Research authors and experts are consistently writing informed articles and publishing medical journal entries on the overall effects of stress on the body. Stress offers no positive effects on overall health for any person, let alone a pregnant woman. The effects of stress on pregnancy can include increased risk for miscarriage and negative impact on maternal health during pregnancy and after birth. Combating stress during pregnancy is important to fetal and maternal health.
Eating Right to Reduce Stress
Pregnancy approved diets are consistently offered by obstetricians who understand the effects food choice can have on stress levels. A bit of research into the glycemic load and inflammation risk associated with foods can help expecting women make better food choices to reduce stress during pregnancy. Foods with a higher glycemic load tend to raise blood glucose levels quickly, which can lead to jitters, headache, and other physical reactions. These symptoms can then lead to stress and negative effect on the pregnancy.
Inflammatory foods may have the same general effect. Some foods are known to cause increased inflammation in the body. Commonly consumed inflammatory foods include sugar, cooking oils, red meat, and processed meat. Carrying excess fluid is typical during pregnancy, and adding foods that promote inflammation can increase fluid retention and stress.
Rest – More Than Average
In an ideal world, women who are pregnant would have the financial resources or support to take off work for the duration of the pregnancy. This ideal world does not exist for most women and thus work is essential for financial stability. Work poses a one-two punch on stress levels. Work-related stress is the obvious stress catalyst, but decreased sleep can also cause increased stress levels. During pregnancy, the body is constantly changing, growing, and repairing and rest is key to maintaining optimal maternal and fetal health.
Exercise Increases Hormones to Combat Stress
After 10 to 15 minutes of movement, the human brain releases hormones that increase energy and decrease stress. Studies have shown athletes who maintain increase heart rate for extended periods release enough “good feeling” hormones to cause a type of addiction. Pregnant women can think of exercise-induced hormones as the healthy pregnancy drug. Exercise during pregnancy does not have to be intense or strenuous to promote hormone release and when these anti-stress hormones are flowing, the brain tends to react to stressful situations with fewer physically and mentally negative responses.