Stress can lead to severe complications during pregnancy?

July 05, 2019
Tips to reduce stress during pregnancy

Pregnancy for women is like welcoming many changes through her body, mind and soul. It is that phase of a women’s life where she undergoes a lot of stress which would later hamper on her health like disturbed sleep, loss of appetite, headaches and overeating. Stress which is carried for a long time would resulting in high blood pressure and heart disease.

A baby’s brain development would be affected if a pregnant mother behaves anxiously or depressed many a times. Children born to these mothers are at a greater risk of anxiety, behavioural problems, obsessive compulsive disorder, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

Stress Affecting your foetus has become a common problem in today’s lifestyle. Regular pressure may put the baby at risk. But if stress becomes constant, the effects on you and your baby could be lasting. When you're stressed, your body goes into "fight or flight" mode, sending out a burst of cortisol and other stress hormones.  "A surprising finding was that mild to moderate stress during pregnancy had a compounding effect across generations. Thus, the effects of stress grew larger with each generation."

Post-natal pregnancy depression is what we all have heard of, but not many of them know that women suffer from depression during pregnancy too. This phase is known as Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which is a most serious type of stress, which negatively affects the baby’s growth. This disorder usually occurs when a woman would have experienced painful incidences in her life like the death of loved ones, abuse, serious road accident, violence, personal assault, work pressure etc. When women are going through such situations it would increase the chances of delivering a pre-mature or a low birth weight baby.

Why is stressed caused during pregnancy?

  • Mood swings are a major concern during stress. Hormones are fluctuating which is a major cause for your mood change.
  • Nausea, constipation, backache is some of the major discomforts of a pregnancy
  • For a working women, managing job responsibilities and home is a very major stress
  • For a working women, managing job responsibilities and home is a very major stress
  • Expectant mothers often are concerned about their older children as to how would they react to their baby or what if sibling rivalry develops between the two .

During pregnancy the stress on the brain sends the body on a crisis mode. This leads to changes in breathing, providing more oxygen available to the muscles. This leads to increase in the Blood sugar levels. This hampers the process of digestion and the body goes into an emergency mode. The most neglected aspect of obstetrics is the Mental health. It is essential that we regularly assess the pregnant mother and detect or help her out of the stress at the earliest. Our detection can help the pregnant woman and we will be helping the next generation too.

5 tips for carrying mothers to manage stress:

Here are some tips for carrying mothers to reduce stress and cope with pregnancy:

  • Pregnant women should start cutting down on unwanted chores and used those times to relax to avoid stress and mood swings
  • Pregnant women should start cutting down on unwanted chores and used those times to relax to avoid stress and mood swings
  • Rich foods containing minerals, vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids help in lifting up one’s mood.
  • Light physical activities like meditation, yoga and slow walk can help in lowering stress and helps the expectant mothers from pregnancy discomforts.
  • Gathering a good support system of friends and family is very essential at this stage for women to stay relaxed and stress free.

Author:

Dr. Jyothi Shenoy(Consultant Obstetrics & Gynaecology)

Columbia Asia Referral Hospital Yeshwanthpur