Can stress cause miscarriage?

The question of whether stress causes miscarriage is a difficult one for us to answer (and for researchers to investigate). This is because it’s hard to define what stress is and to know what different levels of stress feel like to different people. 

It’s also hard to work out whether stress itself is definitely linked to miscarriage or whether feeling stressed is making people do other things that may increase their risk of miscarriage, for example drinking or smoking more.

Some stress is a normal part of life and does not seem to be linked to miscarriage. Throughout history, humans have had babies successfully in all kinds of very stressful situations.

But research has also found that women and birthing people who said they felt they had a high level of stress before and during pregnancy did have an increased risk of miscarriage. This is best described as the sort of stress or anxiety that never goes away and often totally overwhelms you.

This doesn’t mean that your stress caused a miscarriage. It just means that researchers have found a link between very high stress levels and miscarriage.  

We know that the time after a miscarriage, trying to conceive and a new pregnancy can all be very stressful times. You may be feeling very anxious, and this information may make you feel worse. Luckily there is a lot you can do to help manage your stress and anxiety levels. Often these are things that can also help reduce your risk of miscarriage in other ways. For example, exercise and eating healthily. 

You might find it helpful to look at our information and support on:

Being pregnant after miscarriage

Ways to relax in pregnancy

Exercise in pregnancy

Planning a pregnancy and managing your mental health

What can I do to reduce my risk of miscarriage?

If you are feeling as if your stress or anxiety is too much to cope with, it is important to talk to your GP or midwife. They can help you find more support. You may even be referred to a maternal/ perinatal mental health specialist team during pregnancy.

You can also talk to a Tommy’s midwife for free. You can call them on 0800 0147 800, 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday. Or you can email them at [email protected]. Our midwives are specialists who can support you with any aspect of pregnancy loss that would be helpful for you.


Qu, F., et al. (2017). ‘The association between psychological stress and miscarriage: A systematic review and meta-analysis'. Scientific reports, 7(1), 1731. 

Schliep, K. C. et al. (2022). ‘Prospectively assessed perceived stress associated with early pregnancy losses among women with history of pregnancy loss’. Human reproduction (Oxford, England), 37(10), 2264–2274.

NHS (2023) Exercise in pregnancy. Available at: (Accessed 23 January 2024) (Page last reviewed: 15/03/2023. Next review due: 15/03/2026) 

 NHS (2023) Have a healthy diet in pregnancy. Available at: (Accessed 23 January 2024) (Page last reviewed: 21/04/2023. Next review due: 21/04/2026) 

Review dates
Reviewed: 14 February 2024
Next review: 14 February 2027