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Will Stress during Pregnancy Affect your Baby?

Will Stress during Pregnancy Affect your Baby?

Stress is a major cause of disease in humans but it becomes more detrimental in women who are pregnant. It has severe deleterious consequences for both mother and the child.

High levels of stress in pregnancy may hurt your baby later in life. Certain studies show that high levels of stress in pregnancy may cause problems during childhood, like having trouble paying attention or being afraid. Stress may also affect your baby's brain development or immune system.

Pregnancy is a time of many changes. Your body, your emotions and the life of your family are changing. Feeling stressed is common during pregnancy. But too much stress can make you uncomfortable. Stress can make you have trouble sleeping, have headaches, lose your appetite or overeat.

When you're pregnant, prolonged stress can increase the chances of having a premature baby (born before 37 weeks of pregnancy) or a low-birth-weight baby (weighing less than 5¬Ĺ pounds). Babies born too soon or too small are at increased risk for health problems.

During the state of pregnancy, there are a lot of hormonal changes in the female body which renders the immune system compromised and vulnerable to diseases. If under such circumstances there is an increase in the stress levels it can cause the development of serious health conditions like hypertension, diabetes in the mother and may potentially lead to miscarriages.

The World Health Organization had declared maternal malnutrition. Lack of health checks and stress as one of the major factors contributing to maternal mortality and perinatal mortality.

Chronic stress may also contribute to subtle differences in brain development that might lead to behavioral issues as the baby grows.

How to Cope With Stress??

There are various coping tactics which you can employ for stress reduction. For example:

  • It is of paramount importance to identify the core reason for your stress to deal with it. Ideally, you should discuss with your doctor, your family and friends. There are many support groups which you can join to get a fresh perspective regarding your problems.
  • Share your worries with someone: your partner, a friend or a professional counselor. Talking helps; talk about how you feel.
  • Exercising helps. Go for brisk walks in the fresh air. Exercise helps the body release endorphins, the natural 'feel-good' chemicals, which also energizes you. You basically get a chance to unwind and reflect.
  • More importantly, don't ignore your diet. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid snacking on high energy foods such as biscuits and sweets. Discuss the ideal diet plan with your dietician and stick to it.
  • Listen to music, engage in some creative activity like drawing painting, etc.
  • Get guidance from an expert on graded relaxation therapy, guided meditation.

Note: If you notice that your physical or mental health is getting affected by your stress then you should discuss the matter with your doctor without any delay.

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