Early Miscarriage: Connection Between Stress And Miscarriage
An early miscarriage is the most common type of pregnancy loss and occurs due to the fetus developing incorrectly. It usually occurs before the 20th week of pregnancy and can be both, physically and emotionally painful.
Once a miscarriage has begun, it is impossible to stop it. Certain issues can be avoided with medication or treatments like dilation and intubation. Counselling and support are also readily available for women going through early miscarriage stress.
Recurrent pregnancy loss is reported by only a tiny percentage of women who have miscarriages, and up to a third of pregnancy, losses are not connected to chromosomal abnormalities.
What Are The Symptoms Of An Early Miscarriage?
The signs and symptoms of a miscarriage differ based on your pregnancy stage. It can happen so rapidly that you may not even realise you’re pregnant until you’ve miscarried.
Listed below are some early signs and symptoms of a miscarriage:
- A large amount of spotting
- Bleeding from the cervix
- Tissue or fluid discharge from your vagina
- Severe abdominal pain or cramping
- Moderate to severe back pain
If you experience any of these indications at any time throughout your pregnancy, call your doctor right away. It’s also possible to have these signs and symptoms without having had a miscarriage. However, your healthcare provider may still want to conduct some tests to ensure everything is in order.
What Causes An Early Miscarriage?
While several factors enhance the chances of miscarriage, it’s typically not due to something you did or didn’t do. If you’re struggling to keep a pregnancy going, your doctor may recommend certain medicines to check further reactions to confirm a miscarriage.
The most common cause of early miscarriage is a genetic defect that prevents the embryo from developing normally. These genetic defects include:
- Intrauterine fetal demise where the embryo develops but stops growing before you see or feel symptoms of pregnancy loss
- Blighted ovum where the embryo does not grow at all
- Molar or partially molar pregnancy where there is no fetal development since both sets of chromosomes originating from the father
The risks associated with miscarriage can be reduced by regulating any chronic diseases you have, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, and avoiding hazardous consumption behaviour, such as smoking and using illicit substances.
Errors can also arise at irregular intervals as the embryo’s cells split, or as a result of a defective egg or sperm cell. Moreover, problems with the placenta (such as placenta previa) might also cause a miscarriage.
Is Stress During Pregnancy A Cause For Concern?
While there is no conclusive or direct evidence that stress causes miscarriage, it is still a belief widely harboured by pregnant women. The stigma around early miscarriage stress and its relation to pregnancy stems from values and cultures that are still followed in today’s society.
Even though there may be a correlation between stress and the chance of a miscarriage, there is not a lot of evidence to show that higher stress is substantially connected to higher miscarriage rates.
However, it is definitive that psychological stress may impact one’s well-being by causing health-harming behaviours and physiological reactions that alter vascular, immunological, metabolic, and neuroendocrine systems. As a result, stress is influenced not just by an individual’s internal resources, but also by the social and material support that they have.
Accurate assessment and comparisons of stress experience between people or groups of individuals are hard to calculate because of the complexity of the processes and the degree of individual variation in the responses to these problems. Furthermore, many miscarriages occur at home and are never reported, thus making it hard to conduct efficient research or data collection.
Even a tiny signal of miscarriage, or a history of past loss, is likely to cause worry, thus causing the mother to have prenatal anxiety or fear of early miscarriage. Stress may also cause the patient to take medications that could be potentially harmful to the fetus.
How Is Pregnancy Affected By Stress?
Several hormones are released by the brain during times of stress, including one called corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH). CRH is a hormone produced in the placenta and uterus of a pregnant woman to stimulate uterine contractions during birth. It is also generated in the brain in response to physical or mental stress.
Women who deliver early or have low-birth-weight babies have high amounts of CRH in their circulation, thus hinting that the correlation between mental stress and abnormal birth might be stronger than we think.
CRH and other stress hormones may also be produced in various other parts of the body, where they target localized “mast” cells, which are responsible for allergic reactions. The uterus has a lot of mast cells. Thus, the release of CRH under stress may lead these mast cells to produce chemicals that might lead to miscarriages.
However, early miscarriage stress/anxiety does not influence the fetus’s access to nutrients or proper growth and development. This is because it does not affect the uterine blood flow or umbilical cord blood flow.
Stress can also cause inflammatory and long-term medical problems, such as cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure. If a mother has one of these conditions during the first trimester of her pregnancy, placental function and growth may be restricted.
Some experts feel that miscarriage is linked to more chronic forms of stress, such as poverty-related stress. Chronic stress releases a different set of hormones, which indirectly lead to increasing levels of allergic reactions in the bloodstream. It is, however, not proven whether the same has any impact on the embryo or not.
How To Prevent Early Miscarriage Stress?
Among the countless fears relating to pregnancy, one of the most common is the fear of miscarrying, especially within the beginning trimester (12 weeks) of pregnancy. Some ways of preventing early miscarriage stress and/or anxiety are mentioned below:
Easing Some Miscarriage Fears
Keep in mind that your concerns are natural and that this stage will pass. Take some time to practice mindfulness and meditation, as well as some alone time. This may include anything you love doing to relieve stress, such as yoga or going for a stroll.
Take the time to educate yourself on useful information and how to identify what your body is going through, but do not let your fears get the best of you.
Some Symptoms Are More Common Than You Think
Keep in mind that several symptoms that may seem alarming are really quite common in the first trimester of pregnancy.
While bleeding and cramping might signal a miscarriage in rare circumstances, it is also typical during the first trimester in healthy pregnancies. In fact, up to 25% of women suffer some sort of bleeding throughout their first trimester.
Above all, strive to have a cheerful attitude. Concentrate on the things you have control over, such as eating a nutritious diet (or at the very least drinking lots of water if you suffer from morning sickness), taking your prenatal vitamins, and getting some moderate exercise. And keep in mind that you are not alone on this path.
Bonus Read: Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy
Women’s and healthcare professionals’ differing perspectives highlight the importance of research in this critical area of human health.
Thus, improved screening techniques for psychological assistance must be incorporated, and overall stress management is taught to minimalize or mitigate the risk completely.
Therefore, pregnant women are recommended to join support activity groups, clear all their doubts/difficulties regarding pregnancy, and take care of the developing baby. Take the time to educate yourself on useful information and how to identify what your body is going through.
Overall, stress does not appear to cause miscarriage directly, but it might exacerbate other risk factors, making a miscarriage more likely.
June 25, 2021 Sam Bell