Detrimental Effects of Stress on Pregnancy
Stressed mothers are 60% more likely than other mothers to have babies with acute or severe health defects. It is thus, important to know the best ways to get a pregnant woman to relax. Stress is almost an inevitable part of women’s life. They struggle a lot to meet the personal and professional commitments – prepare breakfast, get children ready for the school, managing to reach office in time, and then meeting the responsibilities at the office, etc. Such commitments can be challenging and cause a significant level of stress in women.
For pregnant women, stress can be harmful as it can cause miscarriage or problems in fetus development. Research suggests that prenatal stress during the first trimester is responsible for developmental defects in the offspring.
Laboratory experiments conducted on rats show that the rat mothers exposed to stress had offspring with impaired memory and learning abilities, less or no capacity to cope with unfavorable circumstances, and symptoms of anxiety and depression. These symptoms (in rats) are parallel to the signs and symptoms observed in children born to mothers, who were stressed during their pregnancy.
Further experiments were directed towards the effect of the hormone cortisol and brain fetal brain development during the crucial stage of brain development. Cortisol hormone is released in excessive amounts by the adrenal glands during stress. Under usual circumstances, this hormone stimulates a beneficial function of supplying energy to the brain. However, the beneficial effect can be observed after a small amount of hormone release and only for a short period of time. Nevertheless, if a huge amount of the hormone released during the second trimester – fetal brain development stage, it can cause developmental, functional, and structural changes.
Sometimes, cortisol, if released in excessive amounts is responsible for the release of another hormone from the placenta that may result in the premature birth of the baby. This can be another factor that suggests that stress in mothers can hinder the normal development of their offspring.
So with all this said, you might wonder, are there things that a pregnant woman can do to overcome stress and lead a healthy life so that she has a healthy baby? Well, the answer is yes, you simply need to gain control of your life, be a little more positive, and take care of yourself to be stress-free.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle:
Take a closer look at your lifestyle, the work commitments, family responsibilities, and other obligations that you need to meet every day. Then, you see how feasible it is for you to perform all these activities. Accept the fact that you might be able to maintain a tight schedule now, but as the pregnancy progresses, you will not be able to sustain the same lifestyle. So, change the schedule, keep some time for your exercise, socializing, and downtime.
A positive attitude can have an influential result on your stress levels. A negative attitude can make your stress-inducing factors more powerful and cause frustration. Find resources of positive thinking and follow it to be optimistic.
Seeking support from those around you to help you fight the emotional challenges during pregnancy can be useful to have a healthy pregnancy and save your unborn child from the negative effects of stress.
Detrimental effects of stress in mothers during pregnancy are the strongest during the first trimester as this is the time when there is a less protective barrier between the mother and the developing fetus. The research has been successful to prove the harmful effects of stress during pregnancy on the newborn baby such as premature birth, impaired memory in the newborn, lower birth weight, and so on. Thus, it is highly important that a pregnant woman undergoes an effective stress management plan.