Stress involves all of our physical, emotional, and cognitive reactions to disturbing external or internal events.
A moderate amount of stress accompanies every pregnant woman, even those who truly look forward to their pregnancy- how couldn’t it? A pregnant woman must adapt her life to accept new responsibilities. She adapts its entire organisms to a new condition. Considering everything that follows pregnancy, it’s normal for a pregnant woman to feel a mild stress sometimes. Important is to recognize and master it. Otherwise, mild stress becomes more powerful and can lead to negative consequences for the pregnant woman and baby health.
Symptoms of stress
If you often feel tired and have a headache, you are unorganized and lack sleep, there is a great chance that your body is struggling with some uncomfortable situation. If you get sick often, if your blood pressure rises and you feel anxiety and sadness, then you are probably under a lot of stress.
The most common reasons for stress during pregnancy
The stressors are all around us. A job can be a stressor as well as some driver who keeps honking while being stuck in traffic, or the empty wallet.
Especially pregnant women are in danger of stress attack. It’s normal that a person is under stress when feeling a constant pressure in the stomach and pelvis as they constantly carry a big weight. It’s even less pleasant if the person feels nauseous and has digestion problems, while hormones go crazy. I think that every woman was nervous about her own physical condition during pregnancy at some point, probably very often. According to the great influence of the physical condition on behaviour, this is very understandable.
In addition to weight in the stomach, nausea and stomachaches, pregnant women are often under stress because of back pain, bad sleep, frequent urination, heartburn… However, all these don’t make a big problem until a mother has the strong will to resist the effects of biological factors. But, if biological factors associated with psychological, they become a strong enemy under the flag of stress.
Most common psychological factors of pregnancy stress are intimate and family problems, problems with job, money concerns… It is especially difficult for mothers from poor families. Beside stress factors which are normal in a pregnancy, they have to worry about providing what is necessary for a child before and after birth. Even with a compassionate husband or family members who will ease the burden, stress seems inevitable under such conditions. Also, the often cause of pregnancy stress is the fear of labour. In those situations, a pregnant woman needs to know what to expect. She can read different literature on pregnancy, search that subject on the web, have consultations with doctors and gain experience from mothers. Also, if you are a pregnant woman who wants to prepare for labour, I recommend you to read our childbirth guide.
Consequences of pregnancy stress
Considering that stress causes nausea, it isn’t surprising that the fact that nausea in pregnancy intensifies stress. Under stress, the hormones, such as adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisone, are excreted. In pregnancy, 10% of these hormones pass through the placenta and directly act on the motor activity of the fetus, speeding up the baby’s heartbeat. The baby starts to feel mother’s stress already at the 17th week of pregnancy. Also, hormones affect the blood flow so the blood doesn’t supply the baby with sufficient amount of oxygen and nutrients.
Studies have shown that stress in pregnancy is a risk factor for depression, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Pregnant women under chronic stress have a larger risk for miscarriage, long and painful childbirth and premature birth. She is also more likely to give birth to a child who is nervous, hyperactive and has problems with sleeping, feeding or digestion.
How to overcome pregnancy stress
First, don’t get stressed out of stress.
If you are pregnant and feel mild stress, don’t worry about your baby’s condition. Mild stress can even be positive for the child. Mild stress occurs in situations that are normal for every pregnant woman, such as the purchase of baby gear, administration procedures, thinking about labour… The increased value of cortisol produced by mild stress results in the formation of a number of oxytocin receptors. Oxytocin is the hormone of love. Not only that scientists connect this hormone with confidence and love, but also with dealing with stress. This means that babies whose mothers respond with mild stress to their everyday pregnancy-related situations will later be better able to cope with social interactions and disturbing situations.
However, chronic pregnancy stress, as we have seen, can be very dangerous for the mother and baby. Therefore, it is important that pregnant women avoid stressful situations. Also, they should change their attitude about some situations. Try not to get upset because of some inaccurate situations too much. Focus on what matters, on your baby and you. Otherwise, you should think about the situation and your reactions. Whatever the problem is, more anxiety will only aggravate the situation. In such situations, it’s necessary to think positively.
- Try to sleep well and stay healthy. Stress is associated with sleeping and eating.
- Take time for yourself and engage in some activities that will enjoy. For example, practice yoga for pregnant women, go for a walk, read books, listen to music, etc. Studies show that pregnant women can alleviate the symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression by listening to music 30 minutes of every day.
- Enjoy a pleasant bath with scented lavender oils or a message suitable for pregnant women.
- Talk to people close to you about your feelings. Not only that you will find support, you may consider the whole situation more objectively also.
Nevertheless, the most important way of avoiding and overcoming pregnancy stress is the awareness of carrying a beautiful creature that is sensitive to all mother’s feelings. She should be strong for her child and herself. She should think about the day when she will hold it on her breasts and be the most beautiful mother created especially for that baby.