How Stress Before, During, and After Pregnancy Can Affect You and Your Baby:
Stress before pregnancy can present as fertility struggles. Whether it takes years to conceive or mom is undergoing multiple rounds of IVF, this can really take a toll on moms overall well being. This can present as emotional or even physical stress. For example, In a study performed on stress and conception, researchers found that women whose saliva had high levels of the stress marker (alpha amylase) took 29% longer to conceive (NIH.gov). In another study, patients who struggled with fertility experienced significant emotional distress evoking feelings of depression, anxiety, isolation, and loss of control (The relationship between stress and infertility by Kristin L Rooney). Stress experienced prior to pregnancy and during conception can also manifest as stress in the developing baby. The effects of this stress are usually seen at birth with a baby who is very tense, uncomfortable, and displaying excessive fussiness.
Stress during pregnancy can also affect both mom and baby. In mom, stress may present as a very uncomfortable pregnancy or even a breech pregnancy. If mom is stressed her muscles, ligaments, and tendons surrounding the pelvis tighten and start running on protection mode. This tightening can then cause round ligament pain, pubic bone pressure, or even sciatic symptoms such as numbness/tingling. In addition, this tightening also limits the amount of room baby has in the tummy. With limited room, the baby does not have enough space to make its way head down sometimes leading to more invasive procedures such as an ECV (external cephalic version) or even a C section delivery.
Stress after pregnancy can also take a toll on mom and baby. Often times, women find themselves with a low or absent milk supply. Increasing levels of stress due to lack of sleep or adapting to a new routine with baby can cause an increase of stress hormone within the body. This increase in cortisol/stress hormone inhibits the release of other hormones such as prolactin which is responsible for producing milk. Moms are quick to blame themselves or feel shame for not being able to produce for their little one which then continues to contribute to increased levels of stress. Also, moms suffering from post partum depression or anxiety tend to stress about not being able to bond with their little one and the stress continues to pile on as they feel like motherhood may not be suitable for them.
Some helpful tips for managing stress include seeing a neurologically focused pediatric and prenatal chiropractor before, during, and after pregnancy. Neurologically focused chiropractors assess the nervous system and how well you are adapting to physical (pregnancy, desk job), chemical (diet/environment), and emotional stressors (changes in routine/daily stressors). They take a look at 2 key factors of the nervous system which are the Parasympathetic Nervous System and the Sympathetic Nervous System. Often we find that pregnant moms or even individuals with busy careers are running on the Sympathetic side which is described as someone who is GO GO GO, drained, and overwhelmed. Through chiropractic adjustments we can start engaging the parasympathetic nervous system which is the calming aspect of our system. It can help manage stress, improve sleep, regulate hormones, boost our immune system, and help people feel their best.
Our Doctors love being a support system for you! Please feel free to contact our office if you have further questions of how chiropractic care can help you before, during, and after pregnancy!!