Stress seems embedded in the very fabric of modern society. Economic, medical, political, and social concerns add extra levels of anxiety and fatigue to the already stressful pace of everyday life. Pregnancy can also prove stressful, especially for birthmothers coping with the emotional impact of giving a baby up for adoption.
The more you understand about prenatal stress, from the types of stress you might experience to the effects of stress on you and your developing baby, the more successfully you can cope with these challenges both during and after your pregnancy. Bring yourself up to speed on the subject with the answers to these frequently asked questions.
What Stress Triggers Do Pregnant Birthmothers Face?
Pregnancy can naturally produce stress for a variety of reasons. In addition to physical stress triggers such as back pain, morning sickness, and hormonal swings, women may harbor worries about the health of the baby and potential medical complications during both pregnancy and delivery.
On top of these stress factors, birthmothers must contend with the knowledge that will give the baby up for adoption. This extra emotional burden can raise stress levels even higher. Many birthmothers continue to experience this kind of stress even after delivery, as discussed below.
What Effects Can Stress Have on Pregnant Women?
Uncontrolled, excessive stress can damage anyone’s health. In pregnant women, however, this damage can have even more serious consequences. Although it doesn’t appear to cause miscarriage directly, it can create health problems that make the pregnancy riskier or more complicated.
High blood pressure offers a prime example. Stress can elevate blood pressure, which in pregnant women can lead to a serious issue called preeclampsia. Since high levels of stress hormones such as cortisol can suppress your immune system, you may also face a higher risk for uterine infections while pregnant.
Stress’s effects on your behavior can produce concerns of their own. For example, if you lose your appetite due to prenatal stress, you may not take enough calories and nutrients to support both you and your baby. On the other end of the scale, stress-related overeating and obesity can place you at risk for gestational diabetes.
How Can Prenatal Stress Affect the Baby?
Prenatal stress’s effects on a birth mother’s body and mind can also make an impact on the wellness and development of the birthmother’s fetus. High levels of cortisol associated with stress reactions can affect the development of the fetal brain. These changes can make the child usually sensitive to stress later in life.
The impact of stress on a developing fetus can extend beyond potential mental and emotional issues. A baby exposed to too many stress hormones in the womb may also experience elevated risks for cardiovascular disorders as well as immune system issues that lead to poor disease resistance.
As strange as it might seem, stress in pregnant women can actually affect the sex of the baby. Research indicates that pregnant women experiencing physical and psychological stress tend to have a higher ratio of girls to boys than the normal 105 males per 100 females.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from a previous crisis can leave its mark on pregnant women and their babies. The lingering stress caused by an old trauma can result in premature birth or low birth weight. Traumatized women may also self-medicate with tobacco, alcohol, or drugs, potentially harming the fetus in the process.
How Can You Manage Your Stress While Pregnant?
Since uncertainty feeds stress, give some thought to enrolling in a childbirth education class so you can know what to expect. Work out the details of your maternity leave or other time off from work as early as possible so you can strike employment worries off your list.
Home wellness care can also help you combat prenatal stress. Ask your doctor about safe, gentle exercises you can perform to keep fit and reduce your stress levels, such as yoga or meditation to clear your mind and relax your body. Eat balanced meals, and get as much healthy sleep as you can throughout your pregnancy.
What Should You Know About Adoption Trauma?
Stress doesn’t just pose a threat to pregnant women; it can also create ongoing problems for birthmothers long after delivery. Many studies throughout the years have noted that birthmothers often feel a variety of negative emotions and effects due to a syndrome known as adoption trauma.
Adoption trauma falls into the larger category of psychological trauma. Typical symptoms include feelings of guilt, depression, anxiety, sadness, irritability, sadness, hopelessness, or emotional numbness. You may even experience physical reactions such as sleeplessness, fatigue, headaches, and digestive trouble.
Fortunately, several coping mechanisms and strategies can help you manage adoption trauma. For instance, you might consider joining an emotional support group where you can discuss your feelings with other birthmothers. Individual counseling, journaling, and time with friends can also provide welcome outlets.
If you need assistance with managing the many stressful issues associated with pregnancy for birthmothers, turn to Arizona Adoption Help. We can provide numerous services and resources to relieve some of your burdens, from legal advice and medical help to everyday living assistance. Contact us today for more information.