Stressing Out During Your Pregnancy Could be Bad for Baby’s Health

Photo: Shutterstock / The Bump
Photo: Shutterstock / The Bump

According to new research performed by Dr. Petra Arck, stressing out during your pregnancy might put baby at an increased risk for asthma and eczema.

The study, performed at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany, examined data from 994children and their mothers who had participated in an Australian pregnancy study. Starting out, their purpose was to determine the effects of intensive fetal monitoring on pregnancy outcomes. For the analysis, researchers asked moms-to-be about recent stressful events at the midway point of their pregnancy and again as they got closer to delivery. Once born, their kids were evaluated for asthma, eczema and other allergy-related conditions at ages 6 and 14.

Based on their responses, researchers calculated the likelihood of the children having asthma or eczema as a teenager. They found that for kids with mothers that experienced stressful life events during the second half of their pregnancies, the child’s risk was substantially higher. Researchers also noticed that kids at age 6 were twice as likely to have asthma as 14 year olds if their mothers had been through a single stressful life event. This pattern only help true in children whose moms didn’t have asthma. However, researchers admit that they didn’t have any available information on how moms-to-be coped with these stressful life events or the types of social supports that might’ve been available to them, as well as the fact that stress during their pregnancy might not have been solely responsible for the increased risk of asthma or eczema. Their findings were published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Arck told Reuters Health that the findings from this analysis could “allow clinicians to evaluate future asthma risk in unborn children using a simple life event assessment questionnaire.”

So how can you keep from stressing during your pregnancy? Welcome to parenthood. You’re going to worry about your baby for the rest of your life. Literally. So you may as well get used to it now. The truth is, you can’t know that baby’s okay in utero. You won’t know he’s okay with the babysitter either. Or at college. Yes, there is stuff that can go wrong. But, there’s a much better chance that everything will be just fine and you’re on your way to having a healthy little mini-me (or -he). The best thing you can do right now is focus on staying healthy and following your doctor’s recommendations. Our advice: Try to stay positive, don’t read the scary stuff without a good reason (like if your doctor tells you that you’re at risk for something specific), and ban yourself from all of those tragic stories on the Internet. After all, this is a time when you should be celebrating — not stressing.

How do you keep from stressing?

Plus, more from The Bump:

Top 10 Pregnancy Fears (and Why You Shouldn’t Worry!)

Pregnancy: Is It Safe?

What to Avoid During Pregnancy (and How Not to Miss It Too Much)