Women are encouraged to limit the amount of stress they endure during pregnancy. Studies are beginning to show how a mother’s stress impacts pregnancy, birth, and child development.
A study from the Netherlands showed that babies who are born to women who endured high amounts of stress during pregnancy were more likely to be of low-birth-weight. The study found that mothers who suffer from anxiety and depression during pregnancy were more likely to give birth pre-term, when compared with mothers who did not have these struggles.(1)
Studies show that stress during pregnancy is connected to low birth weight or pre-term births!
A new study links stress during pregnancy to children’s motor development. The study completed by University of Notre Dame Australia found that mothers who experienced more stressful events during pregnancy had children who produced lower score on movement competency tests.(2)
The children in the study were give motor development surveys at ages 10, 14, and 17. The children scored low on all three surveys. The study found that stressful events that were experienced in late pregnancy had more influence on children’s motor development.(2)
New study shows that stress during pregnancy affects children’s motor development through adolescence!
Authors of the study recommend mothers be alert and seek services that help them detect and reduce maternal stress during pregnancy.(2)
Ten tips to help reduce stress during pregnancy!
If you are currently pregnant or planning a pregnancy, consider the following items to help reduce and protect against high levels of stress.
- Identify stressors and talk with partner, friend, health care provider or therapist about stressors.
- Recognize that discomforts associated with pregnancy are time limited and work to problem solve these discomforts with a qualified provider.
- Eat healthy foods, exercise appropriately, and grab hour of sleep wherever possible.
- Reduce activities that do not need done in order to rest and relax.
- Build a healthy support network within your community with friends, family or other pregnant women.
- Ask for help, don’t try to be super mom, and accept help when it is offered.
- Participate in relaxing activities, such as prenatal yoga and meditation or prayer.
- Take a childbirth education class or read books that help you know what to expect and teach you how to breath and relax into contractions.
- If you are working, develop a plan in advance to work towards time off towards the end of your pregnancy.
- If you are struggling with depression, speak to a trusted provider immediately to discuss options that could help alleviate the weight of depression.(3)
Remember, it takes a village to raise a child. You don’t have to be supermom, fight the urge to impress your friends and family with how well you are doing and be honest with yourself and them if you need support.