It’s natural to feel stressed about a pregnancy. There is a seemingly endless list of things to research ahead of the birth: what vitamins and nutrients you need while carrying, the foods to avoid, what symptoms to look out for, etc.
However, can stress impact a pregnancy? In short, yes, it can. While stress during pregnancy is normal and natural, some types of stress can cause a risk of complications.
What Can Cause Stress in Pregnancy?
There are plenty of reasons to be stressed in your pregnancy. These include:
- The ideal vitamins and nutrients for your pregnancy
- What foods to avoid while pregnant
- Certain symptoms to look out for while pregnant
- Fear of pregnancy loss
- Fear of labor and delivery complications
- Stress over common side-effects to pregnancy, like nausea
- Taking care of a baby
- The financial stress of a baby.
- And, so much more!
However natural these stresses might be, there always is potential for these stresses to turn into chronic ones. And, certain situations can cause significant stress to your body, as these can increase your chances of complications around birth, due to an increase in stress hormones and your body’s reaction to the stress.
How Can Stress Affect Pregnancy?
Stress can impact your body in a variety of ways, and this is especially true when pregnant. For example, you’re more liable to preeclampsia if you have high blood pressure before falling pregnant and suffer from chronic stress during pregnancy.
This research shows that if you already have high blood pressure prior to being pregnant, significant stress can affect the likelihood of you developing this condition. Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication that further affects your blood pressure which potentially can cause premature delivery.
Another outcome from chronic stress during pregnancy is a potential miscarriage. There is research to support stress during pregnancy with an increased risk of miscarriage, and there’s further evidence to support workplace stress being linked to the risk of miscarriage.
If you have a particularly stressful job or work in a position that requires a night shift, please talk to your employer about making necessary changes while pregnant.
How Do I Handle Stress While Pregnant?
It’s important that while pregnant you handle your stress effectively. This isn’t just to benefit you, but also your baby, too. Some of the ways to handle your stress include:
- Talk with someone you trust about what you’re going through. We recommend either a friend or loved one, or a therapist or medical professional.
- Be mindful. Be aware of your thoughts and practice meditation to reduce stress.
- Keep a healthy routine. Eat the right foods to nourish your body and try to remain as active as possible while pregnant - an outside walk will do wonders for your mind.
- Slow it down. Your normal routine can wait, so if you need a day or two to practice self-care, then do it!
- Plan out your pregnancy. It never hurts to be prepared when it comes to the later days of your pregnancy and in the lead-up to the birth.
- Measure your stress levels using the Reflect Orb. It uses biofeedback to measure your physiological signals and reflect them back to you, helping you learn how to control your daily stress, which will help you while pregnant.
Pregnancy is a joyous time in your life. But, it’s not without stress! There are plenty of normal and natural things to worry about. However, chronic stress can severely impact your pregnancy, so it’s important to try and manage your mental health while pregnant.