Stress involves all of our physical, emotional, and cognitive reactions to disturbing external or internal events. A moderate amount of stress is normal for every pregnant woman, even those who truly look forward to their pregnancy. But, how couldn’t it? A pregnant woman must adapt her life to accept new responsibilities. She adapts her entire organisms to a new condition. Considering everything that follows pregnancy, it’s normal for a pregnant woman to feel mild stress sometimes. Important is that she recognizes and overcomes 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 or you are unorganized and lack sleep, there is a great chance that you are struggling with some stressful 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 pregnancy stress
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, stress during pregnancy absolutely should not surprise us.
In addition to weight in the stomach, nausea, and stomachaches, pregnant women are often under stress because of back pain, bad sleep, frequent urination,… 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 attack with psychological, they become a strong enemy under the flag of stress.
Most common psychological factors of pregnancy stress are family problems, problems with job, money worries… 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 can ease the worries, stress seems inevitable under such conditions. Also, the often cause of pregnancy stress is the fear of labour. Therefore, 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 labor, I recommend you to read our childbirth guide.
Consequences of pregnancy stress
Under stress, the hormones, such as adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisone, are excreted. In pregnancy, 10% of these hormones pass through the placenta and affect the baby directly, speeding up the baby’s heartbeat. Namely, babies start to feel mothers’ stress already at the 17th week of pregnancy. Also, hormones affect the blood flow on such a way that the blood doesn’t supply the baby with a 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 sleeping, feeding or digestion problems.
How to overcome pregnancy stress
At 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, thinking about labor… 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 stressful situations will be better able to cope with stress later.
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 unpleasant situations too much. Think about your baby and you. Also, you should think about the situation and your reactions. Whatever the problem is, more anxiety will only make the situation worse. In such situations, it’s necessary to think positively.
- Try to sleep well and stay healthy. Stress is connected to sleeping and eating.
- Take time for yourself and enjoy the activities that you like. 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 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, but you may consider the whole situation more objectively also.
Nevertheless, the most important way that a pregnant woman avoids and overcomes pregnancy stress is the awareness of carrying a beautiful creature that is sensitive to all her feelings. She should be strong for her child and herself. She should think about the day when she will hold her baby on her breasts and be the most beautiful mother created especially for that baby.