affected by High levels of Stress more likely to Miscarriage during
February 21st, 2006
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
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.
Best Syndication Staff Writer
Books on Pregnancy
Keywords and misspellings: priatal prenatal pre-natal
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