Pregnancy Stress - Passed to Your Baby
Pregnancy is a worrying enough time without additional pressures and many women are concerned that whether the stress they experience during their pregnancy can be passed through their system into their baby.
Normal Pregnancy Worries, Or Something Else?There are plenty of women who although wish to have a trouble free pregnancy find themselves worrying about their unborn child and indeed themselves. Most of this worry is normal; issues such as doing the housework, handling household chemicals, diet and exercise and even carrying out the tasks needed in their employment can all be cause for worry. This type of stress is not harmful and is the start of the protective qualities that accompany motherhood.
Initial studies however, have shown that there may be a chance that additional stress may have a detrimental effect on the development of the child. Financial pressures, bereavement, separation or other types of stress that are not part of everyday life may have the potential to harm the child resulting in defects such as cleft palate and spina bifida. Recent evidence suggests that there is also a strong link between stress during pregnancy and the incidence of schizophrenia in the child later in life.
It is therefore essential for these women to be protected of these contributory stresses where possible, or if unavoidable, be surrounded by a supportive network and offered methods of relaxation and coping strategies to help them live through this period as trouble-free as possible.
How Does Stress Harm An Unborn Baby?It is thought that whilst being in a stressful state, the body releases greater amounts of certain hormones including a substance named cortisone. The consequence of this increased release causes the blood sugar levels to rise which can directly affect the baby.There is also concern over how the mother manages this stress; some experts believe it is directly linked to the amount of alcohol consumed during pregnancy and also with regard to lifestyle events such as diet and drug taking.
It should be noted however that this scenario is only related to significant life changing events that cause stress and anxiety, not the type of stress that most people are exposed to on a regular basis.
Protecting Your Baby From HarmIf you are unfortunate to experience such a traumatic event during your pregnancy, there are some measures that can be taken to try and prevent these issues affecting your baby.Always remember to take a healthy diet, it doesn't mean you can't enjoy food, just be aware of what you are eating and how it is prepared. During times of stress, some people can forget to eat or eat foods that are ready-made or even just junk food as they don't have the time or motivation to eat properly.
Continue taking your folic acid and ask your midwife to recommend a vitamin supplement specifically for pregnant woman.Share your worries and burdens with friends and family; they will be concerned for your welfare and will be glad to help.
It is important to realise that these studies have been carried out fairly recently and they weren't intended to cause undue worry to expectant mothers, as experts continue to learn about the effects of the uterine environment during foetal development and further studies may well show different outcomes.