Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sustained stress heightens risk of miscarriage

Date:
April 8, 2013
Source:
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Summary:
Researchers have discovered that pregnant women living under continuous political and military stress have a 59 percent increased risk of miscarriage. The findings, based upon studies conducted on women in the Israeli town of Sderot, which is constantly under threat of rocket bombings from Gaza, demonstrate the importance of early intervention provided by health care professionals.

Several studies have examined the impact of stress on a pregnancy -- both chronic stress, such as workload, and acute stress associated with traumatic events like the 9/11 terrorist attacks. They conclude that stress can lead to adverse birth outcomes, including miscarriage and premature birth.

Related Articles


Few studies, however, assess the impact of continuous military or political stress throughout a pregnancy, says Prof. Liat Lerner-Geva of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Women and Children's Health Research Unit at The Gertner Institute for Epidemiology and Health Policy Research Ltd, Tel Hashomer. Now her new study, conducted with PhD student Tamar Wainstock and Prof. Ilana Shoham-Vardi of Ben Gurion University, Prof. Eyal Anteby of the Barzilai Medical Center, and Saralee Glasser of Gertner Institute, Tel Hashomer, reveals that living under these sustained stresses significantly increases the risk of miscarriage.

Following the pregnancies of women from the Israeli town of Sderot, which is constantly under threat of rocket bombings from Gaza, and women from nearby Kiryat Gat, which is outside of Gaza's rocket range, the researchers demonstrated that those living under rocket fire were 59 percent more likely to miscarry than their neighbors.

These results, published in the Psychosomatic Medicine Journal of Biobehavioural Medicine, should be a call-to-action for practitioners, advises Prof. Lerner-Geva, who suggests making intervention readily available to pregnant women in stressful and threatening situations.

Studying stress under fire

Sderot has been a constant target of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip since 2001. Rocket attacks are preceded by an alarm warning residents to take shelter. The alarms themselves are loud, sudden, and themselves stress-inducing -- once they sound, Sderot residents have only seconds before the rocket hits. Between 2001 and 2008, more than 1,000 alarms were sounded in the vicinity of Sderot. Since 2001, rockets exploding in the town have killed at least 13 residents, wounded dozens, and caused extensive property damage.

To study the impact of such sustained stress on pregnancy, researchers turned to the medical records at Barzilai Medical Center, a hospital which serves both Sderot and Kiryat Gat. They followed the pregnancies of 1,345 women from Sderot who were exposed to alarms and subsequent rocket fire, and 2,143 residents of Kiryat Gat who live out of missile range. The medical records were then cross-referenced to local municipal databases that track the number and location of rocket attacks.

In the unexposed group in Kiryat Gat, miscarriage rates were 4.7 percent, which accords with predictions from existing medical research literature. In the exposed group in Sderot, however, 6.9 percent of women miscarried -- a statistically significant increase. The results were controlled for other risk factors for miscarriage, such as age and other medical conditions.

Within the exposed group, the researchers also analyzed the intensity of exposure. Not every neighborhood in Sderot was subject to the same number of attacks, notes Prof. Lerner-Geva, and the researchers originally hypothesized that women in higher stress areas would have a higher probability of miscarriage. However, the results indicate that women in both high-intensity and low-intensity areas were at the same risk. One explanation is that the constant fear of attack is as stressful as the attacks themselves, she concludes.

Prevention through intervention

One advantage that healthcare providers have in dealing with populations under constant threat is that they can make use of early intervention, says Prof. Lerner-Geva. "Most of the Sderot pregnant women receive prenatal care through community health clinics. This presents an opportunity to run preventive interventions to reduce stress or even provide one-on-one counseling."

Currently, she and her fellow researchers are conducting further studies on the same population to determine whether sustained stress had an impact on other negative birth outcomes, such as preterm delivery or low birth weights.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Friends of Tel Aviv University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. T. Wainstock, L. Lerner-Geva, S. Glasser, I. Shoham-Vardi, E. Y. Anteby. Prenatal Stress and Risk of Spontaneous Abortion. Psychosomatic Medicine, 2013; 75 (3): 228 DOI: 10.1097/PSY.0b013e318280f5f3

Cite This Page:

American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "Sustained stress heightens risk of miscarriage." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408133917.htm>.
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. (2013, April 8). Sustained stress heightens risk of miscarriage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408133917.htm
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "Sustained stress heightens risk of miscarriage." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408133917.htm (accessed November 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Following the closure of schools and universities in Guinea because of the Ebola virus, students look for temporary work or gather in makeshift classrooms to catch up on their syllabus. Duration: 02:14 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins