Pregnancy is considered to be the most wonderful and joyous time, but at the same time filled with stress, anxiety and lot more doubts and worries. There are the number of circumstances that can lead to stress while you are pregnant, including
1. Changes occurring with pregnancy
2. Weight gain and diet
3. Physical discomforts of pregnancy like nausea, constipation, leg cramps, being tired or having a backache
4. Mood swings, worries regarding future like impending birth and labor or how to take care of your baby, bonding with baby and breastfeeding
5. Women who are working may have to manage job responsibilities, commute to the workplace, as well prepare their employer for the time when they are away from the job for birthing, accounting for considerable stress.
What can happen if women take extreme stress during pregnancy?
Maternal stress and anxiety during pregnancy has been associated with increased release of stress hormones that in turn lead to changes in the blood flow to the baby, making it difficult to carry oxygen and other important nutrients to the baby’s developing organs finally leading to
1. Preterm birth ( Delivery before 9th month )
2. Low birth weight babies
3. Increased risk of miscarriage
4. Stress can make you uncomfortable, might impact diet patterns, sleeping habits, and consistency of prenatal care
How to tackle it?
1. If you’re feeling stressed, talk to someone (your partner, a friend or your health care provider).
2. Take a healthy diet.
3. Breathing exercises
4. Try out yoga and meditation
5. Mild to moderate exercises or just a simple walk can help in releasing endorphins that would alleviate stress.
6. Take a warm water shower. It will soothe muscle aches
8. Get enough rest and sleep; If you’re feeling exhausted, take a break or a nap of around 30 minutes. Go to bed early. Getting sleep in the third trimester is a bit difficult due to the bumpy belly, So try using extra pillows to prop yourself up in bed and see if that helps you to sleep more easily.
9. If you are working, prepare your employer when you are away from the job for birthing.
What to avoid:
1. Avoid dehydration. It is recommended to take at least 8 glasses of water every day
2. Avoid alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
3. Make sure you do not skip your meals, in fact, take short and frequent meals ( 3 major + 3 minor meals ) so that your blood sugar doesn’t drop, otherwise you feel tired and irritable.
Take childbirth education classes, so you would get to know what to expect during pregnancy and makes you prepared when your baby arrives.
If possible visit the delivery suite beforehand.
If you still feel stressed, discuss with your health care provider. If necessary see the psychotherapist.
Dr. Soujanya Kanikireddy
Specialist Obstetrics & Gynecology
Thumbay Clinic, Umm Al Quwain