Some degree of anxiety and stress during pregnancy is fairly normal, just as it is during other times of life. However, if the stress is continuous and unrelenting, its effects on you and your baby could be lasting.
When you are under stress, your body goes into a ‘fight / flight’ mode, triggering a surge of cortisol and other stress hormones.
Inflammation has been associated with poor pregnancy health and developmental problems in babies. Chronic stressors and poor coping skills have been linked to low birth weight and premature delivery.
Effects Of Stress On Baby During Pregnancy
Do not get too anxious or paranoid; even if you are stressed you will go on to have a healthy baby. It is perfectly normal to be stressed about the changes that are happening in your life.
However, if the stress is chronic and for long duration, you should seek help. Unremitting, high levels of stress can affect the baby, given that, cortisol can cross over the placenta and affect the baby’s emotional development. Chronic stress can cause subtle changes in the brain development that could result in behavioral issues as the baby grows.
How To Deal With Emotional Stress During Pregnancy?
- First and foremost, you need to relax. Talk to and sing to your unborn child. From 25 weeks on wards, your baby will hear you.
- If you’re anxious about your baby’s well being talk to your OB/GYN. Talk to your partner too. Discussing things make you both feel better.
- Seek out other mums-to-be; they will also be able to help you deal with your anxieties better.
- Eat well; make sure, you have a balanced diet with all the essential components of food. If necessary, talk to your health care provider and start supplements as well. Ensure that you have ample oily fish, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, pilchards and trout; they helps battle depression and stress.
- Make sure that you stay well hydrated. Keep track of how much water you’re drinking, given that, dehydration can affect your mood. Have 2 litres of water per day.
- Exercising at least thrice a week is recommended; however, do confer with your OB/GYN before embarking on an exercise program. You could try Yoga, Pranayama or Swimming. All these help combat worry and stress effectively.
- Massage is a fantastic way to de-stress. Schedule yourself for massage sessions. Ensure that you get a licensed well experienced masseuse. You could also integrate aromatherapy in to your session; however, make sure that you use only those essential oils which are safe during pregnancy.
- You could also try meditation and positive visualization techniques. These techniques help you focus your mind on one thing, and help cope up very well with emotional turmoil. Meditation decreases cortisol levels. Sit in a quiet place and close your eyes. Focus on your breath. Breathe in slowly through your nose, relax your muscles and try to de-clutter and still your mind.
- Reflexology is used extensively too to fight stress; it makes use of pressure points on your feet to treat you. Ensure that you work with a skilled and experienced therapist.