Can stress cause premature birth?

It is extremely important that the child is born when it is ready to live independently on the other side of the abdomen. What can you do to prevent premature delivery? Can stress cause premature birth? 

Pre-term delivery is a premature delivery. Premature birth is defined as the birth of a child, which occurs between the 22nd and before the 37th week of pregnancy, i.e. before the 259th day of pregnancy. An unborn baby is born before reaching puberty, which would enable him to live independently outside his mother’s body. Therefore, delivery before the due date may have serious health consequences for the baby, e.g. the baby’s lungs may not function properly or hepatic enzymes may be missing.

In most cases, the cause of premature delivery is stress. Therefore, during pregnancy, you should avoid nervous situations. Stress causes your adrenaline level to rise in your blood. And this can cause uterine and cervical contractions. All this can trigger preterm labor.

The mechanism of stress

If we are stressed, two systems are stimulated to biological activity: the sympathetic nervous system and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. In the first moments of the stressor’s activation, the sympathetic nervous system is activated, which is responsible for the so-called fight or flight response. The sympathetic system, also called sympathetic, stimulates the adrenal glands to secrete hormones: adrenaline and noradrenaline. Increased levels of these hormones in the body result in pupil dilatation, rapid heart rate, and faster heart rate and breathing.

Can stress cause premature birth?

The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis may be activated even several hours after the onset of the stressor. The hypothalamus secretes the hormone corticoliberin, which stimulates the pituitary gland to produce corticotropin (ACTH). Corticotropin stimulates the adrenal cortex to release cortisol – a stress hormone. Hormonal changes occurring in the body of a pregnant woman during prolonged stress can negatively affect the developing fetus. Too high a level of cortisol and catecholamines – hormones secreted by the adrenal glands – threatens pregnancy complications. 

Ways to relieve stress during pregnancy

How to calm your broken nerves, calm down and distance yourself from problems? Here are some ideas for fighting stress in pregnancy:

  • Talking to your closest friend or partner;
  • Relaxing with a book in your hand or watching a good movie;
  • A warm shower that reduces muscle tension;
  • Body massage in a professional massage room;
  • Breathing relaxation techniques;
  • Exercises for pregnant women, e.g. yoga during pregnancy.

If you are familiar with stress during pregnancy, try to follow the above instructions. Remember that during pregnancy you need to take care not only of yourself, but also of the baby growing in your womb. A calm and relaxed mother is a healthy and happy baby. We can’t control some things, so why upset? Not worth it. Sometimes it’s better to let go and the stress will disappear by itself.



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