Is There Anything Else I Should Do
If you are feeling any of the symptoms listed above, it is very important to tell someone. The early days of taking care of a new baby can be hard. Youre probably not sleeping much as you try to meet your babys needs around the clock. Find a friend, family member or someone else you trust who can look after your baby for short periods while you get a break. If people offer help, accept it.
There are many support programs for new mothers. Talk to your doctor, nurse, midwife, or contact your local public health office for a listing of services in your area.
Is It Normal To Feel Stressed When Pregnant
Although the stigma around talking about mental health has broken down in recent years, with the general public having an increased awareness of stress and the challenges it brings, when we experience it for ourselves, we can feel incredibly isolated.
Bhugra says its a normal feeling – and that it can be magnified once youre expecting for myriad reasons.
Almost everyone feels stressed at times, he says. Stress during pregnancy is not uncommon. Pregnancy can lead you to feel stressed about the babys health and wellbeing, the capability to be a good parent, or the ability to cope after birth.
Plus, he adds, if youre a first-time parent, or have had a difficult birth experience previously, the feelings could be even more overwhelming – not to mention other problematic circumstances that could magnify any normal worries.
Its possible that your first pregnancy may be more stressful, or if there have been previous miscarriages or difficult births, that could also lead to stress, he says.
Lack of social support, not having your partner, overcrowding and poverty could also make stress worse.
Some people may worry whether the arrival of the baby will affect their relationship with their partner, or be concerned about childbirth, pain and the ability to cope with the baby.
Other Ways Stress Can Affect Pregnancy
Stress can have negative effects on pregnancy and an infants health. When women experience stress during pregnancy, the brain produces stress hormones and stimulates the immune system response.6 Prenatal stress, anxiety, and depression are linked to pregnancy complications like preterm labor and delivery, low birth weight, shorter birth length, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes.6,7 Women who experience stress during pregnancy are also more prone to infection and illness. Women under stress may be less likely to prioritize self-care, which can also increase the risk of illness and infection.
Exposure to stress can also impact an infants health and development.6,7 When a mother experiences stress during pregnancy, hormones called glucocorticoids are released. Studies have shown that exposure to this hormone can affect the infants response to stress in the future.
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How Does Stress Affect Pregnancy In First Trimester
Its undeniable that pregnant women are likely to have stress and anxiety. Stress is an emotional problem, but it also does have an effect on your body physically. So, how does it affect your first trimester?
Each trimester of pregnancy is crucial for the growth and development of your baby. But when it comes to discussing about the effects of stress on pregnancy, first trimester could be a bit more challenging. The first three months of pregnancy are an important transformation to prepare your body for the growth of your baby.
Stress is more likely to occur in the first trimester is it true?
Its clear that being pregnant can increase your stress level. And this psychological problem may occur more often in the first 3 months of gestation, particularly true if this is your first pregnancy.
Of course, its a joy to get pregnant since you will be a new mom. But sometimes you may also feeling anxious, which may increase your stress.
However, its perfectly normal to worry about the health of your baby and yourself during pregnancy. Plus, you may worry about new adjustments of your financial demands and other things associated with motherhood.
You may also feel anxious about your relationship with your partner during and after pregnancy. And if you are working your productivity may be affected. All these issues may factor into your increased stress level.
How does stress affect pregnancy?
Can Stress Stop You From Getting Pregnant
Stress may affect your fertility in several ways, though there is no clear evidence about how it does it. Even without clear evidence, most doctors believe that if you can reduce depression and anxiety, pregnancy rates go up. That counteracts one of the biggest myths out there which is “just relax and youll get pregnant. It’s far from that simplistic. If there are certain physical problems, then just relaxing won’t make them go away.
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Medication For Pregnancy Stress
Mental health medications, like antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and mood stabilizers, may be prescribed for certain women who are struggling to cope with stress, depression, anxiety, or other emotional challenges during pregnancy.15 Research on taking these medications while pregnant is limited.
Certain medications do carry risks to the unborn fetus, so these medications are generally avoided. If your doctor feels that you may benefit from medication, they will consider the pros and cons and help you decide whether this is the right option for you. Be sure to consult with a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner that specializes in working with perinatal mental health.
Physical Effects Of Stress On Fertility
When the body feels stress, it immediately goes into protection mode. Life preservation ranks higher than reproduction, so getting pregnant when stress levels are high can be difficult. This has nothing to do with a physical inability to conceive, but with genetic wiring. Stress was once defined as a physical threat. Today, we react to emotional and perceived stressors in the same way we react to physical stressors. The body does not know the difference and thus reacts the same in both situations. With stress levels high, menstrual cycles can be thrown off-cycle or cease altogether. This can make ovulation prediction and conception extremely difficult.
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What Causes A Baby To Have A Low Birthweight
There are two main reasons:
- Preterm birth.
- Fetal growth restriction . This means a baby doesnt gain the weight they should before birth. Some babies may have low birthweight simply because their parents are small. Others may have low birthweight because something slowed or stopped their growth during pregnancy. Your health care provider measures your belly and uses ultrasound to help track your babys growth during pregnancy. Ultrasound uses sound waves and a computer screen to show a picture of your baby while youre pregnant.
If your provider thinks your babys growth is being restricted, you may have ultrasounds more often to track your babys growth. Your provider also may do other tests such as heart rate monitoring and tests to check for infections or birth defects. Babies who have birth defects are more likely to be born too early.
Pregnant Women Become Clingy
You may have heard about pregnant women experiencing paranoia or relationship insecurity during pregnancy. Unfortunately, it is not an old wives tale.
The primary culprit here is the hormonal changes responsible for evoking a gamut of emotions during pregnancy . These negative emotions could manifest in the form of anxiety, panic, and even feelings of abandonment. As a result, their mental health takes a hit, causing them to always be on alert and fearing the worst.
Even the most independent or self-sufficient women succumb to such thoughts and end up thinking, behaving, or acting irrationally. As a result, she may nag her partner by constantly asking them if they would leave her or call them every hour to check on them if they are doing fine, and sometimes even act strangely suspicious.
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The Evidence Of The Correlation Between Stress And Miscarriages
Since stress can negatively affect your health, you may wonder if stress can cause miscarriages. There are some studies that suggest there may be a correlation between stress and miscarriages.
A recent study published in Psychosomatic Medicine reported a connection between extreme stress and miscarriage. Pregnant women who lived in a town that was exposed to life-threatening rocket attacks were compared to pregnant women who lived in an unexposed town. While 6.9 percent of the former group experienced miscarriages, only 4.7 percent of the latter group experienced a pregnancy loss.
Another study found a similar link. This study, published in the journal Reproduction, reported that social stress during the early stages of pregnancy could be correlated with miscarriages. The study reported that exposure to stress later in pregnancy didnt have the same effect. In the later stages of pregnancy, stress was found to be correlated with low birth weight.
Maternal Anxiety Symptoms: Agoraphobic Cognitions Questionnaire Body Sensations Questionnaire And The Mobility Inventory
Core symptoms of anxiety disorders at the 1st assessment and the 5-year follow-up were assessed with the German version of the Agoraphobic Cognitions Questionnaire , the Body Sensations Questionnaire and the Mobility Inventory . The three questionnaires combine cognitions, physical symptoms and avoidance behavior, all core symptoms of anxiety disorders. The ACQ consists of 14 questions about the frequency of typical anxiety cognitions with scales ranging from 1 to 5 . The BSQ consists of 17 items and measures the extent of fear of anxiety related physical symptoms from 1 to 5 . The MI consists of 27 items describing predominant agoraphobic situations and the avoidance of these situations. Moreover, it also indicates the severity of the anxious symptomatology. The MI is subdivided into the Mobility Inventory Alone and the Mobility Inventory Backened . In our sample, internal consistency ranged from Cronbachs = 0.88 to 0.95 MIA = 0.95 at 1st assessment and 0.94 at 5-year follow-up BSQ = 0.92 at both assessments. Thus, the internal consistency was comparable to the ones reported by the authors and can be evaluated as good to excellent.
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Research On Stress And Fertility
There have been studies that link stress to lowered fertility, but there is also research that suggests otherwise. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine states, “Even though infertility is very stressful, there isn’t any proof that stress causes infertility.” And in the case of moderate stress, a 2019 study noted no negative effect for women who were trying to conceive.
Even so, other studies demonstrate the opposite effect. A 2018 study by the Boston University School of Public Health, for example, found that women who had high levels of perceived stress experienced lower levels of fertility than those with less stress. Researchers also observed that in situations where one partner was significantly more stressed than the other, there was a lowered chance of conception.
It is important to note that despite a lack of long-term effects on the ability to get pregnant, extreme stress can affect fertility in the short term. For example, you may experience an irregular period during an unusually stressful time, but then find your cycle returns to normal after the heightened anxiety has passed.
Are You At Risk Of Having A Low
Some things may make you more likely than others to have a low-birthweight baby. These are called risk factors. Having a risk factor doesnt mean youll definitely have a low-birthweight baby, but it may increase your chances. Talk with your health care provider about what you can do to reduce your risk.
Medical risk factors for having a low-birthweight baby
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Pregnancy is a time of many changes. Your body, your emotions and the life of your family are changing. You may welcome these changes, but they can add new stresses to your life.
Feeling stressed is common during pregnancy. But too much stress can make you uncomfortable. Stress can make you have trouble sleeping, have headaches, lose your appetite or overeat.
High levels of stress that continue for a long time may cause health problems, like high blood pressure and heart disease. When youre pregnant, this type of stress can increase the chances of having a premature baby or a low-birthweight baby . Babies born too soon or too small are at increased risk for health problems.
What’s Too Much And For Whom
Tiffanie Pomerance of Los Angeles remembers when she was admitted to the hospital during her first pregnancy after a sonogram found that her cervix had started to dilate at 19 weeks. Doctors stitched her up but she started having severe contractions and was hospitalized. Everyone, including her husband and family, was worried.
“We just sat in the hospital room staring at the fetal monitor, looking at how many contractions I was having. We all thought I was going to lose the pregnancy,” says Pomerance, 32. Her mother finally covered the monitor with a towel when Dr. Hobel explained that worries would exacerbate her condition. Sure enough, she started to notice that contractions got worse when she was more anxious.
In hindsight, Pomerance says her hectic lifestyle as a speech therapist — working 12-hour days, dividing her time between three nursing homes and grabbing lunch while standing — probably contributed to her problem in the first place. She slowed down considerably with her second pregnancy. Fortunately, she carried both babies to 35 weeks.
Like most women, Pomerance had no idea how much stress could put her over the edge. “I was under your everyday type of stress. I thought that I would do it all, plus work out every day at the gym. Now I tell anyone who’s pregnant to slow down a bit.”
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What Are The Signs Of Depression
Depression can come on slowly. The symptoms are different for everyone. They can be mild, moderate or severe. Some of the more common signs are:
- changes in appetite, like eating too much or having little interest in food,
- changes in sleep, such as trouble sleeping or sleeping too much,
- lack of energy,
- feeling sad, hopeless or worthless,
- crying for no reason, and
- loss of interest or pleasure in activities you normally enjoy.
New moms with depression may have trouble caring for their baby. They might not want to spend time with their baby, which can lead to a baby who cries a lot.
How To Reduce Stress In Pregnancy
The difficulty with stress is that unlike smoking, alcohol and unpasteurised cheese, we cant just decide to quit when it comes to eliminating stress from our busy lives. But there are many ways to manage and reduce stress. The bonus is, reducing stress in pregnancy can result in a smoother postnatal period as well.
Some ways to reduce stress include utilising social support, either by spending time with friends or accepting help from those around you to relieve the stress of daily activities.
Light exercise, yoga, meditation and relaxation can all assist in managing stress. While yoga class might be perceived as inaccessible or elitist, a recent study of pregnant underprivileged urban teens in the US showed that group yoga was an appealing method of reducing stress and addressing worries for this population. Scheduling time to rest and discussing work demands in pregnancy with your employer are other ways to reduce stress.
When stress becomes overwhelming its important to talk to a GP who can refer you to a psychologist or other local service to help address the stress in your life.
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How Much Stress Is Too Much
All of us experience stress every day. Will the bus be late? Will my boss like the report I wrote? How will my mother in law feel about the name I chose for the baby? But low-level, transient stresses like these are unlikely to create problems for your baby. What kinds of stress are likely to make a negative difference?
- Catastrophic events such a major illness or death in the family
- Major, ongoing problems in your relationships with family members or close friends
- Serious, ongoing issues at work
- Mental illness such as depression or bipolar disorder
What Types Of Stress Can Cause Pregnancy Problems
Stress is not all bad. When you handle it right, a little stress can help you take on new challenges. Regular stress during pregnancy, such as work deadlines, probably dont add to pregnancy problems.
However, serious types of stress during pregnancy may increase your chances of certain problems, like premature birth. Most women who have serious stress during pregnancy can have healthy babies. But talk to your health care provider if you have these types of stress:
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How Does Stress Cause Pregnancy Problems
We dont completely understand the effects of stress on pregnancy. But certain stress-related hormones may play a role in causing certain pregnancy complications. Serious or long-lasting stress may affect your immune system, which protects you from infection. This can increase the chances of getting an infection of the uterus. This type of infection can cause premature birth.
Other ways stress can cause pregnancy problems include:
- Normal pregnancy discomforts, like trouble sleeping, body aches and morning sickness may feel even worse with stress
- You may have problems eating, like not eating enough or eating too much. This can make you underweight or cause you to gain too much weight during pregnancy. It also may increase your risk of having gestational diabetes and preterm labor.
- Stress may lead to high blood pressure during pregnancy. This puts you at risk of a serious high blood pressure condition called preeclampsia, premature birth and having a low-birthweight infant.
- Stress also may affect how you respond to certain situations. Some women deal with stress by smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol or taking street drugs, which can lead to serious health problems in you and you baby.
Many women worry that stress may lead to miscarriage, the death of a baby before 20 weeks of pregnancy. While extra stress isn’t good for your overall health, there’s no evidence that stress causes miscarriage.