What Are the Effects of Stress During Pregnancy? Causes and Advice

Pregnancy Stress Fertility and Pregnancy

It is easy to experience various physical and mental problems during pregnancy, such as morning sickness in early pregnancy and changes in hormone balance. With these changes, you may get tired or get stressed during pregnancy.

Here is some advice on how to deal with stress during pregnancy and how to relieve it.

How Does Stress During Pregnancy Affect The Fetus?

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.

Why Do I Feel Stressed When Pregnant?

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 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.

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

Causes of Stress During Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be a stressful time, but it can also be compounded by a number of anxieties and worries that contribute to stress.

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.

Causes of Stress in Pregnant Women Who 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.

Causes of stress in pregnant women who are housewives

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

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

It seems that the lack of understanding and cooperation of the partner towards the pregnancy often causes stress, but since men are not carrying the baby in their bellies, it may be understandable that they do not really understand the hardships of pregnant women.

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

In such cases, try to get away from your partner, even if it is only for a moment, by making time to be alone in the house or leaving the housework to someone else and going out. You will feel refreshed and your frustration will subside somewhat.

How to Deal 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.

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.

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.

Conclusion

It’s normal to feel stressed during pregnancy, therefore you need to figure out the causes and how to deal with them. If you need some space or help from your partner, talk about it openly to solve the issues.

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