When you are building a baby inside your body, you go through a lot of changes. And you worry about everything. How much weight should you be gaining? Is it OK to exercise? Is my morning sickness normal? Why am I craving onions? It’s normal to ask yourself all these questions when you are getting ready to bring a new person into the world.
Stress During Pregnancy
You may feel stressed, tired, and overwhelmed. While some stress during pregnancy is normal, too much can have lasting adverse effects on you and your baby. When you are stressed, your body switches to “fight or flight” mode. It floods your system with cortisol and other stress hormones. They send fuel to your muscles, and your heart starts to pump faster.
Minor stress can be easy to handle, but if your stress doesn’t let up, it can be damaging. Constant stress can change your body’s stress management system and cause it to trigger an inflammatory response. Stress has been linked to health problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
Maternal Stress Effects on Baby’s Brain
Chronic stress and the inflammation it triggers can increase the risk of mental illness or brain development issues in the baby as well as behavior issues. Recent research has further explored the link between inflammation caused by stress and its effect on the baby’s developing brain.
While doctors and researchers haven’t yet found out exactly why stress affects pregnancy, it’s essential to understand that chronic stress can affect your child. Finding ways to relax and developing coping methods to deal with stress is paramount to reducing unhealthy stress.
How to Manage Stress During Pregnancy
Feeling overwhelmed and stressed is not unusual during pregnancy. These methods below can help you manage your stress while you are pregnant.
Sing a Song: You don’t have to sing out loud, you can hum a tune in your head. Music helps lower cortisol levels.
Relax: Light a scented candle and take a warm bath to relax. Drink a cup of tea. Get in bed with a good book. You’ll have very little time for these activities when the baby is born, so take advantage of the time you have now.
A Note from GR8NESS
Keep in mind that some stress is normal, and you don’t have to feel guilty for feeling it. If you are exposed to long-term stress, speak with a therapist who can help you develop ways to handle stress better. A secure bond between you and your baby after birth can help neutralize the adverse effects of stress during pregnancy.