Don’t Freak Out! Stress Hormones Can Affect Your Baby
April 12, 2017
Dealing with stress is a natural part of life, and pregnancy can bring on a whole new set of worries. But it is important for the health of you and your baby that you don’t let pregnancy- related anxiety take over your life. Studies have shown that chronic stress can have a negative impact on fetal development.
Harmful Effects of Elevated Cortisol Levels During Pregnancy
When we perceive a threat, crisis or think a stressful thought our bodies go into defense mode. Malnutrition can also send the body into distress. As the body shifts into crisis mode, stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, are produced. Our heartbeat and breath increases to provide more oxygen to our muscles, which are also know as the “fight or flight” responses.
In this state, non-essential functions, like digestion, growth and repair are temporarily shut down.
But once the perceived threat has passed, we’ve resolved our stressful situation or we’ve received the nutrition our bodies need, we resume normal functions. Cortisol and adrenaline production slows and return to their normal levels.
Coritsol and epinephrine production are normal physiological responses. We need them to survive. But the constant increased production of these hormones from chronic stress is what causes the negative impacts.
A feeling of constantly on edge, always having to take care of everything and not finding balance can cause long-term stress. But when a women is in a constant state of crisis her body stays on alert. Her base level of cortisol and other stress hormones remain elevated. For expecting moms, elevated cortisol levels can carry great risks. Studies have show long-term, elevated cortisol associated with:
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension2
- Negative impacts on the baby’s growth and development2,3
- Premature delivery2
- Postnatal developmental delays2
- Increased risk of baby developing ADHD3
- Increased risk of baby developing respiratory issues later in life3
Healthy Stress & Proper Nutrition During Pregnancy
It is important to note that short-term stress does not have a harmful effect on the development of the baby. In fact, some research suggests that short-term stress can even have benefits. Avoiding stress is not always possible. So it’s important to develop methods to deal with stress. If you find yourself in a constant state of stress or think you need help finding balance, seek help from a therapist. They can help develop tools and tips or identifying stressors in your life and how to cope with them.
For a woman that is expecting, proper prenatal nutrition is a good step to ensure that both mom and baby don’t fall victim to malnutrition. If mom is receiving the nourishment she and baby needs, she’ll be better equipped to take on the obstacles life sends your way. Taking a prenatal vitamin, such as Prenate®, can help ensure you are providing you and your baby with the proper nutrition throughout pregnancy.
With products designed with the patient’s nutrition in mind, Prenate® offers a line of prescription prenatal vitamins for each stage and special needs of each pregnancy. Expecting mothers can save on their prescription prenatal vitamins with our savings cards. Click here to get your prenatal vitamin coupon now and pay only $18 per prescription refill! Talk to your doctor to see if Prenate® vitamins may be right for you to help fill nutritional gaps.