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HomeHealth & FitnessEffects of Maternal Stress on Fetal Development

Effects of Maternal Stress on Fetal Development

Pregnancy is a period of numerous changes, and it’s normal to feel anxious about them all. Your emotional life, physical self, and family dynamics are all evolving. Even while these shifts are likely to be for the better, they may cause you some unexpected anxiety. 

High-stress levels, particularly if they are sustained over time, have been linked to the onset of health problems like high blood pressure and heart disease. Stress during pregnancy can raise a woman’s risk of having a premature baby (one who is born earlier than 37 weeks of pregnancy) or a baby who is born with a low birth weight. 

What causes stress?

There are a variety of factors that might contribute to a woman’s experience of stress, but the following are some of the more typical ones during pregnancy:

  1. You might be experiencing some of the discomforts that are associated with pregnancy, such as morning sickness, constipation, feeling fatigued all the time, or having a backache.
  2. Your hormone levels are fluctuating, which may lead you to experience shifts in mood. Swings in one’s mood can make it more difficult to cope with stress.
  3. You might be concerned about what to anticipate during the labor and delivery process, as well as how to properly care for your new baby. If you have a career, you may need to organize your work responsibilities and get your team ready before you go on maternity leave.
  4. You might be concerned about the effects of the food and drink you consume and how you feel about your unborn child.

What types of stress?

There are certain benefits to stress as well. A good amount of stress can really serve as motivation to try something new. Common sources of stress during pregnancy, such as job obligations, likely don’t exacerbate pregnancy issues.

Serious stress during pregnancy, however, has been linked to an increased risk of complications like early birth. Pregnant mothers who are under significant stress are still able to have healthy kids. But if you’re experiencing stress like this, you should consult a doctor:

  • Negative life events:  Events like divorce, significant illness or death in the family, or the loss of a job or home might be examples of unfavorable life experiences.
  • Catastrophic events: Natural disasters, such as earthquakes and hurricanes, or man-made catastrophes, such as terrorist attacks, are examples of catastrophes.
  • Long-lasting stress: Financial difficulties, abuse, homelessness, and major health issues are all potential sources of this form of stress.
  • Depression or anxiety: A medical condition known as depression can lead to feelings of despair as well as a loss of interest in activities that were previously enjoyable. It has the potential to influence how you think, feel, and behave, as well as disrupt your day-to-day activities. Anxiety refers to a state of mind characterized by apprehension or concern about the future. Both of these problems can make it difficult for you to take care of yourself as well as your child.
  • Neighborhood stress: Living in an area where there is a high rate of unemployment and crime can be stressful for some women.
  • Pregnancy-related stress: The experience of pregnancy can cause significant anxiety for some women. They might be concerned about the possibility of miscarriage, the well-being of their child, how they will handle the labor and delivery process, or the responsibility of becoming a parent. If you are experiencing any symptoms, you should discuss them with your primary care physician.

Stress caused Maternal Issues

The consequences of stress during pregnancy are not totally understood by us at this time. However, certain hormones that are released in response to stress may be a contributing factor in the development of certain pregnancy problems. 

Stress that is severe or continues for an extended period of time may have an adverse effect on the immune system, which guards against infection. This may increase the likelihood of the woman developing an infection of the uterus. This particular sort of infection has been linked to premature babies.

Other ways that stress can create issues during pregnancy include the following:

  1. Stress can make normal pregnancy discomforts, such as difficulty sleeping, body aches, and morning sickness, feel considerably worse than they already do.
  2. It’s possible that you’re having issues with your eating, such as not eating enough or eating too much. You run the risk of being underweight as a result of this, or of gaining too much weight throughout your pregnancy. Additionally, it can raise your chances of developing gestational diabetes and going into premature labor.
  3. Pregnancy-related hypertension has been linked to emotional and mental stress. This increases your chances of developing preeclampsia, a dangerous kind of hypertension, of giving birth prematurely, and of having a baby with low birth weight.
  4. It’s possible that stress could alter your reaction time. As a means of relieving stress, some women turn to harmful behaviors such as smoking, drinking, or using illicit drugs.

How can you reduce stress?

To help you relax, consider these options:

  1. It’s essential to keep in mind that the pregnancy symptoms you’re experiencing will eventually go away. Inquire with your doctor about treatment options for your discomfort.
  2. To help cope with stress, you can take the ashwagandha supplement, a potent plant extract. One of the many advantages of ashwagandha is that it can aid with stress management due to its adaptogenic properties. Ashwagandha is one of a group of supplements known as adaptogens, which have been shown to reduce levels of the so-called “stress hormone” cortisol and thereby Ashwagandha minimize stress on the body. Ashwagandha’s stress relief and anti-inflammatory capabilities are only one of several ways they can help reduce stress. Ashwagandha’s adverse side effects include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. 
  3. Keep your body in good shape. Get lots of rest and exercise to improve your health. Stress during pregnancy can be reduced with regular exercise, which also helps to alleviate some of the more prevalent physical complaints.
  4. You might try yoga for pregnant women or meditation to help you unwind. They will assist you in calming your nerves and getting ready for the birthing process.
  5. If you want to be prepared for labor and delivery, it’s a good idea to take a childbirth education class. Put into practice the techniques for deep breathing and relaxation you’ve been taught.
  6. If you have a job, preparation ahead of time will benefit both you and your employer throughout your absence. It’s important to take advantage of any time off you have in order to give yourself some much-needed downtime.
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Disclaimer: The information in this article is provided for general education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. It is not intended to be and does not constitute financial, legal, tax or any other advice specific to you the user or anyone else. TurtleVerse does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information and shall not be held responsible for any action taken based on the published information.

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