Stressful Pregnancy – Could It Be Harmful For My Baby?
I had a stressful pregnancy. I was in the verge of submitting my thesis and was carrying for five months that time. I was not in a position to declare my pregnancy to my boss as I had several things running in my mind like how it would affect my work progress, will he be supportive to finish my dissertation on time, will it affect my manuscript work etc.,
T S Upasana
Although he is a good person, conveying the BIG news to him took lots of courage and deeper thoughts. I felt stressed and I could feel that it was growing day by day and decided to put an end to it. After my anomalous scan during my pregnancy, I went straight to him from the scan center and told him the news. He was shocked for a moment and then took it lightly. I felt so relieved and wished I could have told this before instead of stressing myself mentally. A lot of woman faces these kinds of situations in their work atmosphere, when it comes to announcing the big news. It takes quite some time to confirm the pregnancy and more time to reveal it to family, friends and to colleagues.
We sometimes carry wrong preconceived notions and hide or worry about things unnecessarily which remains as a stress unless we open up to people and discuss about it. Stress is a part of life and Pregnancy is stressful. Period. Yes it is and has been for all moms in the world but to get affected by stress is determined based on the word placed before it – Is it ‘Healthy’ stress or ‘Unhealthy’ stress? The Healthy stress motivates you to achieve targets, meet deadlines and keeps you on the go but the unhealthy stress stops you entirely, confines you to a small boundary where you keep accumulating your worries until they reach a threshold and it will weaken you so much that might cause dire consequences in your life as well your baby’s life. The unhealthy stress could be caused by several physical factors such as job strain, lack of proper sleep during night time, bad food choices; less or no exercise etc., Mental stress includes depression and anxiety that equally plays a role in growth of the fetus. During pregnancy, both the physical and psychosocial stress must be approached with much care and concern because it is going to affect the baby as well.
To approach this, one must prepare their mind and body by learning that, stress is normal and during pregnancy all the emotions are expressed in an elevated level. Every mom faces it and could be alleviated easily if we make few changes to it like asking for help from immediate family members, meditation, enrolling with pregnancy care centers, discussing with or taking wise suggestions from fellow moms. Many women do not know they are under stress and end up doing more harm to themselves and their baby. It is always good to introspect and find our behavioral changes from time to time and pin down the cause for it. If it is a good change, water it else uproot it. If it’s difficult to uproot find help.
Studies say that, pregnant woman who are under a lot of physical and mental stress are less likely to have boy babies, higher risk of preterm births, low birth weight and higher chances of postpartum depression. Although, the sex of the baby is decided during the time of conception investigations prove that boy babies are more vulnerable to mishaps and pregnant woman who had higher psycho social stress and other physical stress like higher blood pressure and related conditions had lesser chances to boy babies. Also, reports say that women who were pressurized physically delivered prematurely and those who went under mental stress faced higher amount of birth complications that women under physical stress. Sometimes, cortisol, a hormone playing a very important role in body responding to stress could also be the culprit. When you are under stress, the body goes into flight or fright mode where, there is a burst of cortisol along with other stress hormones released in the body as a response to danger and this in turn would lead to rapid heart pumping, fuel flow to muscle tissues which will help you to run faster. Now imagine, this condition during pregnancy, when you are under high stress, this could damage you easily and does not help at all. This could further trigger inflammatory response as well which will cause developmental disorders in the child later in life. Such chronically stressed conditions which should be addressed medically as soon as possible.
When it comes to role of the society, when supported well the risk of premature delivery and postpartum depression vanishes thus helping for a healthy delivery. It is also observed that, the mothers who get more social support has higher chances for a male baby. Why? It is because the strong social support builds in confidence in the new mom fading away the stress and provides a comfortable environment to grow a vulnerable male baby into a strong fetus in the womb. There are times where the society which we live in soothe us down from pressure or sometimes fuels it up. I have faced both the situations in my family.
I could recollect once when me and my husband decided not to have baby shower in a grandeur manner based on some practical difficulties like travelling, sick elders, my thesis submission and mainly my lack of interest in it as I love simplicity and do not support money expenditure on grand functions. We both planned a simple function at home, with the blessing of our parents, a couple of close friends and neighbors. We expected criticism from people around and knew that it might cause unnecessary stress but we made this decision and decided to stick by it no matter what comes. We spoke to our parents, explained them that we were least bothered on the negative comments and welcomed all the positive comments. Seeing our firmness, our family too decided to support and relieved us from all the stress we were carrying through. That was one moment I realized the importance of family support when it comes to big decisions. Not only family, we find real friends who support us in such grave situations and start to develop better relationships with them.
To summarize, women should not feel guilty about stress and must feel free to express it to their friends, family, and physicians and seek support to mend it. Activities like meditation, taking a walk, talking with another pregnant woman greatly helps. The society must also find better coping mechanisms for women especially throughout pregnancy period right from conception to postpartum depression and building up her confidence to face all the challenges in the road ahead.
About T S Upasana
I am Upasana, mother of a wonderful toddler. I chose to stay at home over a career in science to witness each and every stage of my son's first trivial three years. I wanted to capture and cherish all the beautiful moments by being with him when he reaches his little milestones with no regrets in life later. I am in constant search for ideas, tips and strategies to manage and tackle everyday issues faced as a mom as motherhood is real hard work and would love to share all my findings with fellow moms to make their life easier.
This is personal experience and point of view of Mrs T Upasana as a mother. Happy Motherhood does not take responsibility for the contents and those not necessarily represent point of view of Happy Motherhood