How Does Stress Affect Pregnancy

Effects Of Stress In Pregnancy

Facing stress in pregnancy is common among most women. During pregnancy, our body undergoes various changes physically as well as mentally with lots of mood swings and anxiety. But did you’ll ever think of how this stress in pregnancy phase going to affect you and your baby. This article covers some of the questions that come to your mind related to pregnancy stress and also various effects of stress in pregnancy.

How Does Stress Affect Pregnancy

Causes of stress in pregnancy

Every woman is different, and so they may experience stress in pregnancy due to various reasons. Below are some of the reasons that can cause stress in pregnancy.

  • Unplanned pregnancy.
  • Mood swings due to hormonal changes.
  • Continually thinking about how to take care of your baby.
  • Office work pressure and responsibilities.
  • Medical conditions like nausea, constipation, and headache.
  • Thinking about the negative experiences of your past pregnancy like the miscarriage or death of your baby.
  • Worrying about the financial expenses to nurture your baby.
  • Depressed due to the death of your family member.
  • Misunderstandings between you and your partner or violence among your family members.

How does stress affect pregnancy?

Certain stress-related hormones are the primary cause of stress in pregnancy, which results in complications. Taking stress for a long time can affect the immune system, which protects us from any type of infection in the uterus. This can lead to giving birth to a premature baby.

Few women deal with their stress by smoking, drinking alcohol and taking drugs which are very harmful during pregnancy and may sometimes lead to various pregnancy problems.

What are the symptoms of stress?

The common symptoms of stress can be classified into various types, as mentioned below. If you experience these symptoms, then consult the doctor, or you can take preventive measures to reduce your stress.

Symptoms of emotional stress

  • You become frustrated or moody at times.
  • You try to avoid talking to people.
  • You feel depressed, lonely and less confident.
  • You become overwhelmed and may sometimes lose your control.
  • You find difficulty in relaxing your mind.

Symptoms of physical stress

  • Headaches
  • Low energy
  • Insomnia
  • Chest Pain
  • Upset stomach
  • Nervousness and shaking
  • Grinding teeth and clenched jaw

Symptoms of cognitive stress

  • Constant thoughts coming in the mind
  • Constant worrying
  • Seeing only negative things of anything
  • Poor judgment
  • Inability to focus
  • Forget all the stuff after sometimes

Symptoms of chronic stress

  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Digestive problems
  • Changes in your appetite
  • Headaches
  • Get irritated on small things
  • Continuously thinking of different things

How to reduce stress in pregnancy?

How to reduce stress during pregnancy

If there is a problem, there is always a solution to it. So similarly, if you are stressed for any reason, then there are ways which can help you to manage it. Here are some of the ways to reduce stress in pregnancy.

  • Initially, try to figure out what is causing you stress and try to speak to your partner, best friend, or doctor about it. Even they can give you some solutions and help you in managing it.
  • Practice meditation or prenatal yoga every day as this can help you to release stress in pregnancy phase.
  • If this is your first pregnancy, then you may find discomfort and worry about it, so you can ask your doctor about ways to deal with it.
  • Take proper rest and sleep to relax the body and mind. If doing household chores or other activities are making you feel tired, then leave it for and take rest for some time.
  • You can join antenatal classes or research online for various pregnancy-related queries. Doing this can help you to get the appropriate knowledge and clear all your doubts, which can make you feel more confident. Also, joining pregnancy forums can be more helpful, and you can connect with other moms as well.
  • Massaging is also one of the best ways to relieve stress in pregnancy. There are various spas available for those who provide pregnancy massage, so you can go there and get yourself a good massage. But make sure that the therapist is a well-trained person and also have the experience and knowledge of massaging a pregnant woman.

Can stress affect baby in womb?

When you are stressed, your body undergoes various biological changes, as well as the stress hormones, are elevated. Taking too much stress in pregnancy can affect your baby in the womb. It may lead to premature birth or low birth weight problem, which are the significant effects of maternity stress.

Preterm babies may have disorders related to development and learning. Also, in their adulthood, they may face issues like chronic health problems, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Also, according to one of the recent studies, stress in pregnancy months can affect a baby’s temperament a neurobehavioural development. Babies whose mother has taken stress in pregnancy phase, especially in the first trimester, may face problems like depression and irritability.

Can arguing and stress cause a miscarriage?

Can arguing and stress cause a miscarriage

Stress has been considered a possible cause of miscarriage. It has been reported that most women indicate physical and emotional stress in the earlier months of pregnancy or before conception.

Researchers have found that during stress, our brain secretes several hormones, among them, one is the Corticotropin Releasing Hormone (CRH). According to past research, women who gave birth to a premature or a low-weight baby had a high level of CRH in their blood. This increases the risk of miscarriage in women having stress.

Our brain releases CRH hormone in reaction to physical as well as emotional stress. It is produced in the placenta and the uterus of the pregnant woman to trigger uterine contradictions while delivering the baby.

Can stress cause spotting during pregnancy?

Stress can have all kinds of changes in the body, be it physical or mental strength. Some women may experience vaginal spotting due to the high levels of physical and emotional; stress.

Spotting is the small number of drops on the panties that don’t spread all over the panty liners.

Can stress cause cramping during pregnancy?

Can stress cause cramping during pregnancy

Cramping is normal during pregnancy, but sometimes it’s a severe concern. During the first and second trimesters, your body is working extra to prepare your newborn baby. You may experience cramps and pain throughout the pregnancy phase, as your muscles in the uterus will begin to expand. This can stretch the skin from both sides of the stomach.

During the third trimester, you may experience more pressure in the pelvis, as your baby presses the nerves that go from your vagina to your legs. You may feel cramps while walking or when your baby moves in the belly. Lying on one side can give you relief for some time. If you experience more cramps in any phase of pregnancy, then you should immediately consult your doctor and get some advice from him.

Can stress cause morning nausea?

Can stress cause morning nausea

Nausea during pregnancy is the most common and experienced symptom that most women report. It is not only a sign of early pregnancy, but it has a trait that can be seen in the first trimester of the pregnancy and even a little longer. Though nausea is an uncomfortable feeling, the good thing about it is that it doesn’t cause harm to your baby. Nausea can be prevented and treated with simple home remedies. You can suck the candy, eat smaller meals every day instead of taking larger meals and get plenty of rest.

Can stress cause high blood pressure in pregnancy?

Blood pressure causes the blood to flow against the arteries that carry blood from the heart to all the other parts of the body. High blood pressure can cause problems like preterm labor, low birth weight, preeclampsia, and placental abruption. High blood pressure can be prevented by reducing stress, staying active, and eliminating the consumption of alcohol, cigarettes and street drugs. Also, avoid eating food that contains a high amount of salts, like soups and canned food.

Can crying cause stress to the baby?

Crying doesn’t cause harm to your baby. But taking too much stress in pregnancy can cause your brain to release a hormone known as cortisol to your body. This hormone is passed to your baby through the placenta. If this hormone is continuously given to your baby’s body, then there are chances that the baby is anxious and colicky.

How does stress affect prenatal development?

Maternity stress increases the rates of infant mortality, preterm birth, and the low weight baby, which can have affect health and development from childhood to adulthood.

Chronic stress can also lead to subtle differences in the brain development of your baby that may lead to behavioral issues as the baby grows.


Bringing a baby to this world is a happy moment for all moms, and for this, you need to take care of various things during your pregnancy phase. These were answers to some questions related to pregnancy stress that always comes to your mind.

If you found this article helpful, then do share it with other moms too.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here