Stress and Pregnancy Problems
Stress is such a familiar part of our everyday lives and being pregnant can cause a woman to feel more anxious, stressed and depressed. It is not just extreme prenatal or toxic stress it can also be problems such as daily hassles, acute disasters, bad relationship strain, financial problems, pregnancy specific anxiety, emotional and physical abuse, bereavement, or life events.
During pregnancy your psychological functioning ultimately effects the temperament of your baby as your baby is surrounded by all the chemicals produced by you as the Mum.
Stress is a silent disease and as the pregnancy progresses maternal stress can create an environment which can lead to ongoing health problems for not only you as the mother, including preterm birth, but also for the child in low birth weight and in neurodevelopmental outcomes.
We have infant mortality, chronic lung disease, developmental delays and learning disorders. Then other complications such as psychological problems, behavioral and cognitive problems like ADHD, asthma, conduct disorder, schizophrenia, and impaired cognitive development. Later in life as adults that can lead to a greater risk of diabetes, high blood pressure or coronary heart disease. Not all children are affected, but those that are, are affected in different ways.
Research has found that raised cortisol levels in amniotic fluid is associated with cognitive function and, maternal anxiety changes the function of the placenta affecting the babies development. Some studies suggest that stress in the womb in the first trimester can affect baby’s temperament and in particular show more signs of depression and irritability. Research suggests those outcomes differ depending on gestational age.
For the best outcomes for you child, emotional care is paramount for all pregnant women! You need to really look after yourself and reach out for help if you need it.
Here are some questions to help you assess your level of stress during pregnancy;
I feel tense
I feel nervous
I feel worried
I feel frightened
I am concerned that I am unable to pay the bills
I am concerned that I may lose baby
I am concerned that my labor may be difficult
I am worried my baby will be born abnormal
I cannot control things that are going on in my life
Things are not going well for me
I am having trouble dealing with problems
I have problems at work
I have problems at home
I live apart from my partner or spouse
I have had problems with my partner or spouse
I have been threatened by my partner or spouse with some form of harm, including emotional and/or physical harm.
Can you relate to any of the above? If you have answered sometimes or yes to 3 or more of the above questions, you may be suffering from sufficient stress. Please reach out for support and get some help with this like talking to family or friends or your partner. Talk with your midwife or G.P about these concerns. Alot of doctors have a service of free counseling that they can refer you too.
Pregnancy in itself is a real stress on the body. Here are some other ways that you can try and reduce stress in your pregnancy;
Reducing your hours at work, learn to slow down, take regular breaks and rest. Try low impact exercises and drink plenty of water to prevent bladder infections. Try a massage as it helps to relieve tension and soothes muscle aches and pains. Lynnys magnesium oil is great for this!Try to get a good night’s sleep every night, use pillows to support your body.
Learn breathing techniques to calm you and ultimately your baby’s nervous system. Go to a hatha yoga class as yoga helps with better balance and relaxes the body and mind. Find a womans support group. Treat yourself to a beauty treatment or go to the hairdresser’s. Make sure you eat well and choose those extra calories wisely while you are eating for two 🤰
Get your vitamin and mineral levels checked as you may need help with supplements to target specific deficiencies.
Have a positive attitude, and enjoy your pregnancy to the fullest 🌷