Stress and Pregnancy: The Effects of Stress During Pregnancy

Crying Lady Pregnancy

There are some pregnant women who suffer from minor issues during pregnancy, such as getting irritated and feeling blue over very trivial matters.

Although most pregnant women seem to be happy, there are some who suffer from anxiety and stress and wonder if that is normal.

Why would a pregnant woman feel stressed when carrying a lovely baby should be an exciting experience?

In this article, we will talk about different stress scenarios for pregnant women, and introduce countermeasures to solve and cope with stress to have happy and healthy babies.

Stress During Pregnancy

Many women who are starting their pregnancy journey usually feel anxious and scared because it is a big event in their lives. In this section, we provide you with some information about the possible stress factors associated with pregnancy. 

Although stress during pregnancy is inevitable, too much stress can have a negative impact on the baby.

Not only does stress pose a risk of impending premature birth and pregnancy hypertension, but it has also been reported that the children of mothers who had high levels of anxiety and stress during pregnancy are more likely to be emotionally unstable.

Anxiety About Pregnancy and Childbirth – Morning Sickness and Miscarriage

A woman’s body changes greatly when it gets pregnant. Aside from your stomach getting bigger, the whole body continues to change toward childbirth.

Morning sickness feeling nauseous the whole day can be very stressful. Besides nausea, the symptoms vary depending on the person, such as an increase in your sensitivity to smell. You have to suffer the discomfort until the morning is over.

I am also wondering about premature birth, whether or not I will give birth safely or have a healthy baby is always on top of my mind.

 It is no exaggeration to say that pregnant women are constantly stressed until the day they give birth.

Internal Causes Of Stress During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a very short time in our lives. During this precious time, it is best to spend it peacefully and enjoy the growth of your baby if you can.

However, there are many mothers who feel stressed during pregnancy, and many of them cannot control their emotions well and end up complaining to the people around them.

Frustration during pregnancy is unavoidable. However, it is inevitable to feel frustrated during pregnancy because everyone is in a state of stress during pregnancy for the following reasons. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

Changes In Body Shape, Physical Condition, Preference 

When you become pregnant, your stomach gets bigger and your weight will naturally increase. For women who care about their weight and shape, they may feel stressed about their body shape and get broken over the obvious change in shape as the number of gestational weeks progresses.

Also, when you become pregnant, the nipple darkens and the areola becomes large and prominent. It is a normal change that the hormonal balance has influenced, but there are many women who are not ready for these changes that are normal, yet out of their control. Many feel uneasy as if their own familiar body were changing to become another person’s body.

Changes in nipples will return to their original nature after birth, and body shape and weight will also require effort but it is possible to return to the original form or bring it closer.

 

Changes in Hormonal Balance

When a woman becomes pregnant, the balance of female hormones in her body changes dramatically. There are two types of female hormones, estrogen, and progesterone, and a woman’s regular sexual cycle is caused by changes in the balance of secretion of both.

Estrogen is a hormone that stimulates the maturation of eggs, the growth of the endometrium, and ovulation, and is produced in large amounts during the two weeks between the start of menstruation and ovulation. Progesterone helps to mature the endometrium to a state suitable for implantation and is secreted in greater amounts after ovulation and before menstruation.

If implantation does not occur, the amount of progesterone secreted decreases drastically and the mature endometrium peels off, resulting in menstruation. On the other hand, if implantation occurs (i.e., pregnancy occurs), both estrogen and progesterone secretion increase dramatically in order to maintain the pregnancy.

However, it is believed that progesterone suppresses the secretion of a brain transmitter called serotonin, which calms the mind. Therefore, during pregnancy, when progesterone is secreted in large amounts, even the slightest thing can cause irritation.

Lack of sleep

During pregnancy, you may suffer from difficulty falling asleep or sleeping well. In the early stages of pregnancy, you may have trouble sleeping due to morning sickness and other health problems. From the middle of pregnancy onward, you may wake up several times during the night due to fetal movements and frequent urination.

Chronic sleep deprivation not only causes a great deal of stress but also disturbs the balance of the autonomic nervous system. As a result, you will often feel depressed over small things, or conversely, irritated over things that would not normally bother you.

You should also avoid inappropriate sleeping positions during pregnancy, not only to have a good night’s sleep, but also to provide your baby a nice position to rest.

This can lead to a vicious cycle of stress, which further disturbs the autonomic nerve balance.

External Causes Of Stress During Pregnancy

Whether you are pregnant for the first time or for the second or subsequent time, you are bound to feel some anxiety or worry about childbirth and childcare.

According to a survey of 890 pregnant women conducted by the Women’s Labor Association in 2006, the causes and degree of stress differed greatly depending on whether they were working or not during pregnancy.

82.1% of pregnant women who were working answered that they were stressed about their pregnancy, while only 71.4% of pregnant women who were housewives answered the same.

Stress From Work

With the number of dual-earner households now exceeding half, the number of women who work during pregnancy is increasing. The most common cause of stress for these pregnant women is anxiety about returning to work after maternity leave and balancing work with child-rearing.

Financial concerns during maternity leave and concern for co-workers also ranked high, with more than 80% of respondents feeling stressed by the anxiety that comes with working.

In addition, 60-70% of pregnant women feel anxiety about morning sickness and other health problems, childbirth, and childcare, and they are simultaneously dealing with anxiety related to work and stress related to pregnancy and childbirth itself.

Read more about the tips on how to work while you’re pregnant.

Anxiety About Child-rearing In The Future

Even if you give birth safely and have a healthy baby, it is also stressful to worry about your nurturing skills.

There may be a tendency to feel strongly about the future, as your child develops.

It is pointless to get anxious about work, health, age, and the economic situation. No matter how worried we get right now, these problems cannot be solved immediately. 

Let’s spend all the time now focusing on the things within our means that can change our future.

Housewife Duties

Pregnant women who do not work are more likely to feel stressed by anxiety and worries related to pregnancy and childbirth itself because they do not have work-related stress.

In particular, as many as 80% of mothers feel stressed about “anxiety about morning sickness and other physical changes,” and anxiety about childbirth and childcare, as well as about the condition of their babies, is also greater than that of pregnant women who are working.

Stress On Partners Is A Common Factor

It can be observed that one of the most common stresses during pregnancy is stress for the husbands or partners.

In a research survey of 573 pregnant women, the most common cause of stress was reported to be the husband.

Many husbands are coping with pregnancy by avoiding the changes and spending more time outside the home and at work. This makes the woman feel sadder and blames the physical changes of her pregnant body.

There are also women who find their partners physiologically unacceptable and become irritated by their very existence.

Unlike women, males have more difficulty in embracing the changes during pregnancy. However, communication is the key. Do not give up and create opportunities for discussion. Find time to talk to your husband and do not turn the discussion into a lecture.

 

 

For husbands right there, here’s a guide on how to deal with a pregnant wife.

The Effect Of Stress On Pregnant Women And The Fetus

If you feel uneasy or overly stressed during your pregnancy, you need to change your mindset right now. Here are the possible effects of stress on your pregnancy and on your child. Read carefully!

Impact On The Pregnant Mother

For the moment, the influence of stress on the mother is not clearly understood. However, the current focus is the possibility of pregnancy hypertension syndrome.

Because stress acts to contract blood vessels, it becomes a factor that raises the blood pressure, and causes the risk of having pregnancy hypertension syndrome.

Pregnancy hypertension syndrome is hypertension during pregnancy, or symptoms with hypertension and proteinuria. Despite the fact that the mother may not feel the symptoms of high blood pressure, in severe cases, there is often a danger to the mother’s body and fetus.

Effect on the fetus 

Stress can have numerous negative effects on babies.

  • Low body weight
  • Premature labor, premature birth
  • Nutritional deficiency, insufficient growth
  • Mental illness, emotional instability, etc.

It is said that the risks mentioned above happen because the baby in the stomach also feels the stress that mother is experiencing. These problems do not always occur as they are only possibilities. However it is best to keep them in mind and try to avoid stressing your baby.

There is no need to feel worried and uneasy beyond necessity. Relax and savor the experience.

Your Guide to Cope with Stress During Pregnancy!

Even though it is inevitable that you will feel stressed during pregnancy, you want to welcome your baby with a sense of calm if possible. If you have an older child, it is possible that emotional development could be affected if the mother is constantly stressed and irritable.

While it is impossible to completely prevent stress caused by hormonal imbalance and poor health during pregnancy, it is possible to reduce the chances of feeling stressed by eliminating some of the causes that contribute to stress.

Here is a simple guide that you can follow for you to cope with your stress. 

It Is Important For Pregnant Women Who Are Working Not To “Overthink”

When you are working, it is easy to not only have anxiety about pregnancy and childbirth, but also work-related stress such as anxiety about returning to work. The more sincere and responsible you are, the more work-related stress you are likely to experience.

Of course, it is important that you do not want to burden your workplace with your pregnancy and childbirth. However, trying to do everything perfectly can lead to a great deal of stress.

Many women are worried about life after maternity leave, but it is not a good idea to start thinking about it too much during pregnancy. Don’t think too much about your life afterward while you are pregnant, but think about giving birth safely first, while creating an environment where you can balance work and childcare with your partner and family.

Talk To The Baby

The best way to relieve stress during pregnancy is to talk to your baby.

For example, you can share what you are seeing and doing. “Today is nice weather, let’s go for a walk!

When talking to the baby, talk only about good things and use gentle words. Do not complain to your baby about your frustrations.

Sleep And Rest Your Body

During pregnancy, you often feel sleepy due to hormonal imbalance.

Forcing yourself to stay awake only increases your stress. So allow yourself to sleep and relax. If you can’t sleep, you will be able to rest your mind and body well by just lying down.

Do Light Exercise Such As Yoga

Light exercise will allow you to refresh your body and lead to stress dissipation. After entering the stable period of pregnancy, walking and maternity yoga are recommended.

 It is also good to preview places to have fun with your baby after childbirth and window shopping for baby goods.

Extend Yourself For Socialization

Talking to people will make you feel better. Pregnancy tends to be an overwhelming experience because of the idea and the pressure that you should pay more attention to your body. Let it be an enjoyable experience by making conversations with friends and family.

If you cannot find anyone to talk to, you can participate in events such as maternity seminars and mother classes. You may be able to make many friends.

 

 

 

Thoughts on Balancing Childcare and Work

Pregnant women who are full-time housewives should try to “go out.”

Stay-at-home moms tend to be more anxious about the changes in their health and the baby’s condition during pregnancy and childbirth than pregnant women who continue to work. This is probably because they spend more time thinking about pregnancy and childbirth.

In today’s nuclear family, there are many people who have no one to talk to. Spending time in such an environment makes it easier for them to feel stressed because they are unable to resolve their various anxieties.

It is also a good idea to get away from pregnancy and childbirth by going shopping on days when you are feeling well. You tend to stay indoors during pregnancy, but it is recommended that you go out once in a while for a change of scenery.

Beware Of Excessive Irritability And Depression

If you are experiencing excessive irritability and depression, you may be suffering from a mental illness such as depression or anxiety. These illnesses are said to be more prominent in 7-20% of pregnancies.

Of course, it is natural to be stressed during pregnancy, so there is no need to worry too much about a few things. However, when you are in a stressful situation, it is often difficult for you to determine whether the stress you are under is a “little” or whether it is enough to cause your own illness or have a negative impact on the baby.

It is not possible to draw a clear line between stress and danger, but if you are concerned about the effects of stress, please do not hesitate to consult with your obstetrician or gynecologist.

Summing It All Up

How did you find our article about pregnant women’s stress and how to deal with it?

Stress is constant and sometimes it may be difficult to eliminate it completely. Make sure that you know how to deal with stress and refer to the countermeasures that we have suggested so that you can spend your pregnancy days as pleasant and calm as possible for you and your baby’s health.

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