body or a bunch of see-saws connected by their ends. Moving one Seesaw moves the other, one hormone affects the other.

CRH triggers the secretion of stress hormones such as cortisol. Whenever you’re super stressed about something, your brain and body shift into emergency mode. You start to breathe faster, and your pulse rate rises, supplying more oxygen to your muscles. All non-essential bodily functions like digestion, growth, and repair get temporarily turned off.

Do you see the problem here? The development of the fetus can also be compromised if this goes on.

Top 5 Tips to Manage Stress When You’re Pregnant

ways to relieve stress

Here are some practical approaches to handle your stress levels during pregnancy;

1. Enroll in a childbirth education class to have knowledge about how to handle future events after your baby is born. Being prepared for the future will give you certainty and a relaxed way to go with things.

2. Try prenatal yoga or meditation to lower the traffic of thoughts in your mind.

3. Ask for help to do chores from your partner or a family member. Having fewer things on your hand will free it for other important things to manage your stress or entertain yourself.

4. Take care of yourself through some light exercise, a good diet, and plenty of sleep. Exercise is a good way to deal with stress and other pregnancy discomforts.

5. Explore your hobbies like drawing, reading, writing, and so on. There’s no better way to deal with stress than being lost in something that you love.

[Read : Birthing Classes – What To Expect?]

When to See a Doctor?

If the anxiety, worry, and negative thoughts don’t seem to fade off, then you need to talk to your doctor. For most people, the above solutions to manage stress are sufficient. And the results can be seen in one or two weeks.

However, even after trying all that, you still have sleep problems and an unhealthy appetite, don’t worry, a doctor can solve all this in person.

Although unchecked stress levels can affect a baby, there’s no scientific proof that high stress can cause in a miscarriage. Stay optimistic and try stress-reducing activities. You’re going to have a perfectly normal and memorable childbirth.


1. What Week is the Highest Risk of Miscarriage?

After week 5 till week 6, is when a lot of miscarriages happen. There’s a 21.3% chance.

2. Do You Pee a Lot During Miscarriage?

No, the symptoms of miscarriage are generally vaginal bleeding, cramping, white pink mucus discharge, and so on.

Read Also: What Really Happens When You Have A Miscarriage?

Aparna Hari,MBA in Marketing,P.G. Diploma in Human Resource Management from IGNOU Bachelor of Sciences (Home Science) from Nagarjuna University

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.

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