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Health & Pregnancy

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Physical or Mental Stress May Be Associated With Birth Defects or Miscarriage


The second paper looked at physical strain taking place during the time of implantation in women experiencing their first pregnancy. Neils Henrik Hjollund of the Aarhus University Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark, and lead author of the paper writes, "The analysis included 181 pregnancies. ... Physical strain around the time of implantation was associated with later spontaneous abortion."

Women participating in the study were asked to keep a special diary during the time they were trying to get pregnant. Information on sexual intercourse, vaginal bleeding, and physical activity and strain was recorded. An association between increased physical strain around the time of implantation and spontaneous abortion was seen.

Dr. Carl Weiner, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, commented on this study for WebMD. He says, "This study is provocative because of the prospectively kept diary. Still, it's difficult to propose a mechanism whereby someone would be at increased risk for adverse implantation because of physical strain. The possibility can't be excluded but I'm not convinced by this study."

Vital Information:

  • A new study shows that women experience stress around the time of conception are more likely to deliver babies with birth defects or miscarry, compared with those who do not experience stress.
  • One problem with the study is that it was retrospective, and women who have bad outcomes are more likely to remember the negative events that occurred during pregnancy, according to one expert.
  • A second study on pregnancy showed that physical strain around the time of implantation increased the risk of spontaneous abortion.
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