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Pregnant women affected by High levels of Stress more likely to Miscarriage during early Pregnancy

February 21st, 2006

Pregnant women affected by High levels of Stress more likely to Miscarriage during early Pregnancy


Pregnant women are three times more likely to have a miscarriage in the first three weeks of pregnancy if they are showing signs of stress.

A research group led by Pablo Nepomnaschy from the University of Michigan measured stress levels in 61 women from a small Guatemalan community.  They took urine samples three times a week and measured cortisol levels.  Cortisol is hormone that is made when under stress.

It is believed from previous researcher projects that there are an estimated 31 percent to 89 percent of all conceptions that will miscarriage.  Most women won’t become aware of their pregnancy until around the 6th week.  Many miscarriages happen during the first 3 weeks of pregnancy.  The researchers wanted to study to study the first 3 weeks of pregnancy, when the women are not even aware that they are pregnant.  So to do this they measured the urine of all of the women in hopes that some will become pregnant.


During the testing period there were 22 pregnancies that happened in 16 of the women.  They studied the cortisol levels in these women.  The ages of these women ranged from 18 to 34 years of age.  When these women had elevated cortisol levels, 90 percent of them had a miscarriage during the first three weeks of pregnancy.  If they had normal levels of cortisol there was a 33 percent chance of a miscarriage.

"Maybe increased cortisol is understood by the body as a cue that the context is uncertain, changing, or the quality of the environment is deteriorating," Nepomnaschy said. "The body's response is to stop any extra activity and go back to its most basic functions."


In other research studies, elevated cortisol levels during late pregnancy do not increase the risk for miscarriage.  The researchers on this study believe that the cortisol levels in early pregnancy are one of the reasons for an early miscarriage, however they need to complete more research to confirm this finding.  Another 2004 study by Nepomnaschy and his colleagues found when the cortisol levels were elevated there were also lower progesterone levels.  The progesterone is an important hormone that helps get the uterus ready for the duration of the pregnancy.


Future research Nepomnaschy wants to complete is to conduct similar studies on a larger population to confirm the link between cortisol levels and early miscarriage.  If the study is able to be duplicated it will further confirm that lowering cortisol levels and stress can help women to have a full term pregnancy.

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Nicole Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

Books on Pregnancy

Keywords and misspellings: priatal prenatal pre-natal misscarry erly misscarriage loose pegnancy miscariage and pegnant misscariage


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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:48 PM