Controlling anxiety during pregnancy is vitally essential for the proper development of the future baby. Stress during pregnancy can be due to many causes, both physical and psychological, and even social and economic. An essential step in calming anxiety in pregnancy is recognizing its importance and the influence it has on the mother and the fetus. For a long time, future mothers’ psychological and emotional needs have been ignored, denying the direct relationship between their well-being and their children. Therefore, before learning about the different solutions –which we will detail later-at FastlyHeal, we will explain how the anxiety suffered in pregnancy impacts the fetus.
Regardless of the causes that originate stress and anxiety, the consequences for the health of the future baby are the same, depending on the time and the level of pressure to which the mother has been subjected during her pregnancy. Keep reading this article to learn how to manage anxiety in pregnancy.
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How do stress and anxiety affect the fetus?
Numerous research shows that anxiety during pregnancy is harmful to the fetus. This is because when under stress, high levels of corticosteroids -mainly cortisol- and catecholamines are secreted, thus altering various functions of our body:
- Stress alters the control of physiological processes.
- It negatively influences hormonal functioning.
- It affects the activity of the nervous system.
- It interferes with our cardiovascular system.
The substances produced when the mother suffers from severe anxiety or stress during pregnancy directly interfere with the development of the fetus, making long-lasting and even permanent structural changes. The hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands regulate hormones secreted during stress. These hormones are transported by the mother’s bloodstream, reaching the fetus through the umbilical cord and the placenta.
It is proven that mild or moderate stress is not harmful to the fetus; it is beneficial because it positively stimulates brain development. However, acute stress has numerous consequences.
Physical consequences of anxiety in pregnancy
- Stress causes the blood vessels of the placenta to contract, thus reducing the number of nutrients that reach the fetus, resulting in low-weight babies.
- On the other hand, severe stress also affects the uterus’ blood flow and its ability to contract, leading to premature births or miscarriages.
- Continued stress interferes with other processes in the development of the fetus, such as the growth and maturation of organs.
- It is also proven to negatively influence your immune system, creating a susceptibility to future illnesses.
Cognitive and psychological consequences of anxiety while pregnant
- Stress directly affects the brain development of the fetus and the functioning of neurotransmitters.
- It reduces the effect of gray matter related to the level of intelligence and information processing.
- The hormones that the mother secretes during stress and that cause changes in the fetal brain cause learning and language problems.
- There is a higher percentage of various psychological, behavioral or psychiatric disorders, such as autism, attention deficit, hyperactivity disorder and even schizophrenia, in cases of severe stress.
How to control anxiety and stress during pregnancy?
For all the above, the psychological health of future mothers is of vital importance. The uterus is the first environment in which the future newborn finds itself, directly dependent on it and its environment.
Depending on the causes, we will need to employ one approach. It will always be essential to inquire into the underlying reasons for this stress. It may be a simple problem or a larger one that does not depend solely on the mother but the circumstances surrounding her, such as a complicated family or socioeconomic situation.
During pregnancy, feeling a little anxious is expected, as physical and hormonal changes influence well-being, creating discomfort, fatigue, nausea, pain, or discomfort. Hormones can produce emotional ups and downs, discouragement …, and worry about the future baby and his health and delivery are also entirely normal.
Even so, we can start with a series of valuable tools that will help us calm anxiety in pregnancy:
- Education about pregnancy and childbirth is not only a necessary starting point. Know how the pregnancy will develop and how all this affects the mother and the fetus. This would help mothers, their partners, and their environment, both family and work, to lose the fears caused by prejudice and ignorance.
- Provide psychological and not only physical care to pregnant women. Investigate the underlying causes of their discomfort: family, work, finances… Try to help them speak openly about their problems and fears about pregnancy and create bonds of trust.
- Practice relaxation exercises, meditation, and yoga for pregnant women, which will not only help in childbirth but also during pregnancy. Guided imagery and meditation are good techniques for focusing and learning how to manage anxiety in pregnancy.
- Being in contact with nature, enjoying social relationships, and sunbathing in moderation stimulates vitality, optimism, and good humor.
- Maintain a healthy diet and get enough rest. Little or inadequate sleep generates stress, as well as not spending enough time eating well. The following article shows what to eat during pregnancy to not gain weight.
- Take a break from obligations and spend more time on recreational activities or hobbies.
- Decide in advance the conditions of delivery. Childbirth is a significant source of stress for many women. Relying on medical staff and having the necessary amenities offers excellent peace of mind.
At FastlyHeal, we merely offer information of interest. Still, anxiety and severe stress during pregnancy seriously compromise the health of the mother and the future baby, so it will always be necessary to go to a doctor or specialist who can perform a diagnosis and treatment. More precise.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to How to control anxiety in pregnancy, we recommend that you enter our category of Mental disorders .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.