Does Stress play a role in preeclampsia?

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Does Stress play a role in preeclampsia?

Postby expert on call » Sat May 14, 2005 09:45 pm

Many of our members have speculated that emotional stress or job-related stress was a significant contributor in their eventual development of preeclampsia or other pregnancy hypertension. Many also consider self-imposed bedrest or leaving their jobs during a subsequent pregnancy in the hopes of reducing their chances of developing preeclampsia. What is your opinion of this? Does maternal stress cause or exacerbate preeclampsia? What role does stress play in pregnancy hypertension?
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Re : Does Stress play a role in preeclampsia?

Postby expert on call » Sat May 14, 2005 09:46 pm

I do not know of any information that suggests that stress is part of the disease. In part, I think women may believe this because to the term "hypertension." But, psychological tension in not the issue. Hypertension refers to the tension in the wall of the blood vessel - the pressure. The response to attribute their psychological state with causation is an attempt to find control. It is also an attempt to assume responsibility and blame for the prior outcome. "If only I had not worked so hard.... had not been stressed..."

A large part of the work in caring for a woman with a prior bad outcome is to address and recognize that ubiquitous sense of maternal responsibility, the sense of responsibility that leads to guilt and self blame.

So, all that said, no stress does not lead to preeclampsia. This is a disease - for the most part, an individual woman has little control over the disease. I try very hard to dissuade women from taking on the personal responsibility for their preeclampsia and the impact of the disease.

Information provided on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disorder, or prescribing any medication. The Preeclampsia Foundation presents all data as is, without any warranty of any kind, express or implied, and is not liable for its accuracy, for mistakes or omissions of any kind, nor for any loss or damage caused by a user's reliance on information obtained on the site. Professional opinions on this condition vary greatly. The Preeclampsia Foundation endorses no one course of treatment or "cure". Responses generated by our Experts to specific questions are based on information anonymously submitted to this site via email, are not based on a complete review of any patient’s medical records and should not be construed as the only reasonable expert response to the info submitted and/or the scenario described.
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Re : Does Stress play a role in preeclampsia?

Postby expert on call » Mon May 16, 2005 02:08 pm

Stress may effect blood pressure, but there are no data to conclusively establish stress as a cause of preeclampsia, and plenty of data to suggest that bed rest is of no help at all in either prevention or treatment of preeclampsia.

Secondly, the data on "stress" are poor at best with much variation on how stress is perceived, how it is objectively measured, and how individuals respond to it.

Information provided on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disorder, or prescribing any medication. The Preeclampsia Foundation presents all data as is, without any warranty of any kind, express or implied, and is not liable for its accuracy, for mistakes or omissions of any kind, nor for any loss or damage caused by a user's reliance on information obtained on the site. Professional opinions on this condition vary greatly. The Preeclampsia Foundation endorses no one course of treatment or "cure". Responses generated by our Experts to specific questions are based on information anonymously submitted to this site via email, are not based on a complete review of any patient’s medical records and should not be construed as the only reasonable expert response to the info submitted and/or the scenario described.
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Re : Does Stress play a role in preeclampsia?

Postby expert on call » Mon May 16, 2005 02:09 pm

Many of my patients over the years have told me this as well. I do not believe that stress causes preeclampsia. I do think it is possible that global stress (including running around and doing a lot of things) can make blood pressure more labile in someone who already has a hypertensive condition, and it is conceivable that in someone destined to develop preeclampsia, the maternal manifestations (particularly hypertension) may be more apparent in an individual who is overtired, stressed and exhausted. In a woman who has had early severe preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy, since we have no specific treatment, more rest (not necessarily in bed), and less activity may be helpful since it may improve uteroplacental perfusion. In such a pregnancy my opinion is that extra rest and less stress can't hurt.

Information provided on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disorder, or prescribing any medication. The Preeclampsia Foundation presents all data as is, without any warranty of any kind, express or implied, and is not liable for its accuracy, for mistakes or omissions of any kind, nor for any loss or damage caused by a user's reliance on information obtained on the site. Professional opinions on this condition vary greatly. The Preeclampsia Foundation endorses no one course of treatment or "cure". Responses generated by our Experts to specific questions are based on information anonymously submitted to this site via email, are not based on a complete review of any patient’s medical records and should not be construed as the only reasonable expert response to the info submitted and/or the scenario described.
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Re : Does Stress play a role in preeclampsia?

Postby expert on call » Mon May 16, 2005 02:10 pm

Agree completely with (Expert #2) . I do believe it possible that stress could interact with other factors to influence human health including preeclampsia. There is however no proof. If there was, bed rest would probably be the last recommendation to help with this. It causes more stress than it relieves.


Information provided on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disorder, or prescribing any medication. The Preeclampsia Foundation presents all data as is, without any warranty of any kind, express or implied, and is not liable for its accuracy, for mistakes or omissions of any kind, nor for any loss or damage caused by a user's reliance on information obtained on the site. Professional opinions on this condition vary greatly. The Preeclampsia Foundation endorses no one course of treatment or "cure". Responses generated by our Experts to specific questions are based on information anonymously submitted to this site via email, are not based on a complete review of any patient’s medical records and should not be construed as the only reasonable expert response to the info submitted and/or the scenario described.
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Re : Does Stress play a role in preeclampsia?

Postby expert on call » Mon May 16, 2005 02:12 pm

Laura,
I am just getting caught up with email after ACOG and have just
reviewed responses from (Experts #2 and #4). They are right. There is no high quality data to associate "stress" with preeclampsia causation, and I doubt that it plays any significant role. As the knowledge about the pathogenesis of preeclampsia continues to unfold, fewer of these notions of association like stress/work will remain in patients' minds as causative of problems with preeclampsia. There is an association with obesity, but that is not causative.......

Expert on Call #5

Information provided on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disorder, or prescribing any medication. The Preeclampsia Foundation presents all data as is, without any warranty of any kind, express or implied, and is not liable for its accuracy, for mistakes or omissions of any kind, nor for any loss or damage caused by a user's reliance on information obtained on the site. Professional opinions on this condition vary greatly. The Preeclampsia Foundation endorses no one course of treatment or "cure". Responses generated by our Experts to specific questions are based on information anonymously submitted to this site via email, are not based on a complete review of any patient’s medical records and should not be construed as the only reasonable expert response to the info submitted and/or the scenario described.
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