Recent studies have shown that depression, stress, anxiety, and other mood disorders strike many mothers, both during and after pregnancy.
Stress can contribute to emotional and mental problems during pregnancy. Normal worries of parents, such as where to find the extra income to care for the new baby, can put stress on the mother. The discomforts of pregnancy can also lead to stress. Research suggests that stress is harmful because it releases a hormone that can trigger contractions of the uterus. Stress also causes higher blood pressure, elevated heart rate, and other negative physical reactions.
Indirectly, stress can cause harm by leading to smoking, drinking, or not eating well. Mood swings and feelings of depression also trouble many pregnant women. Changes in the body’s hormones are the cause of some of these emotional changes. Health care professionals can recommend a variety of techniques for reducing stress and improving mental health. Deep breathing, meditation, and other relaxation techniques help many women. Support groups and childcare classes relieve anxieties about pregnancy.