Stress levels could lead to miscarriages
Feb 24, 2006 - 2:26:37 AM

Pregnant women who exhibit signs of stress are three times more likely to face the risk of miscarriage, says a study.

Around 31 to 89 percent of all conceptions result in miscarriage, earlier studies indicated. Most studies begin when women notice they are pregnant, about six weeks after conception. Most miscarriages, however, are known to happen during the first three weeks of pregnancy.

University of Michigan researchers have found a link between increases in cortisol levels - a stress induced hormone - to very early-stage pregnancy loss, reported science portal EurekAlert.

They studied 61 women in a rural Guatemalan community and measured their cortisol levels in urine samples taken three times weekly for a year.

The study, the first known study to link increases in cortisol levels to very early-stage pregnancy loss, found 22 pregnancies occurred in 16 women and each woman's cortisol levels were measured against their own baseline levels.

Researchers found that 90 percent of women, whose ages ranged from 18 to 34, with elevated levels of the stress-induced hormone miscarried during the first three weeks of pregnancy, compared to 33 percent of those with normal levels.

Stress may be more likely to lead to loss during the earliest stages of pregnancy, while the embryo is just beginning to develop, researcher Pablo Nepomnaschy and colleagues said.

They caution, however, that more research is necessary on this topic before definitive conclusions can be reached.

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