A new study.. stress during pregnancy may lead to a negative emotional impact on newborns

A new study.. stress during pregnancy may lead to a negative emotional impact on newborns
A new study.. stress during pregnancy may lead to a negative emotional impact on newborns

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN)– Pregnancy is a difficult period in itself, but with the added stress of work, turbulent economic conditions, and the risks of “Covid-19”, this period may seem even more confusing.

If possible, expectant mothers should try to assess their stress and seek help to reduce the likelihood of their newborn experiencing negative emotions, a new study said.

The study, published Wednesday in the journal Infancy, found that babies of mothers who experienced more fluctuations in their stress levels during pregnancy showed more fear, sadness and distress at 3 months of age, compared to babies of mothers who experienced less stress.

Real-time stress data collection

The researchers asked 72 women to complete surveys about their stress levels four times a day for 14 weeks during pregnancy.

When the babies were 3 months old, the mothers filled out a questionnaire to measure the infant’s temperament.

Measuring high and low stress levels in real time during pregnancy allowed the scientists to see a more comprehensive picture of women’s stress levels.

Larger fluctuations may mean that women experience “more instability in their current life circumstances, or that they may be tempted to see their circumstances as less stable, or that they have more difficulty regulating their emotions,” said the study’s lead author, Lega McNeil, who is also Assistant Professor and Researcher in Medical Social Sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, USA.

These frequent changes can affect children’s emotional development dramatically, McNeil said.

It’s normal to experience a little bit of stress during pregnancy, so more data is needed to determine the types and levels of stress that affect the mother, and her baby, according to McNeil.

The pandemic has not affected stress patterns

Although the researchers did not intend to conduct this study during the pandemic, doing so was a positive coincidence, as the study allowed them to examine whether stress levels are different in pregnant women before and during “Covid-19”.

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

The study is limited, especially since the majority of the women were middle- and upper-class, had partners, as well as were educated, traits that might protect them from much of the stress families felt during the pandemic, the authors say.

How can reduce stress before and after pregnancy?

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

Pregnant women can try deep breathing exercises to reduce stress and lower heart rate.

At least 150 minutes of exercise a week reduces the risk of depression and reduces anxiety and stress during pregnancy, according to a 2019 report published in the journal Medicina.

The Mayo Clinic notes that women should speak with their gynecologist to make sure that physical activity is safe during pregnancy.

Engaging in special postpartum stress-reducing activities can also be beneficial for mothers and children.

Research has shown that allowing new mothers more opportunities to “connect with their babies, breastfeed, and simply pet their babies” can help babies reduce their “stress responses more effectively,” as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) notes in a policy statement. for the prevention of toxic stress in childhood.

The article is in Arabic

Tags: study . stress pregnancy lead negative emotional impact newborns

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