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The Effects of Stress During Pregnancy

By on Dec 18, 2011

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The effects of stress during pregnancyA new study has found that stress during pregnancy can shorten the length of a pregnancy and increase the chance of miscarriage. Researchers found that mothers-to-be, who are highly stressed during the second and third trimesters at a higher risk of giving birth prematurely and miscarrying baby boys.

This is the first study to highlight the effect that stress can have on individual sexes. These findings suggest that the extra risk to boys starts earlier in pregnancy. The results of this study are from an investigation into the effect of stress after the 2005 Tarapaca earthquake in Chile.

This earthquake was measured at 7.9 which is classified as “disastrous”. The results of the research found that women who lived closest to the site of the earthquake during the first trimester had shorter pregnancies and had a higher risk of delivering pre-term.  The normal average for pre-term births is on average 6 out of every 100 births, but for the women that were exposed to the earthquake, this increased by over 3%. This equates to over 9 out of every 100 births being pre-term. The researchers also found that fewer baby boys survived pregnancy through to delivery.

Although this study was conducted on women exposed to the natural disaster, the researchers claim that there could be implications for pregnant women who are exposed to more “normal” stressful situations.

Stress at any time of your life can have detrimental effect on your health, but stress during pregnancy this can have an added effect on the baby. Stress during pregnancy can cause an increase in blood pressure, increased heart rate and a negative effect on your immune system.

It is important to manage and prevent stress during pregnancy. This can be achieved through relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, yoga and regular gentle exercise.  Cutting down on caffeine will also help the body reacting to stress.

Many health companies promote vitamin supplements for throughout pregnancy. I would recommend a product that contains a mix of B vitamins, as these will help to support the adrenal glands and keep your stress levels low.

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