Bringing a new person into the world is not a cake walk. You tend to worry about each and everything. A lot of questions and doubts go through your mind. What is the right kind of diet? Is exercise safe during pregnancy? How will I strike a fine balance between work and parenthood once the baby arrives?
A little bit of worry during pregnancy is quite normal as our life otherwise is also a mixed bag of happy and sad moments. But if the stress is something constant, it might pose health issues for you and your baby.
When stress conquers you, your body goes into flight-or-fight response, sending out a burst of stress-related hormones. These are the same hormones that come into play when you go through something dangerous. As a result, your muscles are fed by a blast of fuel, thereby making your heart pump faster.
If you can manage stress and get on, your response to stress will reduce and your body will get back to the balanced level of hormones. The kind of stress that really causes damage is the one that persists without any sign of abatement. It could even change your body’s stress management system, making it overact and setting off an inflammatory response.
Unfortunately inflammation, in turn, has been related to causing health issues during pregnancy. Besides, stress also puts your baby’s health in danger as the baby will be more prone to developmental issues at some point in life.
Studies have shown that chronic stress coupled with poor coping skills to manage those stresses may be linked to lower birth weight and premature delivery.
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is when you have mental troubles after seeing a gruesome event. It could be a natural disaster, motor vehicle accident or abuse. People with PTSD may experience:
• Serious anxiety
• Flashbacks of the event
• Physical responses (like a racing heartbeat or sweating) when reminded of the event
Studies show that as many as 8 in 100 women (8%) may get PTSD during pregnancy. Chances of delivering a premature or low-birthweight baby are significantly higher in women with PTSD compared to the women without this condition. As an offshoot of this condition, they may also go wayward and likely to have risky behaviors such as smoking, drinking or using street drugs. Doing these things increases pregnancy-related issues leaps and bounds. If you think you or someone close to you may have PTSD, talk to your physician or your mental health specialist.
The relationship between stress and pregnancy is not completely understood. However, it is believed that certain stress-related hormones may play a role in causing certain pregnancy complications. Your immune system, that protects you from infection, can be damaged on account of serious or long-lasting stress. This increases the risk of getting an infection in the uterus and it may eventually lead to premature birth.
The way you tackle stress is also very important. As mentioned above, dealing with stress by using substances that are injurious to your health like drinking, smoking or using street drugs can also lead to pregnancy-related issues.
The million dollar question here it if high levels of stress during pregnancy hurt your baby later in life. Some medical studies show that high levels of stress during pregnancy may lead to certain problems in childhood. The child may be unable to pay attention in class or get afraid at the drop of a hat. It is also probably that chronic stress may also influence your baby’s brain development that might result in behavioral problems as the baby grows.
Research in this area is still in its nascent stages, doctors still need to unravel the exact link between stress and pregnancy outcomes. Nonetheless, it should be made sure that a pregnant woman is kept outside the ambit of stress, be it financial, relationship or something else to aid smooth pregnancy. It is advisable to build a coping mechanism to deal with the everyday stress. The basic fact is you should not feel guilty about stress, but at the same time, should try to control it as much as you can.
Body of a woman undergoes a lot changes as pregnancy sets in. Emotions of the pregnant woman and life of other family members are also changing. You may be delighted with these changes, but if proper steps are not taken, they may add new stresses to your life. Find out what is making you stressed and talk to your partner, friend or your doctor about it.
The following are the simple two steps that anybody can do to bring down the level of stress and savor the wonder called life.
You may not be a trained singer, but still you can hum in your head. Music helps control cortisol, a stress-inducing hormone.
Take a chill pill. A warm bath or reading your favorite book may do the trick