Recent studies have found a connection between pre- and postnatal stress and infant fear reactivity. However, telling a stressed out pregnant woman that her stress can affect the baby might end up increasing the anxiety of having stress. How to solve that puzzle?
Maternal stress and milk cortisol
An interesting, multidisciplinary study conducted by Saara Nolvi at the University of Turku, Finland found an association between maternal prenatal stress and higher infant fear reactivity. The findings of the study suggest that early life stress — both prenatal stress and milk cortisol concentrations — might affect child’s reactivity and self-regulation, and there are differences between sexes.
The evidence about the effectiveness of prenatal prevention is not yet examined comprehensively, but the study reminds that taking better care of women during pregnancy is a cost-effective intervention compared to treatments later in life due to emotional problems.
It seems that focusing on the maternal well-being during and after pregnancy is even more crucial for child’s emotional health than we’ve assumed.
Finding the best ways to support stress-free pregnancies and helping mothers to cope with their post-natal time while breastfeeding can predict better mental health for our future generations.
Don’t stress about stress — manage it instead
During pregnancy, numerous women talk about worrying about their health, as well as baby’s health. How paradoxical it is, that the worry and stress, which derives from love, can affect the baby.
Knowing one’s stress relieving methods will be a good use during pregnancy. Also, having a supportive network is probably one of the most relevant factors for a woman carrying a child.
All in all, we should talk more about prenatal stress management. Are we giving our expecting women the best possible tools for it?
Seeing the bright side of it, this allows all the soon-to-be mom’s out there to enjoy guilt-free moments of pampering, relaxing and resting.
Pampering, pregnancy yoga, relaxing, and resting. Or whatever keeps those stress levels under control.