The manifestations of emotional stress during pregnancy can have repercussions on the physical, psychological and social levels.
According to recent surveys, up to 80% of expectant mothers have symptoms of stress during pregnancy. While it is true that each pregnancy is different, several common causes can trigger stress in pregnant women.
Pregnancy can be stressful at times. Waiting for and receiving the results of antenatal examinations, for example, might be stressful. If you’ve had fertility treatment or had a past miscarriage or baby’s death, pregnancy can be physically and emotionally taxing for you and your family. Pregnancy can also bring about a slew of physical and emotional changes. Because you may have had less time to prepare for these changes if your pregnancy was unplanned, the changes of pregnancy might be much more distressing. You may also be overwhelmed by information, advice, and tales from family, friends, and others.
Causes that can generate stress
The new model of motherhood drives the desire to make everything perfect; you have children later and often only one, so there is a certain pressure to make everything work out as if you only had one chance. In this sense, there is an excessive concern for the development of the fetus. Although amniocentesis at the end of the first third of pregnancy is very emotionally stressful, this concern can continue throughout the pregnancy, leaving the woman constantly worried about the baby’s health. This feeling is increased when it comes to a risky pregnancy. Consult a gynecologist from Islamabad to clear your doubts before it starts taking everything out of you with anxiety and stress.
On the other hand, other personal factors can generate stress in pregnant women, such as financial or personal problems. During pregnancy, some couples find opposing views on raising their child, which can trigger stress peaks.
Finally, pregnant women have to modify many of their habits, which can generate stress, for example, quitting smoking or stopping some medication during pregnancy.
With the many changes your body goes through during the nine months of pregnancy, the emotional upheaval that comes with those changes – including pregnancy hormones that affect your mood and make it harder to deal with stress – all the preparations needed for the baby’s arrival, and the worry about labor and delivery, it’s not surprising that you feel a little stressed.
Stress is normal during pregnancy and cannot be avoided. Moreover, not all stress is harmful, and some stress can even be beneficial, as it helps you get through difficult moments and keeps you on your toes, motivating you to take the best possible care of yourself and your baby.
Symptoms of stress in a pregnant woman
- Lack or excess of appetite
- Sudden sadness or anger
- Concentration problems
- Lack of motivation
Effects on pregnancy
The body secretes high hormones in prolonged stress situations, especially catecholamines (adrenaline and norepinephrine) and cortisol.
The excessive duration of these states can cause alterations in the immune system, memory, blood pressure, glucose, etc. It can also influence other hormones, such as growth hormones or prolactin.
All this can generate consequences during pregnancy, which are fundamental:
- Premature delivery (before the 35th week).
- Low birth weight.
- Some studies warn about other repercussions on the fetus. However, there is no consensus, or it is not conclusive: lower levels of cognitive development, more delayed motor development, respiratory diseases, dermatological affectations, increased risk of spontaneous abortion, emotional problems, and behavior in the baby such as attention deficit or hyperactivity …
- Somatizations (headaches, dermatological problems, etc.)
- Repetitive negative thoughts
Tips for regulating emotional stress
It is tough to keep yourself away from emotional stressors at all times and prevent them from affecting you. However, there are relaxation tips and techniques that help relieve stress during pregnancy.
Emotional reactions are not the same in all women, nor does emotional stress affect them equally. What is relevant is how the mother perceives the stressful situation, not the intensity of the event itself.
- Make a change of focus in your worries, contemplate new possibilities. As the saying goes: “it all depends on the glass you look at.”
- Learn about motherhood: pregnancy, childbirth, educational topics … it will help you to be better positioned.
- Strengthen your ties: Get social, spend time with other people fostering relationships of trust. Share your concerns and seek help if necessary.
- Set limits to your self-demand. Remember that the perfect mother does not exist. Set realistic expectations.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle: rest as much as possible, eat balanced meals, practice physical exercise according to medical recommendations, take things easy, keep regular hours, eliminate coffee, alcohol, tobacco…
- Go to maternity preparation classes. They will help reduce labor and postpartum stress.
- Find time for yourself and do things that are satisfying to you. A hot bath, a walk, a movie, reading…
- Train new techniques: Meditation, relaxation, music therapy, mindfulness, yoga, etc., they can be of great help.
- Learn to delegate. You don’t have to take care of absolutely everything.
- Create a network: connect with other future moms before delivery (online groups, prepartum classes, friends/family) and after (park, nursery school). Sharing concerns with people who go through similar situations can enrich your own experience.
- Ask for help in what you feel you do not arrive.
- Massage. is one of the best ways of relaxation and a great way to relieve emotional stress in pregnancy. There are many relaxing massages suitable for pregnant women but consult a doctor first. He will indicate the period of gestation allowed for massage and how your partner can help you with this.
- Meditation Research shows that meditation reduces levels of the emotional stress hormone cortisol. You can look for meditation classes, yoga, or even dedicate a few minutes of your time to practice it at home, as there are videos that teach different concentration and breath control techniques.
- Exercise. Thirty minutes of light or moderate exercise a day, such as walking, also helps keep your cortisol levels and anxiety in check. Before starting your workout routine, however, it is essential to consult a doctor or specialist.
- Food. Another simple example of how to relieve emotional stress in pregnancy is food. In addition to helping to reduce emotional stress levels, healthy meals keep the health of mother and baby in check.
- Rest. Sleepless nights and lack of time for regular rest increase the level of emotional stress and irritability. So, no matter how hectic your routine, allow yourself moments of neglect.
Suppose you cannot control anxiety and do not know other ways to relieve emotional stress during pregnancy. See a general practitioner. He will learn how to evaluate your case and, if necessary, can refer a specialist to prescribe the best treatment for you.
Remember that taking medication on your own is always a bad idea, especially if you are pregnant. Only the doctor can indicate the most appropriate medicines that do not put the baby at risk.
At Marham, we have closeness, professionalism, personalized attention, quality, safety, humanity, and the latest technological advances to offer you the gynecologist in Karachi in terms of emotional stress. We offer a personalized follow-up of each pregnancy using all the necessary diagnostic and therapeutic means to achieve good fetal and maternal control and optimal perinatal results.