Stress In Pregnancy Causes Underweight Babies

Editorial Team

Stress is responsible for the various responses of our body, you start sweating, your heart beats faster and you become too aware of your surroundings. Whether we like to admit it or not, stress is a part of our everyday life and how pregnant avoid it? The economy isn't favourable, everything is expensive and we hear stories of woe every day.

When you are stressed, these are the three things that happen; sweating, faster heartbeat and being hyper aware of your surroundings are not actually bad. But if this happens frequently, you'll constantly sustain a high cortisol levels which destroys healthy muscle and bone, slow down healing and normal cell regeneration, impair digestion, metabolism and mental function.

But the effect of stress is even worse in pregnant women, cortisol increases the risk of decreased birth weight in babies.


According to Medical News Today: “When the researchers analyzed the relationship between the women’s inter-pregnancy cortisol patterns and birth outcomes, they found those with a flatter diurnal cortisol slope tended to have lower birth weight babies.”

“We found that the same cortisol pattern that has been linked with chronic stress is associated with delivering a baby that weighs less at birth,” said Christine Guardino, a postdoctoral scholar in psychology at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA).

Also, unborn babies who are exposed to cortisol in the womb are found to handle stress differently later in life.

“Women should treat depression, evaluate and treat stress, be sure they are in a healthy relationship, be physically active, stop smoking and gather family support,” said Chris Dunkel Schetter, a UCLA professor of psychology, who also worked on the study.

“All of the things that create an optimal pregnancy and healthy life for the mother should be done before getting pregnant.”

The mothers who participated in the study revealed that their stress comes from various sources, from financial troubles and relationships with family and neighbours, “to major life events, including the death of a family member and incidents of violence and racism.”

For this reason, making friends, and cultivating them is advised during pregnancy. So also is, having a support group who you can ask questions from and get emotional strength from. It's good for your mental health and your overall health too.