Stress in Pregnancy

Stress is a kind of feeling that people go through at different stages of their lives, and it can be caused due to various things. The term stress includes the following:

  • During pregnancy, stressful feelings and even depression, coupled with anxiety is very common and is referred to as prenatal stress. This stress can be temporary for some, showing up only during certain times and it can be persistent throughout pregnancy for some.

About 15% of pregnant women experience prenatal stress, which goes on to have serious effects on the development of the fetus. However, one must keep in mind that all fetuses growing in the womb of a stressful mother do not suffer from serious problems.

  • When a mother experiences stress or feel depressed, she must consciously be aware of it and convey her feelings to the doctor or someone who can help. This is for her own sake and the sake of the fetus too.

What is stress?

Stress and its causes differ from person to person. For some people, it is triggered by mundane everyday instances, while for others it can be particular occasions, events, movies, books, and so on.

Some common causes of stress can be fights with partners, everyday hassles, work pressure, stress regarding pregnancy, financial issues, etc. Some unusual causes of stress can be accidents, death of someone close, natural disasters, war, etc.

How can stress be measured?

  • A variety of different questionnaires can be used to measure and understand the nature of stress that pregnant women experience.
  • The questions are administered to understand the emotions and feelings of individuals.
  • Once answered, they can be used to understand the level of stress and the effects it can have on someone physically and mentally.


The Spielberger Anxiety Inventory test is used to assess anxiety during pregnancy. The inventory consists of statements like – ‘I feel anxious when burdened with responsibilities, even minor ones’, ‘Arguments and fights with my partner get me worked up and nervous’, and so on. These can be answered by individuals by selecting – ‘always true’, ‘almost always true’, ‘sometimes true’, etc.


The test used to understand the state of depression is called the Edinburgh Depression Scale. In this inventory, more serious statements are made that are related to self-harm, perpetual sadness, and crying all day, sleeplessness, etc. The options provided are similar to the previous inventory mentioned.

What does stress do to the body?

Stress has mainly two effects on the body. These are:

  • The ‘fight or flight’ response to a stressful situation is the most immediate response and it takes only a few seconds. Two hormones called adrenaline and noradrenaline are released in the case of such emergencies.
  • Another response that people have to stress is more gradual, and is spread out over a long time, sometimes an entire lifetime. In this case, the cortisol hormone is released that helps us deal with the stress.

However, the release of hormones does not always take place because stress does not always have physical markers. It is the way one feels, and might not always be connected to biology.

Even a baby can experience stress due to various factors and fall sick. In such situations, you will require best-humidifiers-for-baby to humidify the air and make your baby feel comfortable. Babies might even cry out of stress and anxiety. To calm them down, the best option is to get home a baby swing.