How Stress Affects

Topic: How Stress Affects Your Baby in Pregnancy

Stress is a fact of life. Pregnancy itself has the ability to cause a fair amount of stress, even when everything is just right. While ordinary stresses are not an issue, significant long term stress can create problems during pregnancy.

Negative Impacts of Stress

Stress can do much more than simply make you anxious. Over time, unmanaged stress can:

  • Decrease your ability to sleep restfully
  • Decrease your ability to eat enough nutritious food throughout your pregnancy
  • Lead to high blood pressure, which is particularly dangerous during pregnancy
  • Lead to headaches and other physical issues which can make pregnancy more difficult
  • Lead to premature birth, which is associated with a number of health and developmental issues

The better you are able to avoid stress, and manage it effectively when it does arise, the better you’ll be able to avoid the physical problems that could injure your baby.

The Negative Impacts of Cortisol

Researchers have recently figured out that the stress hormone cortisol is found in measurable amounts as early as the seventeenth week of gestation. They also measured the amounts of cortisol in the mother’s blood. When the levels of cortisol were higher in the mother, they were also higher in the amniotic fluid levels.

While in general, cortisol helps a body deal with the stressful situation appropriately, long-term exposure for a fetus is unknown. We do know that long-term exposure in adults leads to illness, depression, and exhaustion, to name a few. In turn, this leads to poor health including high blood pressure, heart disease, and ulcers.

Topic Discussed: How Stress Affects Your Baby in Pregnancy

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