Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Epidemiology and Population Health

Committee Chair

Taylor, Kira C.

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Kerber, Richard

Committee Member

Kerber, Richard

Committee Member

Kong, Maiying

Author's Keywords

Maternal stress; Pregnancy outcomes


Stress (Physiology); Anxiety in women; Women--Psychology; Preconception care


It has been commonly hypothesized (and widely believed) that maternal stress either prior to or during pregnancy can adversely affect fertility and pregnancy outcomes. However, surprisingly few epidemiologic studies have rigorously tested these hypotheses. The current study evaluated the effects of pre-conception self-reported stress on fecundability and spontaneous abortion. The study population was derived from the Mount Sinai Study of Woman Office Workers with 487 women included. Women recorded stress (scale from 1 to 4) and covariate information in a daily diary for 12 cycles or until pregnant. Results indicated a significantly increased risk of spontaneous abortion for women with higher levels of self-reported stress during the cycle of conception, and reduced fecundability when high stress occurred during the ovulatory window. This study reinforces the need for ameliorating stress in the aspiring and expecting mother. Future studies may examine effects of stress-related biomarkers and genetic polymorphisms on pregnancy outcomes.

Included in

Epidemiology Commons