Pregnant women with high stress fluctuations can affect their babies after delivery

A study published Wednesday in the magazine InfantyBabies of mothers with greater stress fluctuations during pregnancy showed more fear, sadness, and distress at 3 months than babies of mothers with less stress.

Women with high volatility were more likely to report that their babies often got angry, cried, and fussed when left alone in their crib. They showed distress when they were tired. They clung to their parents when they were introduced to an unfamiliar adult, the study said.

Dr. Marian Earles said: , Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Healthy Mental and Emotional Development, by e-mail. She was not involved in her research.

Studies of infants of postpartum depressed mothers have also shed light on other potential effects. For example, children of depressed mothers may have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol as preschoolers. “Changes in these levels are associated with anxiety, social vigilance, and withdrawal”. According to the AAP policy statement on postpartum depression.

These children may have attachment disorders, behavioral problems, depression and other mood disorders, as well as “lack of self-control, poor peer relationships, school problems, and aggression.” There is

but, 2019 research It turns out that many childhood adversities can be rectified if a child has a caring adult who can provide a safe and stable nurturing relationship.

Collect stress data in real time

Researchers had 72 women complete a survey on their stress levels up to four times a day for 14 weeks of pregnancy.When the baby was three months old, her mother Toddler Behavioral Questionnairea survey that measures the temperament of young children.

Measuring stress levels in real time during pregnancy has given scientists a more comprehensive picture of women’s stress levels.

Greater variability means that “individuals may be more precarious in their current life situation, may be more likely to perceive the situation as precarious, or may have more difficulty controlling their emotions. ‘, said Leigha MacNeill, lead author of the study. She is an Assistant Professor of Medical and Social Sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

These frequent changes can have important implications for a child’s emotional development, MacNeill said.

The next step in the research team’s study is to look at how a mother’s biology changes as her stress fluctuates, and the researchers will learn more about how it affects babies. can learn

Additionally, it’s normal to experience some stress during pregnancy, so more data is needed to determine what types and levels of stress affect mothers and babies, McNeill says. said Mr.

Pandemic did not affect stress patterns

The researchers had no intention of doing this study during the pandemic, but it was a happy coincidence, as it allowed them to examine whether stress levels differed in pregnant women before and during Covid-19.

“We found that participants reported similar levels of stress patterns regardless of whether the stress measurements were taken before or during the pandemic,” McNeil said.

However, the study was limited, and most women were middle- to upper-class, had partners, and were well-educated, which may have protected them from much of the stress their families felt during the pandemic. The authors say that there is

How to reduce pre- and post-pregnancy stress

It’s natural to feel stressed during pregnancy, but there are strategies to help prevent it from negatively impacting women and their babies.

Expectant mothers can try deep breathing exercises Reduce stress and lower heart rateOne method is called belly breathing, where you breathe in through your nose for 5 seconds and then out through your nose for another 5 seconds.
A 2019 report found that at least 150 minutes of exercise per week may reduce the risk of developing depression and reduce anxiety and stress during pregnancy. Published in Medicina magazine.
Postpartum depression: Families hope their loss will help others
Activities like yoga can strengthen the muscles used during childbirth and reduce the severity of medical conditions such as nausea and back pain. According to the Mayo ClinicYoga is also a calming physical activity. improve mental health By releasing endorphins, or feel-good hormones.

The Mayo Clinic said women should consult a gynecologist to ensure that physical activity during pregnancy is safe.

Engaging in activities that reduce postpartum stress can also be beneficial for both mother and baby. It has been shown to help babies reduce their stress response more effectively. AAPs listed in the policy statement On preventing toxic stress in childhood.

The AAP states that positive and negative life events can shape a child’s future, including reading with “enthusiastic and responsive parents,” age-appropriate play with other children, He added that research shows positive experiences such as quality day care. and pre-primary education “are associated with positive effects on learning, behavior, and health.”


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