How does Stress Impact Pregnancy?
Stress is innate in today’s lifestyle. Right from managing a household to running an enterprise, the lifestyle, in general, is full of stress. Stress affects the peace of mind at the foremost and affects health adversely. The increase in heart diseases, blood pressure, and early age health ailments is proof of the detrimental effect of stress.
Bringing a baby in the world is the biggest joy in the world. Lucky are those who wish to get pregnant and can conceive at their wish. Stress affects pregnancy in two negative ways. Stress affects the ability to get pregnant and also affects the fetus at all stages of pregnancy.
What Causes Stress in Pregnancy?
Stress takes the body to ‘fight mode’ or ‘flight mode’ where the release of cortisol and other hormones puts the body in danger. The stress starts with questions like when I can expect to get pregnant to the right kind of diet for pregnancy. Various other issues like IVF and financial considerations to the post-maternity care may bother you. Since the process of pregnancy and delivery are new to you, there are umpteen questions running on in the mind. Consulting a good gynecologist, like Dr. Shivani Bhutani (from EVA Hospital), is always a wise decision.
Following are the main stress initiators in pregnancy:
- Hormonal Changes
The body goes through a lot of hormonal changes in pregnancy. Mood swings are majorly predominant in pregnancy and can make it difficult to manage stress.
You don’t know what to expect, how would delivery be, what would the delivery pain be like, how to manage the increased expenditure, the expenses of delivery, the results of a scan, and the all-time dilemma of what-to-do and what-not-to-do. Anticipation all day long can be havoc.
Dr. Shivani laments that sometimes half-information on Google or excerpts from someone else’s experience can be major causes of stress.
- Unexpected Deadlines and Work Pressure
Insurmountable pressure at work premises can be stressful along with pregnancy. To deal with sudden deadlines along with initial pregnancy nausea and discomfort can be stressful. Any unforeseen event or unplanned workload affects the peace of mind.
- Physical Discomforts
Some of the physical changes can be overwhelming and can cause discomfort like nausea, constipation, back problems and hurt the legs or abdomen. This can be a major reason for stress.
All in all, stress can leave an indelible mark on pregnancy which can hamper the physical and mental health of the fetus.
How does Stress affect Pregnancy?
Dr. Shivani says stress can negatively impact the ability to get pregnant and once you are pregnant, stress can harm the fetus and its mental health. Stress can aggravate anger, blood pressure, and some obnoxious thoughts in pregnancy. Research has shown that stress troubles the digestion pattern of the body. Also, you may experience troubles in sleeping and breathing pattern and this can affect the fetus’ blood supply.
Chronic stress in pregnancy can affect the fetus’ growth, mental development as well as behavioral issues in the child. If chronic stress continues for a long time, it can permeate in the form of health issues like high blood pressure and heart diseases. This leads to an increase in the chances of premature delivery, low-weight baby or babies with deformities. Premature babies (born before 37 weeks) or low weight babies (less than 2.8 kg) have birth deformities and low immunity. Stress can be alarming in pregnancy.
What are the Best Ways to Reduce Risk?
For a smooth pregnancy and safe delivery, you must make sure that you keep stress at bay. Normal stress due to anticipation is genuine; however, prolonged stress can harm the baby and his mental growth. Following are the ways you must implement to keep stress away:
- Prenatal Yoga
Yoga focuses on physical as well as mental stability and peace. Specialized prenatal yoga classes have picked up momentum because the testimonials prove that yoga helps the mother bond well with the child and enjoy pregnancy.
Yoga helps in relieving pains through guided stretches and positions. Even the delivery of the baby is relatively a cakewalk if you pursue proper yoga techniques and postures. You must enroll for pregnancy yoga classes and stay stress-free.
- Indulge in Hobbies
Pregnancy is the best time to pamper yourself and keep yourself happy. You must plan and indulge in activities that bring a smile on you-listening to music, painting, catching up with friends, soaking in a bath or maybe just reveling in the magic of a magazine along with a cup of hot favorite tea. Relive the long-lost passions and kindle yourself to be able to give a calm and nourishing womb to the baby.
- Exercises (Walking and Swimming)
The main reason for stress is a physical limitation or physical ailments during pregnancy. Dr. Shivani highly recommends walking daily and if you can swim at ease, swimming is a good exercise to strengthen core muscles. Gentle daily walks and swimming build your stamina and endurance. The core muscles and the back are well strengthened to take the burden of increasing weight. Along with this, walking amidst nature or with someone you love is the biggest stress buster.
Read, learn and be well-aware. Plan your guard against possible changes and do not be caught off-guard. This means that you start being aware of yourself, your surroundings and all that is around you. This gives you a better idea as to what can happen next instead of anticipating or brooding over minor changes. Stay prepared to enjoy the little changes in you.
Over to You
Pregnancy is a beautiful phase where you cherish the little one inside. Let not stress or any external stimulus passes on to the baby and enjoy each second. Keep stress at bay and for any guidance or consultation regarding a healthy and stress-free pregnancy, get in touch with Dr. Shivani Bhutani, the best gynecologist and infertility expert at EVA Hospital, Punjab. She helps her patients have stress free pregnancy and enjoy the privilege of motherhood.