Stress During Pregnancy – Affect on Baby and Tips To Manage

5 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

stress during pregnancy
When we talk about stress, just count the number of things stress brings along. Sleepless nights, low patience levels, anger, anguish, either you lose your appetite or tend to overeat, headache, a blocked thought process, depression, or the list goes on. But how does stress during pregnancy affect the unborn baby? 

Now that you have the responsibility of nurturing your bundle of joy, you can relate to the adversity that can be done in a baby’s growth and development due to stress. If mothers are exposed to stress, then it affects the development of the baby’s brain and also the baby’s memory and learning ability in later life.

In This Article pregnancy pillow

Stress During Pregnancy And Its Effect on Baby

A womb is a very busy place. Where earlier doctors used to think that stress has very little or no impact on the development of a fetus, research now has enough proof to claim that babies born to mothers who have been stressed during their pregnancy have been preterm and with low birth weight.

1. Low Birth Weight and Preterm Delivery

This claim is supported by the fact that when stressed, your body releases the stress hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine. These hormones contracts the blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the developing fetus, thus causing low birth weight and premature delivery.

2. Premature Birth

Increased levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) are also produced due to high levels of stress and anxiety. CRH regulates the tenure of the pregnancy, and as such can cause premature birth.

3. Miscarriages and Neural Disorders

Stress during the first trimester of pregnancy is also known to cause miscarriages and an increased risk of motor disorders. Neural problems may develop if the mother is under stress when the baby’s brain is developing, sometime around 19-26 weeks in the pregnancy.

[Read: 9 Most Common Causes Of Miscarriage]

What Causes Stress During Pregnancy?

Causes Stress During Pregnancy

Pregnancy itself is a challenging time that brings out many emotional and physical strains, after all, you are creating a new life. But if this anxiety and stress have started to interrupt your daily life and day-to-day activities, it’s time that you take charge and find out a way to deal effectively with it.

1. Emotional Stress May Include

  • Thoughts about what kind of parents one would be.
  • The health of the unborn baby.
  • Frequent mood swings and irritation.
  • Your relationship with your partner changes or the environment around you.
  • Financial concerns.
  • Worry regarding your job, or profile.

2. Physical Stress May Include

  • Fatigue, body pain.
  • Lack of sleep, loss of appetite.
  • Physical changes the body undergoes.
  • Mood swings and irritability.

It is better for the expecting mother to throw away the stress and rest as much as she can. During pregnancy, the immune system of the expecting mother is weak and Stress releases stress hormones that weaken the immune system further which can deteriorate the mother’s health and also affect the baby’s growth. Stress can also increase the risk of miscarriage, premature delivery, or low birth weight infant.

[Read: Over Anxiety During Pregnancy: Are You Worrying Too Much?]

Managing Stress During Pregnancy

pregnant women doing meditation

Apart from getting regular checkups and monitoring the baby’s growth and heartbeat, it is important that you are leading a stress-free life. Now, if this seems unlikely, make sure that you deal with all that life is throwing at you at this time effectively – because now it’s not only about you but

  • Discuss your worries and stress with your partner. Be more expressive and let your close ones know about your likes and dislikes. Bottling feelings will only make the matters worse.
  • Accepting help from your partner, other family members, friends, and colleagues is one of the first things you should do when you are pregnant. There is no need to be a superhero all the time. A little help does no harm.
  • Try to involve in things that give you happiness and make you forget all the stress. Read books, watch TV, listen to soothing songs, or talk to your family and friends.
  • Rest as much as you can. Ask your near and dear ones to help you in winding up your work. Do not take too much work stress. If you are a working woman then take short breaks after frequent intervals and rest. Do not assign yourself to any new projects and neither commits yourself to a performance-packed year. The stress of any kind is dangerous.
  • Sleep properly, as your body needs lots of rest as it is working overtime to nourish the unborn baby. Use pillows to get a comfortable position and body massage before sleeping. Make sure you get undisturbed sleep.
  • After consulting your doctor, try light exercises or yoga as it can help you in releasing your stress. Walking, swimming, etc., can be continued till the last trimester unless advised by the doctor.
  • Pamper yourself as much as you can. Go for a manicure, pedicure, body massage, hair spa, or any such activity that makes you relaxed and beautiful.
  • Breathing exercises can calm you down when you are in stress, and also meditation and a pristine ambiance can create a relaxing atmosphere. Antenatal classes also help as they can help you get in touch with other moms who are in the same stage.
  • Eat healthily and avoid alcohol or any product that is harmful to you and your baby.

Stress can also lead to long-term problems like blood pressure, anxiety, or depression. So fight away your stress for your baby’s sake and enjoy every moment of this wonderful journey of pregnancy. Have a positive approach towards life and remove all the negative thoughts that scare you. Always stay happy and keep yourself engaged in things that give you immense joy and delight.

Read Also: Depression During Pregnancy: What Is It?


1. Can The Baby Feel The Mom’s Stress?

A study headed by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco found that infants not only sense their mothers’ anxiety, but also exhibit corresponding physiological changes.

2. Can Stress During Pregnancy Cause Birth Defects?

There is a 3% to 5% possibility of having a baby born with a defect in every pregnancy. The danger that exists in the background. Birth malformations are not likely to be caused by stress alone. 


Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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