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How Can Stress Affect Your Pregnancy

How Stress Can Affect Your Fertility

Dealing with Stress in Pregnancy

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If youve been trying to get pregnant for some time now, youre going to be stressed about it, to say the least. While some people experience severe stress levels and anxiety, others may experience stress as an infinitesimally small part of their undying hope and optimism for the future.

When you are amid several failed conceptions through your first, second, or third pregnancy, it is easier for people around you to take a second and say, Just relax!, but your anxiety and stress are understandable and need to be dealt with appropriately.

It may not be easy, but you need to deal with your stress because it can be more problematic than cathartic when it comes to your fertility. Though its a long-standing debate whether stress causes infertility or not, stress can lead to other health implications that may directly or indirectly affect your reproductive health. So you may find that its like an infinite loop what is causing you stress is becoming worse because of your stress levels. And thats not good.

Later in this article, you will read more about a few tips and tricks to ease the stress and break the loop to give yourself a chance at conception.

Affect And Preterm Birth

State anxiety during pregnancy significantly predicted gestational age and/or PTB in seven of 11 studies recently reviewed , but only in combination with other measures or in subgroups of the sample. More consistent effects have been found for `pregnancy anxiety’ . Pregnancy anxiety appears to be a distinct and definable syndrome reflecting fears about the health and well being of one’s baby, of hospital and health-care experiences , of impending childbirth and its aftermath, and of parenting or the maternal role . It represents a particular emotional state that is closely associated with state anxiety but more contextually based, that is, tied specifically to concerns about a current pregnancy. Assessment of pregnancy anxiety has entailed ratings of four adjectives combined into an index . Other measures exist as well.

In sum, recent evidence is remarkably convergent, indicating that pregnancy anxiety predicts the timing of delivery in a linear manner. Further, pregnancy anxiety predicts risk of spontaneous PTB with meaningful effect sizes across studies, comparable to or larger than effects of known risk factors such as smoking and medical risk. These effects hold for diverse income and ethnic groups in the USA and in Canada. The consistency of these findings paves the way for investigating the antecedents and correlates of pregnancy anxiety, mechanisms of effects, and available treatments.

Be Careful But Dont Panic

Sudden mood changes or prolonged anxiety arent trivial. They can have serious health consequences. Your body will let you know when you have built up stress or tension. Maybe you arent sleeping well, youre overworked, or youre having problems at home or at school. Youre stressed because, on top of all that, you have a tiny life growing inside of you.

Nevertheless, its important to point out that sudden, unexpected events that cause stress arent dangerous. For example, if a barking dog startles a pregnant woman.

The situations that matter are those that imply some kind of prolonged threat, loss, or damage. These kinds of situations can harm the baby in utero. Its also important to keep in mind that each woman reacts emotionally different in similar situations. Consequently, stress wont affect every woman in the same way.

Make sure to get enough rest and dont be too hard on yourself. Deal with problems step-by-step, eat right, and get enough exercise. Follow your doctors instructions. All of these things will help you avoid stress during pregnancy.

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Where To Get Help With Managing Stress In Pregnancy

If you dont feel like youre coping with stress, see your GP. GPs can give you general advice or refer you to a psychologist or counsellor for professional help and support. You can also talk to a midwife or doctor when you have your antenatal appointments. Most hospitals now have programs to help with issues like stress.

You can also contact:

Pregnancy Stress: How It Affects The Unborn Baby And Ways To Deal With It

How stress during pregnancy can affect your babys brain ...

Pregnancy sure is joyous for women but it is also the most fragile phase for women. You are naturally going to feel stress knowing you another life depending completely on you. you might panic, feel frustrated and even depressed at times. They say excess of anything is bad and so is the case with pregnancy stress as well.

If you are worried that your stressful life can have negative effects on your baby, you are not alone. Most women can go out of the way to protect their unborn babies from any harm. We have gathered everything you should know about stress during pregnancy, its effect on the baby and how you can cope with it during pregnancy.

How Does Stress Affect The Unborn Baby?

Continuous stress can affect your hormonal levels which not only negatively affect your system but your baby as well. Here are some of the ways your baby is affected:

1. Behavioral issues

It is very likely that women who take a lot of stress during pregnancy give birth to babies with behavioral issues.

2. Brain development

Stress during pregnancy can have its effect on the brain chemistry of the unborn baby and result in complications when he grows up.

3. Preterm Birth

Preterm birth is often the result of too much stress during pregnancy.

4. Sleep disorders

It is believed by experts that women with chronic stress during pregnancy have more chances of having babies with sleep disorders

5. Low birth weight

Ways to deal with stress during pregnancy

1. Exercise regularly

2. Talk about it

6. Meditate

Read Also: What To Do When Stressed About School

Does Stress Affect Unborn Babies Or Is That Idea Just Another Stress For Mothers

Preparing for a child is hard, and its only exacerbated by all the information that gets thrown at mothers about what to do and what not to do.

One of these common ideas is that if a mother experiences stress when pregnant, her offspring will suffer. But dont panic genetics is highly complex biology that isnt as scary as it sounds.

Researchers have found that long, stressful situations can change a mothers biology, which in turn can affect offspring. The most famous case was among mothers who were pregnant during the Dutch Hunger Winter of 194445. The offspring of these women had higher rates of average obesity, diabetes and schizophrenia.

More recently, a study showed that genetic warnings were placed in the eggs of female ringworms when they experienced long periods of stress. If that stressful period was long enough, the warnings were even passed on to grandchildren.

Again, it sounds scary, but what does it all mean?

Can Stress Affect Early Pregnancy

Stress during the first trimester is known to affect the microbial population in the mothers vagina. These are then passed onto babies during birth, thereby causing an impact on the metabolism and immune system of the infant. Altered gut microflora is also known to increase the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia and autism .

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Can Crying Affect Pregnancy

Crying during pregnancy is due to emotional stress and depression. It is associated with preterm labor, lower birth weight babies and intrauterine growth restrictions .

Being stressed is no fun, but remember that you are not alone. There is help if you ask for it. You may experience stress differently, but all you need to know is how to manage it well. If you are unable to cope with stress, talk to your doctor about what is causing you stress, and get solutions.

Have you experienced stress during pregnancy? How did you manage it? Share your experience and any tips about managing stress in the below comment section.

References:

If I Take Antidepressants During My Pregnancy Will They Hurt My Baby

Hi9 | Can stress affect your baby during Pregnancy | Dr.Rooma Sinha | Sr.Gynaecologist

You may think you should stop taking medication for depression when you are pregnant. Remember that, if left untreated, depression can have serious effects for both you and your baby. If you are taking antidepressants and are thinking about getting pregnant , talk to your doctor first, before stopping any medication. You can also consult the following trusted resources: www.mothertobaby.org, www.medicinesinpregnancy.org.

Some newborn babies may have symptoms such as irritability, fast breathing, tremors and poor feeding if their mothers took antidepressants during pregnancy. These symptoms are usually mild and pass quickly, usually within 2 weeks. These babies typically respond well to a quiet environment, swaddling, skin-to-skin contact, and frequent small feeds. Serious problems such as heart defects or more severe breathing issues are very rare.After your baby is born, they will be watched closely to make sure they are healthy. Your doctors and nurses will make sure that you are both well before letting you go home. You may need to stay an extra day or two in the hospital so that they can be sure.

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Maternal Stress And The Fetal Brain

Chronic stress may also contribute to subtle differences in brain development that might lead to behavioral issues as the baby grows, she adds.

Research in this area is still early, and doctors still need to figure out the exact link between stress and pregnancy outcomes. Even so, its an important factor for pregnant women to consider, especially if theyre dealing with chronic stress — for example, from financial or relationship troubles.

“We know that we want to think about how to reduce unhealthy stress and find ways to help women have better coping mechanisms to deal with the stress in their lives,” Borders says. You shouldnt feel guilty about stress, she adds, but you should try to control it as much as you can.

Continued

Symptoms Of Stress During Pregnancy

Pregnant or not, a body under stress experiences physical and chemical changes. Some of the most common symptoms of stress during pregnancy include the following:

  • An increase in cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine levels, whether youre aware of it or not
  • An increase in heart rate or heart palpitations
  • Headaches
  • A feeling of worry, frustration, anger or sadness
  • Loss of interest in being around other people
  • Excessive need to be around other people, or feeling scared to be alone

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Ways Stress Can Affect A Pregnancy

When you’re striving for a healthy pregnancy, you tend to focus on things like eating well, exercising and following all of the guidelines set forth by your doctor. However, there may be something you’re forgetting that ranks right up there with avoiding high-mercury fish: your stress level. Pregnancy can be nerve-wracking not only does it entail a lot of physical changes, but preparing to become a parent can take a lot out of you, emotionally and physically. You may figure that it’s just par for the course, but did you know that being under extreme stress while pregnant can actually cause problems for your baby?

Stress causes our bodies to release hormones in response to the threat that the body perceives — the higher the stress level, the more hormones our body produces. Since we all handle stress differently, an overwhelming situation for one person may be easily managed by another. Studies are inconclusive as to the exact relationship between stress and pregnancy, but it does seem that the most severe forms of stress, such as a death in the family, can have the biggest negative impact on a pregnancy.

It can be tough to draw conclusions, however, because pregnant women already experience many of the signs of too much stress, such as fatigue and poor sleeping habits. That’s why it’s important to listen carefully to what your body is telling you and to keep your doctor up to date on what’s going on with you, mentally as well as physically.

Contents

Whats The Difference Between Baby Blues And Postpartum Depression

Can Your Stress Affect Your Baby?

The baby blues is a mild form of postpartum depression that many new moms experience. It usually starts 1 to 3 days after the birth and can last for 10 days to a few weeks. With baby blues, many women have mood swingshappy one minute and crying the next. They may feel anxious, confused, or have trouble eating or sleeping. Up to 80% of new moms have the baby blues. Its common, and it will go away on its own.

About 13% of new mothers experience postpartum depression, which is more serious and lasts longer. You are at a greater risk if you have a family history of depression or have had depression before.

Some of the symptoms include:

  • feeling like you cant care for your baby,
  • extreme anxiety or panic attacks,
  • trouble making decisions,
  • hopelessness, and
  • feeling out of control.

No one knows exactly what causes postpartum depression. If you think you have the symptoms, its important to get help right away. Postpartum depression needs to be treated. Talk to your doctor or call your local public health office.

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Stress And Low Birth Weight

A second area of developing convergence concerns the effects of stress on infant birth weight and/or LBW, reviewed recently by Dunkel Schetter and Lobel . Again these studies can be organized by type of stressor. Evidence suggests that `major life events’ somewhat consistently predicted fetal growth or birth weight, whereas measures of `perceived stress’ had small or nonsignificant effects. `Chronic stressors’, however, have been even more robust predictors of birth weight. For example, unemployment and crowding predicted 2.0 to 3.8 times the risk of LBW among low-income women in one study . An important source of chronic stress is `racism or discrimination’ occurring both during the pregnancy and over a woman’s lifetime . Racism and discrimination contribute to birth outcomes independently of other types of stress . A growing number of studies have demonstrated that racism and discrimination prospectively predict birth weight, particularly in AfricanâAmerican women . Although this literature has focused mainly on women in the USA, it is relevant to minority women in other countries .

How Does Stress Affect Your Pregnancy

Stress is unlikely to cause severe consequences if it is managed rightly. It could affect the health of both the mother-to-be and the baby in some cases.

Severe, long-term stress can cause the following complications when left untreated:

  • High blood pressure
  • Weakened immune system
  • Severe depression

Some women try to manage stress by smoking, alcohol consumption and intake of drugs which could again lead to serious health problems in the mother and the baby .

Also Check: How To Help Someone Who Is Stressed At Work

Tips For Managing Stress During Pregnancy

by Dr. Ngozi Wexler, MD, Chair, Ob/Gyn Department, MedStar Montgomery Medical CenterMay 6, 2020

Pregnancy can bring on a mix of emotions for many women. And sometimes, excitement about the baby can be overshadowed by the stress of the unknown, physical discomfort, and life changes.

Its perfectly normal to feel some anxiety about whats to come, especially because of the hormonal shifts happening in your body. Not to mention, all of the changes and uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic certainly doesnt help. But managing your stress during pregnancy is important to maintaining your health and taking care of your baby.

How Stress During Pregnancy Impacts Babies

Stress During Pregnancy – How It Affects Mother & Baby

Well, I have some goodand some not so goodnews for us all.

Stress during pregnancy can definitely have physical and developmental consequences for our kids. But it has to be pretty significant stress for that to be the caseand most importantly, there are things you can do both during and after pregnancy to mitigate this.

Lets start with the not-so-good part.

Theres lots of evidence that stress and mental health issues during pregnancy can affect your developing baby. As March of Dimes points out, stress can spike your blood pressure, which can lead to premature delivery. Stress can also lead to delivering a baby with a lower than optimal birth weight. Low birth weight and premature delivery can put your baby at risk for adverse health outcomes and developmental delays.

In addition to the physical/health aspects, elevated levels of stress can release high levels of cortisol into your bloodstream, which can have lasting impacts on your baby. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that experiencing mental health issues like depression during pregnancy may make your baby more prone to crying and that this crying may be more difficult to soothe.

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Emotional Stress During Pregnancy Associations With Maternal Anxiety Disorders Infant Cortisol Reactivity And Motherchild Interaction At Pre

  • 1Institute of Medical Psychology, Center for Psychosocial Medicine, Heidelberg University Hospital, Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2General Psychiatry, Center for Psychosocial Medicine, Heidelberg University Hospital, Heidelberg, Germany
  • 3Department of Psychology, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Munich, Germany

Five Ways In Which Chronic Stress Can Affect Your Pregnancy

Bringing a baby into the world is never easy. Pregnancy is never a walk in a park. It is not like you wake up one day, and voila! You have a baby. It is one of the most challenging tasks where you have to carry your child in your womb for nine whole months. And if that is not enough, you also have to go through innumerable mood swings throughout the day, hormonal changes, and your body does not even stop growing almost everywhere.

Life seems messy, but you are also happy about the baby. All these different emotions and a dozen other responsibilities that you have to take care of can add-in to your stress. While it is entirely okay to experience my-work-is-never-done stress , the problem arises when you experience severe stress every day throughout nine months. In that case, stress will not only affect you, but it would also affect your pregnancy .

That being said, here are five different ways in which chronic stress can affect your pregnancy.

Also Check: How Stress And Anxiety Affect The Body

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