LivingHow stress affects the mother during pregnancy

How stress affects the mother during pregnancy

It is known that stress during pregnancy directly affects the baby, and can manifest itself through low birth weight, in their brain development, childhood asthma), but what about us? Of course, stress takes its toll on us , and we are not only referring to that mental state that leads us to feel overwhelmed and exhausted, but also to physiological consequences that can appear even after giving birth .

What kind of stress am I suffering from?

With the pace of life we lead, it is almost impossible not to suffer from stress. If we add to that the implications that pregnancy can have at the work level, or even the problems that can occur in pregnancy, they can even lead us not to enjoy it. That is why we must bear in mind that stress at this time acts like a snowball : the greater the stress, the greater the possibility of suffering complications, and so on.

  • Work stress : although some studies indicate that continuing with the work routine during pregnancy is generally beneficial to us, it is true that there are some characteristics that can affect our stress levels, such as long working hours, a not very relaxed environment (with noise , phones ringing at all hours, an uncomfortable temperature), low reward, or little or no social support. In addition, when we are pregnant we begin to notice that conciliation is a problem when we have to do a lot of tests, due to the childbirth preparation classes, because we must take some leave or directly we must rest at home.

  • Emotional stress: it can appear due to a specific event, due to the accumulation of problems or simply because we are predisposed to it. When we are suffering from this type of stress, it is common to have problems concentrating, feel anxiety, feel unmotivated or have drastic mood swings.

  • Stress due to a bad previous experience : if it has been difficult for you to get pregnant, if you have suffered a previous loss or a complicated pregnancy, it is also normal to feel stress. Those fears that invade us women, we face a responsibility as great as it is to lead a life within, they can increase over time and lead us to a situation that requires professional help.
  • Post-traumatic stress : the main cause of this type of stress is the fear that we may feel of childbirth, or even deterioration in our condition or that of our baby.

How does stress affect us women during pregnancy?

Stress affects all of us, but during pregnancy this can be more serious because it can directly affect our health and that of the baby . In the short term, it can cause insomnia, fatigue, increased blood pressure, anxiety, eating disorders and both headaches and muscle aches.

In the long term, when stress becomes chronic, the picture can be complicated, since it can decrease our resistance to infectious diseases (the brain is connected to the intestine, and secreting higher levels of cortisol can modify our intestinal microbiota), depression and it can even lead to premature births or miscarriages.

On a mental level, suffering stress in our day to day is the breeding ground for suffering from more serious pathologies such as anxiety, depression, and even postpartum depression.

How can we combat stress during pregnancy?

It is important to note that stress is not generated by a particular event. This refers more to the sensations that it generates in us and the way we deal with them , so the best path to take is to prepare ourselves physically and psychologically for the physical and psychological changes that we are going to have.

  • Organize your schedule : when we are pregnant it is normal to feel an urgent need to leave “finished tasks” (an example of this is the famous syndrome of the nest), but you do not have to eliminate the earrings from your list as quickly as possible, but respecting the rhythm that the body allows you.
  • Dedicate exclusive moments to taking care of yourself : feeling that we are taking care of ourselves can help reduce the pressure of day to day, that is why it is a healthy habit that we must ensure to maintain after delivery.
  • Sleep at least eight hours a day : rest is essential to recover from the daily hustle and bustle and more if we are pregnant. Try to disconnect with some relaxing activity before going to bed and try to make it as comfortable as possible (for example, with a cushion for pregnant women).
  • Do sports : practicing sports increases the production of endorphins, which generates a greater feeling of well-being, and also helps us better assimilate the physical changes that we experience during pregnancy. Going for a walk, yoga, or swimming can be great options.
  • Practice mindfulness : this relaxation technique can help us improve our emotional state through breathing exercises and yoga. It is a great option to work on acceptance , a very useful tool when managing any type of situation we face.
  • Delegate : we must accept that we cannot control everything and that this will become more acute when the baby is born. Both at work and at home, when we become mothers, it is healthy to delegate responsibilities and accept that other people (and especially the father) can do things as well as ourselves .
  • Talk to a professional : sometimes stress can reach such high levels that we may require the help of a professional. It is important to break down taboos about our mental health and going to therapy is one of them, because many times we can better handle any situation when we have other points of view different from ours before us.

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