Pregnancy And Stress

Pregnancy and stressMany of us will be very familiar with the term -fight or flight , but do we fully understand its meaning in relation to stress?

Fight or flight is the body’s natural choice when reacting to any event that demands a drastic response from you in a time of crisis. Stress falls into this scenario with your body either choosing to fight the stressful event, or to take flight and run away from it, so to speak.

If stress is not dealt with correctly it can be extremely damaging to the human body.

Chemically speaking, stress initiates the body’s release of adrenaline and cortisol into the blood stream. These chemicals provoke the body in an urgent situation by releasing energy and strength so that it can cope with the situation. If stress is founded by a physical threat, then these chemicals can generally be a positive force, helping you fight against the threat, but not for an indefinite period of time.


A festering issue

If this stress comes from an emotional place with no channel to deal with it, then it can start to fester and cause untold damage to the body in general. Stress is one and the same whether you are pregnant or not, but the subtle difference lies in the damage caused to the unborn foetus.

As is normally the case, stress will attack people differently – what may cause stress with one may not affect another. So, too, can stress -attack pregnant women for varying reasons.

But the fact remains that during pregnancy stress can be far more dangerous because what happens to your body undoubtedly happens to your unborn child. Stress is not something any of us wish to burden our children, unborn or not, with.

Passing stress on from mom to foetus can have long-term effects on the child as he grows both within the womb and in life.


First trimester more dangerous

When stress crosses from the mom to the foetus in the first trimester it can be more dangerous than during the second or third trimesters, because it is during these first three months of pregnancy that the baby’s main organs are starting to form.

But this in no way gives the body free reign to allow stress to run riot after the first trimester. A healthy, stress-free lifestyle is always the best and should be what everyone – pregnant or not, male or female – should strive for.


Various reasons for mom to stress

Of course, it’s easy to say -don’t stress . Pregnant women are prone to high levels of stress for various reasons. These include dealing with the uncertainty of being a parent, financial pressures, your health, your baby’s health and how the arrival of your new baby will affect your relationship with your partner.

It’s vital to learn how to identify exactly what it is that is causing you stress, and then take action. Avoid stressful encounters or situations and if you can’t do this then find healthy alternatives to deal with them. Take time out just for you! Pamper yourself with something relaxing, perhaps a candlelit bubble bath. Enjoy a healthy cup of herbal tea on your veranda when you come home from work – before you tackle the dinner and the washing.

Exercise is a wonderful stress reliever. Walking is probably one of the best forms of exercise, and it’s free! Some may enjoy yoga or pilates.


And lastly, sleep. Get lots of it!

If you really cannot get a handle on your stress because the underlying reason is deeper than the norm, a counsellor can help you overcome this by using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) during therapy sessions. CBT has been used very successfully for many years in dealing with all types of emotional issues.


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