Stress during pregnancy is expected when considering the experiences of bodily, emotional and psychological challenges. A woman’s physical appearance, emotional balance and motor skills will change over the 9 months of her pregnancy. A woman will experience stress from a number of sources that are physical, emotional, psychological and environmental. On the physical side, she will experience vomiting, nausea, dizziness, and food cravings. In some cases, she will experience high blood pressure, diabetes and back aches. Environmental stressors might include stress from her job, traffic, her partner, or any number of reasons that are outside an individual’s control.
The Effect of Stress and Cortisol
Stress during pregnancy is a serious concern as it involves both mother and child. There may be serious complications if the mother’s stress is not kept under control. It could affect the child’s development in a negative way. A study by Sandman and Davis of the University of California found that a high amount of cortisol, a hormone secreted during stressful event, can adversely affect the infants’ growth and development. Statistically speaking, a lot of women experience depression during pregnancy. It can be worse if that person already struggled with depression before becoming pregnant. Please consult a doctor if you are ill.
An encouraging and helpful environment will help reduce stress. A study from the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute showed that a mindful-based support system can reduce the level of stress that a pregnant woman experiences. Here are ways to decrease or prevent stress:
- Regular communication with loved ones can decrease the occurrence of stress.
- Activities, such as Lamaze, pranayama, yoga and meditation, are beneficial in decreasing stress levels. Practicing these activities on a daily basis keeps the mind and emotions in check and promotes calmness even in stressful situations.
- Support from friends and family when feeling overwhelmed can dramatically reduce stress.
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet keeps the body strong.
- Learn more about pregnancy and childbirth. Talk to your doctor or midwife about concerns that create anxiety for you.
A pregnancy can bring about changes that are physical, emotional and mental. Hormones, transitioning body parts, and changes in daily routines, can spark stress. Manage these stresses by learning to relax and look for methods to cope with anxiety. This will keep you and your child healthy and safe.