How Much Stress Is ‘Too Much’ During Pregnancy?

What can cause stress in pregnancy?

Finding out you’re pregnant can be stressful in and of itself for some women. You might think that you don’t have enough resources or that you’ve lost control of the situation. Unplanned pregnancies and pregnancies that follow painful pregnancies, births, or motherhood experiences, such as miscarriages or infant deaths, can both cause stress.

While awaiting the results of your antenatal tests and coping with the physical changes of pregnancy or a challenging pregnancy, it can be stressful.

Being a single parent or teenager and wondering how you’ll manage, or having relationship problems that could include family violence, can all contribute to stress at home.

Practical difficulties brought on by pregnancy include financial strains, moving and job changes.

Pregnancy stress can be increased by emotional issues like grief, past anxiety, depression, or other mental illnesses, as well as drug and alcohol abuse issues.

If more than one of the aforementioned occur to you at the same time, you might feel more stressed.

Medical Review PolicyAll What to Expect content that addresses health or safety is medically reviewed by a team of vetted health professionals. Our

We think you should always be aware of the information’s source. Learn more about our editorial and medical review policies.

If you’re like the majority of people today, you live a stressful life. Read on to find out what all that stress means for your pregnancy.

Even the most laid-back expectant mothers can experience stress during their pregnancy. Thankfully, if you’re only under regular, everyday stress, it won’t affect your pregnancy or the health of your unborn child. Thus, you need not worry about any potential stress that you may be experiencing.

But excessive long-term, severe stress can harm you, your pregnancy, and your unborn child. Here’s what you need to know about stress during pregnancy.

Many changes happen during the nine months of pregnancy. You shouldn’t be surprised if you feel a little stressed while pregnant given how pregnancy hormones affect your moods, how much preparation is required for the baby’s arrival, and how worried you are about labor and delivery.

The ongoing pandemic has also increased stress for most people, whether or not they are pregnant. (Be sure to discuss with your doctor the dangers of COVID-19 during pregnancy. ).

Stress during pregnancy is extremely common and expected. The good news is that stress is not always bad and can even be beneficial. It can support you during trying times and keep you alert so you’re motivated to take the best care of yourself and your unborn child.

Whether or not a woman is pregnant, stress causes physical and chemical changes in the body. The following are a few of the most typical signs of stress during pregnancy:

  • An increase in cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine levels, whether you’re aware of it or not
  • An increase in heart rate or heart palpitations
  • Headaches
  • Back pain
  • Tummy upset
  • Teeth grinding
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Overeating
  • A feeling of worry, frustration, anger or sadness
  • Loss of interest in being around other people
  • Excessive need to be around other people, or feeling scared to be alone
  • Although some stress is healthy and normal, excessive or unchecked stress can harm your health, your pregnancy, and your unborn child.

    When you are under a lot of stress, for instance, you might use unhealthy coping mechanisms like drinking alcohol, smoking, using drugs (like marijuana), or abusing food.

    Anxiety and/or depression are mental health conditions that can affect your pregnancy and general well-being. Excessive stress can also result in these conditions.

    High levels of stress can also make you more prone to illness and exacerbate any chronic conditions you may already have. Additionally, if your stress levels are high for an extended period of time, such as the duration of your pregnancy and beyond, it may result in high blood pressure and heart disease.

    An expectant mother who experiences high levels of stress over an extended period of time increases the risk that the unborn child will experience a mental or physical illness, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or cardiovascular disease. Stress is the feeling of always being on edge, having to take care of everything, and being unable to find a balance. The precise mechanism by which stress affects the unborn child is still not fully understood. Researchers from the University of Zurich have learned that physical stress to the mother can alter the metabolism in the placenta and affect the growth of the unborn child in collaboration with the University Hospital Zurich and the Max Planck Institute Munich.

    Pregnant women who experience prolonged stress situations are advised by psychologists to “seek support from a therapist to handle the stress better.” ” Stress during pregnancy cannot always be avoided, however. According to La Marca-Ghaemmaghami, “a secure bond between the mother and child after the birth can neutralize adverse effects of stress during pregnancy.”

    Materials provided by University of Zurich. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

    Using questionnaires for diagnosing chronic social overload, it was found that the results for prolonged stress are entirely different: “If the mother is stressed for a longer period of time, the CRH level in the amniotic fluid increases,” says Pearl La Marca-Ghaemmaghami, psychologist and program researcher. The fetus’s growth is accelerated by the increased stress hormone levels. As a result, the hormone’s ability to promote growth is confirmed, as has been seen in creatures like tadpoles: Tadpoles release CRH when their pond is about to dry out, which causes them to undergo metamorphosis. According to La Marca-Ghaemmaghami, “The corticotropin-releasing hormone CRH obviously plays a complex and dynamic role in the development of the human fetus, which needs to be better understood.”

    An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Zurich has demonstrated that when a mother is under stress for a longer period of time during pregnancy, the level of stress hormones in the amniotic fluid increases. However, it does not appear that short-term stress situations harm the fetus’ development.

    Dr. Catherine Monk: Prenatal Stress- How Much is Too Much?

    Leave a Comment