Posts Tagged ‘managing stress’

Stress can affect your pregnancy

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Research demonstrates that stress during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk for some pregnancy complications. Feeling stressed is common during pregnancy. Your body and your family are going through many changes. While a little stress is fine, serious stress may cause problems.

Causes of stress

The causes of stress are different for every woman. Some common causes of stress during pregnancy include:

  • Managing the typical discomforts of pregnancy, such as nausea, constipation, and exhaustion.
  • Mood swings. Your changing hormones can causes changes in your mood.
  • Worries about childbirth and being a good mom.
  • Work deadlines and managing job-related responsibilities before you give birth.

A little stress can help you take on new challenges and regular stress during pregnancy probably doesn’t add to pregnancy problems. But serious types of stress during pregnancy may increase your chances of certain complications.

Serious stress during pregnancy

While most women who experience significant stress during pregnancy have healthy babies, high levels of stress do increase your chances of certain pregnancy problems.

  • Acute stress in early pregnancy has been linked with an increased risk for premature birth. Acute stress results from a reaction to a traumatic event, such as natural disasters, death of a loved one, or terrorist attacks.
  • Chronic stress can cause complications such as preterm birth, low birthweight, hypertension and developmental delays in babies. Examples of events that can cause chronic stress include financial problems, divorce, serious health problems, or depression.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) disorder coupled with a major depressive disorder has been associated with an increased risk for preterm birth. PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people who have seen or lived through a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.

How does stress cause problems in pregnancy?

We don’t completely understand the effects of stress on pregnancy. But certain stress-related hormones, such as cortisol and norepinepherine, may play a role. Also, serious or long-lasting stress may affect your immune system, which protects you from infection. Infections can be a cause of premature birth.

Stress also may affect how you respond to certain situations. Some women deal with stress by smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol or taking street drugs. These behaviors can lead to pregnancy problems, including preterm birth and low birthweight.

How can you reduce stress during pregnancy?

There are many ways that you can manage your stress during pregnancy. Watch our video to learn more.


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How do you manage stress?

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Taking care of a baby is an awesome responsibility. It’s rewarding yet demanding and has the potential to put a tremendous amount of strain on us moms. So, what do you do to recharge and manage the stress of it all? I’ll go first. One of my favorite past times is eating ice cream right out of the container while watching back to back episodes of Say Yes To The Dress. It’s amazing how much better I feel after a little mindless TV and some sugar. Don’t judge! I’m also a closet Facebook user. I’m trying to avoid that whole Farmville scene though. I hear it’s fun and highly addictive. Do you have any guilty pleasures that you’re brave enough to admit? Let’s hear them! Check out our fact sheet, New Mom Stress.

Heart health

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

heart-healthI was reminded today that it is healthy heart month.  Since pregnancy puts a fair amount of physical stress on a woman, I thought it a good time to mention taking care of your ticker before you conceive.  I’m not thinking about having a baby (not at my age!), but it’s a good reminder for me, too.  Here are some things each of us can do to help improve our heart health.

Stop smoking – Even if you do smoke, you’ve got to know it’s not good for you.  But did you know smoking may make it harder for you to get pregnant? And if you smoke while you’re pregnant, your baby is at greater risk for being born prematurely or too small?

Have your doc check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.  If they test high, take steps to bring them down.  Most health care providers want your BP to be at or below 120/80 and total cholesterol to be below 200.

If you have a family history of diabetes, get your blood sugar checked.  Make sure you get into a program to help keep it in control before and during pregnancy.

Eat right – Eat foods from each of the five food groups: fruits, vegetables, proteins (like chicken, fish and dried beans), grains, and milk products. Easy does it on salt and avoid foods high in fat and sugar.

Get to a good weight – If you’re not at your ideal weight (too many holiday treats?) knock off a few pounds, or gain ‘em if you need ‘em.  Exercise regularly and get fit. Exercising for 30 minutes on all or most days of the week is a good way to help maintain or lose weight, build fitness and reduce stress.

Reduce your daily stress – Pregnancy is a stressful time for many women. You may be feeling happy, sad and scared—all at the same time. It’s okay to feel like that, but doing what you can to reduce stress before pregnancy can help you better manage extra stress associated with pregnancy.  And if you’re not considering pregnancy, reducing stress can improve your quality of life in general.  Sounds good to me!

Parents’ ordeal continues long after NICU

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

nicu-baby2Most moms and dads anxiously await the arrival of their new baby after a healthy 9 months of pregnancy. But for some, that day may come too early and it can mean baby will spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Having a newborn baby in the NICU, especially one that is born prematurely, can be a heart wrenching experience for moms and dads. The effects of this traumatic event on parents can last long after baby has left the NICU and is on the way to a healthy recovery. The New York Times published an article today that shares compelling stories from former NICU parents who continue to deal with this stress as baby grows older.

If you or someone close to you is in a similar situation with a baby in the NICU, you may want to visit our online community, Share Your Story. This community of preemie and former NICU parents offers comfort, gives guidance to and shares their experiences with other moms and dads also going through the NICU experience. Talking with someone who’s been through it all before can help moms and dads to better cope with this difficult ordeal.

Stressed out?

Friday, September 26th, 2008

I’ve got to say – every time I turn on the evening news, or pick up a newspaper, or hop on the internet, my stomach turns.  The economy is suffering.  Gas and food prices are up. People are losing their jobs. The housing market is a mess.  The presidential candidates are slinging mud at each other again. had an article earlier this week about the country’s most stressful cities, and I live just outside of No. 2 on the list!

I’ve been so stressed lately.  But tonight, I’m giving myself a break and turning everything off.  No evening news, no internet, no newspaper.  Tonight, it’ll be just me, my husband, a dinner at home, a book or maybe a light-hearted movie. Thank goodness for Netflix!

These trying times can be stressful for all of us. Sometimes we need to give our nerves a break and relax as best as we can.  If you’re trying to manage stress, there are lots of things you can do. Meditate. Read a book. Listen to music. Write in a journal. Get some exercise. Talk to a friend or partner.  If nothing else, taking a couple deep breaths always helps me relax.

Do you have any other tips for relieving stress?

Image: Dave-F, Flickr

Sticking to your kids’ routine during trying times

Friday, September 12th, 2008

Whether you’re evacuating your home due to an oncoming hurricane or you’re visiting relatives during holiday hubbub, your children will manage the stress that accompanies change much better if you manage to stick to some of your normal routines.  Little things that you do everyday can have a reassuring, soothing effect, so make sure you pack your bags with that in mind.  Don’t forget a favorite blanket or stuffed toy, binkie, truck or tee shirt.
Try to eat meals at about the normal time you always do.  If a meal isn’t possible, make sure you have at least a snack.  When it’s naptime, try to find a quiet place to curl up with your little guy. Do you read a story to your children before bed?  Then make sure you take a couple of favorite books with you when you leave home.  Remember to brush teeth before bed, sing a favorite song, play a favorite game and cuddle when they need it.