Can Yelling Cause a Miscarriage?
- Yelling alone does not cause miscarriage.
- High stress levels can increase your baby’s risk of preterm birth.
- Exercising regularly and taking deep breaths are good ways to reduce stress.
- If your stress feels unmanageable, seek help from a mental health professional.
Everyone gets angry and stressed from time to time, and those feelings can be magnified during pregnancy. Not only do expectant mothers experience changes that can increase their stress hormones, but many of them struggle to get adequate sleep, experience nausea and joint pain, feel overwhelmed by mood swings, and carry added worry about keeping their developing baby healthy.
If you find it hard to manage feelings of sadness, stress, or anger during pregnancy, you are not alone. Stress during pregnancy might make you more likely to have angry outbursts or start yelling.
It is just as important for pregnant women to worry about their mental health as their physical health. It is clear that extreme stress can cause health problems for all people, but can yelling cause a miscarriage?
Yelling and Stress
Emotional stress and yelling are closely related. You may think that stress always leads to yelling, but it is important to note that yelling can actually make stress worse.
How Yelling Can Cause Stress
Research from the National Alliance on Mental Illness11. Hendel, H. J.. The Problem with Yelling. National Alliance on Mental Illness. 2018. https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/February-2018/The-Problem-with-Yelling shows that people who are in environments surrounded by a lot of yelling have higher levels of stress hormones. In addition, prolonged exposure to yelling can have a long-term impact on a person’s mental well-being.
While being a little bit stressed is perfectly safe for pregnant people and does not affect a baby’s development, long periods of extreme stress during pregnancy may negatively affect a mother and her unborn child.
Does Yelling Cause Miscarriage?
There have been stories of women who experienced a stressful event or yelling just before having a miscarriage. These awful experiences may make pregnant women wonder whether or not pregnancy loss can be triggered directly by yelling.
One famous story22. Mick Jagger Tells the Story Behind ‘Gimme Shelter’ and Merry Clayton’s Haunting Background Vocals. Open Culture. 2013. https://www.openculture.com/2013/06/mick_jagger_tells_the_story_behind_gimme_shelter.html comes from the recording of the Rolling Stones song “Gimme Shelter” in the fall of 1969. It was late, close to midnight, and they decided they wanted a soulful female voice to sing the backing vocals. The producer called up a friend, Merry Clayton, who was in her third trimester at the time.
Despite the late hour, Clayton agreed to come in and give it her all. If you’re familiar with the song, you know she really did sing her heart out. The song was a huge success, but for Clayton, the incident ended in tragedy when she lost her baby in a miscarriage. Many have attributed the lateness, stress, and emotional passion of her singing (she points out that she sang so hard her voice cracked) to be the cause of the miscarriage.
Although there were likely many factors involved in Clayton’s case, researchers at Harvard University33. From irritated to enraged: Anger’s toxic effect on the heart. Harvard Health. 2014. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/from-irritated-to-enraged-angers-toxic-effect-on-the-heart do warn that people are at higher risk of things like heart attack and stroke for up to two hours after an emotional outburst. This is because when you experience strong emotions, blood vessels constrict and your heart rate rises.
While yelling is not necessarily good for your health, a moment of yelling or shouting during pregnancy can not cause a miscarriage. However, constantly feeling stressed can lead to health conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, and preterm labor.
Stress and Pregnancy
It is completely normal to feel stressed during pregnancy. The important part is that you learn how to manage high levels of stress and stay calm as often as you can.
Impact of Stress on Pregnancy
According to the Cleveland Clinic44. Miscarriage: Causes, symptoms, risks, treatment & prevention.. Cleveland Clinic. 2022. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9688-miscarriage, early miscarriage is usually caused by a chromosomal abnormality. Other causes of miscarriage include infections, problems with a mother’s immune system, thyroid disease, and some lifestyle choices like drug and alcohol use.
Unfortunately, research published in the Journal of Scientific Reports55. Qu, F., Wu, Y., Zhu, Y.-H., Barry, J., Ding, T., Baio, G., Muscat, R., Todd, B. K., Wang, F.-F., & Hardiman, P. J.. The association between psychological stress and miscarriage: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Scientific Reports. 2017;7(1731). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-01792-3 also shows an association between high levels of stress and early pregnancy loss. However, it is not the most common cause of miscarriage. High levels of stress throughout pregnancy may also lead to preterm labor and low birth weight.
Maintaining a Healthy Pregnancy Amid Stress
It is unrealistic to completely avoid stress during pregnancy. As your pregnancy progresses, you will experience many challenges in addition to your normal household and work responsibilities. While experiencing stress is a normal part of life, it is essential to find ways to manage your stress and avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Stress Management Techniques
Just as everyone has a different reason for feeling stress, everyone has a different way of coping with stress. During pregnancy, there are a few things you can do to help protect you and your baby’s health.
Some ways to manage stress might include:
- Exercising regularly
- Coloring or painting
- Talking to a friend or loved one
- Getting a hug
- Listening to music
- Asking for help with overwhelming tasks
- Practicing gratitude
- Taking a bath or shower
Creating a Positive Environment
One of the biggest risk factors for experiencing unmanageable stress is living in a high-stress environment. If you feel that your home is in chaos, your family is constantly yelling or arguing, you work in a stressful or dangerous environment, or you feel surrounded by negativity, it might be time to make a change.
Creating a positive environment may be as simple as decluttering your space or lighting a nice-smelling candle. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and feel free to walk away from a stressful environment if you think that’s what’s best for you and your unborn baby.
If you are stressed at home or work, taking a short walk outside or finding a quiet space can make the difference between having an angry outburst and being able to calm down.
When to Seek Help
Sometimes, deep breathing and taking a walk just aren’t enough to help you feel better. If you feel your stress is unmanageable, it might be time to talk to a mental health professional for a diagnostic evaluation.
Many women struggle with their mental health during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. There is no shame in asking for help when you need it, especially if you are having consistent feelings of stress, worthlessness, or hopelessness.
There are several resources available for pregnant women experiencing mental health problems or stressful situations. These include:
- The National Maternal Mental Health Hotline
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline
- Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women and Children
Can yelling or other loud noises affect my baby’s hearing in the womb?
According to the Centers for Disease Control66. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Noise – Reproductive Health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/repro/noise.html, loud noises can affect a baby’s hearing in the womb. This is usually only a problem during the second half of pregnancy and can only be caused by prolonged exposure to extremely loud noises.
Yelling is unlikely to be loud enough to damage your unborn baby’s hearing. People who work around guns, loud engines, or sirens may need to use caution to protect their baby’s ears.
How can I effectively communicate my stress and fears about yelling to my partner or family?
Expressing your stress and fears about yelling should be done while all members of the family or your partner are feeling calm and open to having a discussion. It is not helpful to bring up problems with yelling during an argument about something else.
Be honest with your loved ones about your worries and fears, and explain why you feel worried about your baby’s well-being when there is a lot of yelling.
Are anti-anxiety medications safe during pregnancy?
Some women find that their stress and anxiety are unmanageable during pregnancy or the postpartum period. There are several medications that are safe for pregnant mothers and their babies. Speak to your healthcare provider if you feel that you may need the help of medication to stay healthy and safe during your pregnancy or at any time after your baby is born.
Are there specific meditation or relaxation techniques that can help manage stress from yelling during pregnancy?
One of the easiest breathing techniques that can help manage stress during pregnancy is called box breathing. To perform this type of breathing, simply inhale for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of four, and exhale for a count of four.
This technique can be used at any time and is safe for pregnant women to use when experiencing stress.
- Hendel, H. J. (2018, February 7). The Problem with Yelling. National Alliance on Mental Illness. https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/February-2018/The-Problem-with-Yelling
- Mick Jagger Tells the Story Behind ‘Gimme Shelter’ and Merry Clayton’s Haunting Background Vocals. Open Culture. (2013, June 19). https://www.openculture.com/2013/06/mick_jagger_tells_the_story_behind_gimme_shelter.html
- From irritated to enraged: Anger’s toxic effect on the heart. Harvard Health. (2014, December 6). https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/from-irritated-to-enraged-angers-toxic-effect-on-the-heart
- Miscarriage: Causes, symptoms, risks, treatment & prevention. Cleveland Clinic. (2022, July 19). https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9688-miscarriage
- Qu, F., Wu, Y., Zhu, Y.-H., Barry, J., Ding, T., Baio, G., Muscat, R., Todd, B. K., Wang, F.-F., & Hardiman, P. J. (2017). The association between psychological stress and miscarriage: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Scientific Reports, 7(1731). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-01792-3
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, May 1). Noise – Reproductive Health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/repro/noise.html
The information WonderBaby provides is not intended to be, and does not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. Always consult with a qualified medical professional about your specific circumstances.
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