Stress during pregnancy: how does it affect the baby?

Stress during pregnancy: how does it affect the baby?

During a pregnancy, our diet, our sleep and the physical exercise that we perform count enormously. But what role do emotions play? There exists aclose relationship between the emotional state of the mother and the uterine life.Stress during pregnancy can therefore complicate the development of the fetus.

When we are stressed, levels of 6 types of hormones can degrade: cortisol, glucagon, prolactin, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone. These oscillations affect the pregnant woman but also the fetus. When mothers feel asevere psychological stress during pregnancy, the risks of pregnancy become more important.

The main manifestations of stress during pregnancy are physical, physiological and social.
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Difficulties for the newborn

The main manifestations of stress are reflected at different levels: physiological, physical and even social. Sleep is altered, as is appetite (overeating or not being hungry) and headaches often appear, with muscle tension, irascibility … In addition, the immune system weakens, whichincreases the chances of infection.

Prematurity and low birth weight

Stress can precipitate delivery. The likelihood of having a premature baby (born before 37 weeks of pregnancy) or with a low birth weight (less than 2.5 kilograms) increases considerably. These babies run the risk of having a lot of problems in their childhood. For example,frequent illnesses, growth problems, distraction, hyperactivity and deficits in motor coordination.

Respiratory diseases and physical defects

Stress during pregnancy cancause asthma in the baby and other types of dermatological problems,according to several researches. Among them is atopic eczema during the first eight months of life of the newborn.

Otherwise,physical problems that can affect the baby include pyloric stenosis.It is a narrowing of the pylorus, a muscle located in the lower part of the stomach. This disease requires immediate surgical management.

Circulatory activity

We mentioned the types of hormones that most affect our body in a particularly stressful situation. After entering the bloodstream, they reach the placenta, which represents the vital connection between the baby and the mother.This set of hormones then increases the baby's heart rate.

Therefore,the less the woman will have to deal with agonizing and stressful events over a longer period of time, the better.In this way, it will "bomb" less the little one with the flow of hormones.

Learning and intellect

A hormone, cortisol, which acts on adults to restore homeostasis, can cause serious difficulties in the baby's future development. It has been shown thatthe higher its level in amniotic fluid, the lower the intellectual quotient of the newborn may be.

Even if it is not an illness, having a below average Q.I can affect the little one's daily life. In addition to learning difficulties, the baby may suffer from a deficit of attention or hyperactivity. In addition to this, it may be more difficult to solve problems in a planned and strategic way. It will also tend to curb spontaneous tendencies.

With caution but without alarm

Sudden changes in mood or prolonged anxiety are not to be taken lightly. Our body warns us when we accumulate tension for days. We do not sleep well, we are overly concerned and we have a professional, academic or domestic overload.Now imagine if we add to all these stressful events a little being who grows up in us.It is impossible for him to be unaffected by these mood changes.

Nevertheless, it is important to point out thatunexpected unexpected events are not dangerous.For example, if the pregnant woman starts with a sudden bark, there is no danger to the fetus.

It is the stress in situations that are important to us because they involve a type of threat, loss or prolonged damage that can create all these types of alterations in the baby. It must also be taken into account thatemotional reactions are not all the same in women.Therefore, stress does not affect them all identically.

Rest, self-demanding, calm situations, healthy eating or exercise under medical supervision is essential. All of these things are great allies to avoid stress during pregnancy.

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