For women who are pregnant, stress is an inevitable part of getting pregnant. However, it is still unclear how stress can be harmful for you and your baby.
Years of women’s health research have been conducted to determine whether an increase in stressful events can result in miscarriage, preterm delivery, or somehow cause harm or injury to a fetus. Although experts agree that excessive physical work can initiate preterm labor, emotional stress was not shown to lead to negative results in pregnancy.
This idea has been challenged with the advent of new information on how stress hormones actually can cause miscarriage and preterm labor. Even without a clearly defined pathway for these events to happen, pregnant women still want to decrease the amount of stress they have to deal with, or avoid it altogether. Here are some ways to do this:
- Examine your lifestyle, including the activities and functions you perform at work, home, family and other obligations. This should include socializing, exercise, and any free time. Ask yourself whether these are things that you can do and continue to do, as your body is constantly changing with a baby growing inside of you. Is your current schedule also sustainable or satisfying? If not, find ways to make changes that actually work.
- Accept the changes that are happening to you. Prepare yourself to cut back on the activities you used to do, and allow yourself time to rest and relax. One thing you’ll need a lot more of is sleep. You may also have to regulate your meal times to make sure your diet is balanced. If you used o exercise heavily you will need to make your program more sensible for your changing body.
- If you have been very career-minded up to this point, prepare yourself to give up some of
the aspects of your lifestyle. Biology can and will interfere with your work life, and for many women this is almost unacceptable, but be prepared to accept this fact of life.
- Take charge of your pregnancy. You are the best person to determine what you need, how hard you should work, how much you need to rest, eat, and other aspects of your own behavior.
- Keep the lines of communication open with your support system, including your family, friends and especially your spouse. They aren’t going through what you’re experiencing, but if you let them know how you are feeling, and what you need, they may be able to help.
- Don’t be a hero. Discuss with those with whom you deal professionally what you can and cannot do within reason, and make adjustments. It help to work with your employer to adjust your work environment and still be productive for your organization.
- Do your homework. Your OB GYN is a valuable asset, but you also have access to a wealth of resources online, as well as the support of friends and family around you. This helps you mitigate stress, since you can anticipate the changes ahead with little anxiety.