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Dear Preggers, Taking Stress Can Harm Your Unborn Baby, Here's Everything You Should Know

Taking stress during pregnancy may have serious implications on both mother and baby. Read more details inside.

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarUpdated at: Jul 13, 2023 14:00 IST
Dear Preggers, Taking Stress Can Harm Your Unborn Baby, Here's Everything You Should Know

Onlymyhealth Tamil

Pregnancy represents a profound and remarkable chapter in a woman's life. It is a period of great significance, characterised by a myriad of emotions that span from sheer joy to moments of stress and anxiety. Many researchers have consistently highlighted the impact of a mother's stress on the developing baby during this crucial phase. In this article, we reached out to Dr Sakshi Goel, Senior Consultant, MBBS, MS Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Madhukar Rainbow Children’s Hospital to understand the detrimental effects of stress on an unborn child and how pregnant women can decrease the risk.

To comprehend the potential effects of stress during pregnancy, it can be categorised into two types: short-term stress and long-term stress.

Short-term stress refers to fleeting episodes of stress that mothers may encounter due to specific circumstances or events. Generally, these brief stressors do not significantly impact the baby. However, when a mother experiences prolonged periods of stress, it can potentially have detrimental effects on the overall well-being of the pregnancy.

How does stress during pregnancy affect the baby?

stress during pregnancy affect the baby

Mood swings and emotional breakdown is common in pregnancy but taking unnecessary stress can negatively impact the baby in the womb. Dr Goel shares possible issues that prenatal stress can cause:

Premature delivery- Maternal stress can lead to premature birth. Preterm delivery can cause severe health problems for the baby, such as respiratory distress syndrome, jaundice, and sepsis. Preterm babies also have a higher risk of long-term health problems, including developmental delays, cerebral palsy, and hearing and vision impairment.

Also Read: How Mother's Habit Affect The Child

Low Birth Weight-  One of the most significant effects of maternal stress on the unborn child is low birth weight. Stress during pregnancy is one of the leading causes of low birth weight. Low birth weight increases the likelihood of developmental delays, complications at birth, and health problems in the future. Studies have shown that babies born with low birth weight have a higher risk of developing chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease.

Poor brain development- Stress during pregnancy can also affect the developing brain of the foetus. The developing brain is highly sensitive to stress hormones, and exposure to high levels of cortisol can affect the structure and function of the brain. It can lead to behavioural issues, learning difficulties, and emotional problems. Recent studies have shown that maternal stress during the first trimester of pregnancy can impact the child’s IQ later in life.

How to reduce the risk?

It is essential for expectant mothers to manage their stress levels to reduce the risk of damaging their unborn child. They can achieve this through a variety of means, such as exercise, meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises. They can also practise stress-reduction techniques, such as mindfulness and progressive muscle relaxation.

Also Read: 7 Tips To Manage Stress During Pregnancy

how stress during pregnancy affect the baby

Expectant mothers should also seek support from family and friends. Sometimes, stress is caused by external factors, such as financial or relationship problems. Having a support system can help reduce stress levels and provide a sense of comfort and security. If stress levels are severe, mothers can seek professional help from a therapist or counsellor.

Prenatal and pregnancy stress are both bad for both mother and baby. It is important for pregnant women to practise stress-relief techniques. This would secure their mental & emotional health as well as the well-being of the unborn baby.