Can stress cause miscarriage?

Stress is not linked to an increased risk of miscarriage.

It’s natural to get a bit stressed in pregnancy and being concerned about whether anxiety or stress affects your baby is understandable. But stress is not linked to an increased risk of miscarriage.

There is some evidence that suggests that stress, depression and anxiety in pregnancy may sometimes cause issues for the baby during their life, such as emotional problems. However, this is unlikely, especially if you get the right treatment and support during pregnancy.

Mental health problems in pregnancy are common. Up to 1 in 5 women develop mental health problems during pregnancy or in the first year after childbirth, including low mood, anxiety and depression. Most of these women give birth to healthy babies.

Your mental wellbeing in pregnancy is just as important as your physical health. Try to take care of your mind as well as your body. Read about ways to relax in pregnancy

Getting pregnant again

Some women experience mental health problems in pregnancy even if they have not had issues before. However, if you have been through a traumatic experience, such as losing a baby, you may be particularly vulnerable to problems such as anxiety during pregnancy.

Talk to your GP if you do feel depressed or anxious. They will be able to tell you more about how to access support locally. You may even be referred to a maternal 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]

Find out more about planning a pregnancy and managing your mental health.

Glover V (2015) Prenatal stress and its effects on the fetus and the child: possible underlying biological mechanisms. Advances in neurobiology 2015;10:269-83. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-1372-5_13

The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (February 2017) Maternal Mnetal Health – Women’s Voices

Review dates
Reviewed: 13 January 2020
Next review: 13 January 2023

This content is currently being reviewed by our team. Updated information will be coming soon.