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How is stress dangerous during pregnancy?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
One reason why stress is a problem in pregnancy is because anxiety depletes the immune system. And in a situation that's already fragile because of the immune changes your body's going through, added stress compromises your immunity even further. Moreover, stress puts you at risk of preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) and increases your risk of going into pre-term labor.
YOU: Having a Baby: The Owner's Manual to a Happy and Healthy Pregnancy

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YOU: Having a Baby: The Owner's Manual to a Happy and Healthy Pregnancy

Can I get a cavity filled while pregnant? Will avoiding spicy foods make my kid a picky eater? Can I really increase my baby's IQ while she's in utero? Whether you're pregnant for the first time,...
Paula Greer
Midwifery Nursing

Although a certain amount of stress is normal and helpful in our lives chronic stress is not. Chronic stress destroys your sleep patterns and leads to heart disease, weakened immune systems, cancers and disabling accidents. Chronic stress can lead to addictions and other major health concerns as well as impact on the growth and health of your unborn baby. Too much stress during pregnancy can lead to your immune system not working and put you more at risk for preterm labor and pre-eclampsia.

If you feel you are experiencing a great deal of stress consider implementing some of the following strategies to help reduce your stress levels:

  • Talk to your midwife or ob/gyn
  • Breathing techniques
  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Support from family and friends
  • Taking time for a mental health "fun" day
  • Use essential oils like lavender and lemon as a calming aroma therapy
  • Focus on the positive
  • Decrease life stressors (like finances, poor relationships)
  • Check out online help from pros like Cleveland Clinic and Wellness.com
  • Consider joining pregnancy centering prenatal care
  • Consider joining a support group or seeing a therapist

The less you stress during pregnancy, the better, says nurse midwife Paula Greer. Learn why it's important to stay calm when you're expecting -- and some simple ways to de-stress.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.