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How Stress Can Affect Labor and How to Manage It

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How Stress Can Affect Labor and How to Manage It

Mar 18, 2024
How Stress Can Affect Labor and How to Manage It

Mama, pregnancy is full of ups and downs. There are mood swings, swollen ankles, hearing your baby's heartbeat for the first time, and feeling them kick or move. All these things combined can be exciting but a little overwhelming and stressful. 

Stress during pregnancy can contribute to several things including but not limited to, preparations and learning about being a new mama, fears about impending labor, financial worries, complications, and more!  

At Stork Helpers, we recognize that you are balancing a lot all at once. Therefore, it is our mission to make sure that the stress you have during pregnancy and labor is minimal. From relaxation exercises to mental health guidance, we are committed to helping you manage your stress and prepare for a smooth labor and delivery. 

In this blog post, we will explain what stress is, how it can affect your pregnancy and labor, and how you can manage it.  

We are here for you and are ready to stand by your side through it all.  


What is Stress? How Can It Affect Labor? 


Mama, stress is a common and natural response to a challenging situation. When you experience stress, your body releases hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which can trigger a "fight or flight" response. This can lead to an increased heart rate, shallow breathing, and heightened alertness. 

During pregnancy, stress can have a significant impact on both you and your baby. 

In the context of labor, stress can prolong labor duration and lead to complications. 

Everyone says that stress isn’t good for the baby, and they are right! Stress can impact your baby, as hormones released by you can cross your placenta and affect the fetal environment. Elevated levels of stress during labor can lead to an increased risk of low birth weight, premature birth, and developmental issues in your baby. 

When you are stressed during labor, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol, which can interfere with the production of oxytocin, the hormone responsible for contractions. This can slow down the progress of labor and increase the likelihood of medical interventions such as induction or cesarean sections. 

Therefore, it is important for you to make sure that your healthcare provider is checking up on your stress levels throughout your pregnancy so that they can provide the support you need to prevent issues prior to labor.  


How Can Pregnant Women Manage Their Stress Levels? 


Pregnancy and labor can be stressful for you, mama, but there are several strategies to help manage your emotions and promote a more peaceful and calm experience. 

It's important for you to prioritize your mental and emotional well-being during pregnancy, and stress-relieving strategies can contribute to a more positive and empowering experience. 

Below, we have outlined and explained some stress-relieving strategies for you to do. 

1. Practice relaxation techniques:

During pregnancy, deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce your anxiety and promote a sense of calm. Even 10 minutes of any of these practices can align your body and spirit.  

2. Stay physically active:  

Engaging in gentle exercises like prenatal yoga or walking can help relieve stress, boost mood, and improve your overall well-being. We recommend 30 minutes to an hour of gentle movements per day to lower your stress levels.  

3. Seek social support:  

Connecting with other expectant mamas, joining a pregnancy support group, or talking to your friends and family can provide emotional support and reduce feelings of isolation.  

4. Educate yourself:  

Taking childbirth education classes can help ease your fears and uncertainties about labor and childbirth and prepare you for what to expect during labor and postpartum. 

We suggest inviting your partner to participate in some of these activities with you. Your partner can be a calming presence and help.  

5. Use positive affirmations:  

Positive self-talk and affirmations can help shift your mindset and reduce anxiety during pregnancy and labor. This is significant because your mind is powerful. If your brain believes that your body can handle labor, your body will do everything it can to make it happen.  

6. Create a peaceful environment: 

During pregnancy and in labor, it is essential to surround yourself with calming and soothing elements, such as dim lighting, relaxing music, and comforting scents, which can help reduce stress and promote relaxation.  

It is also helpful to have a birth plan that includes peaceful elements.  


Manage Your Stress with Stork Helpers 


At Stork Helpers, we are a supportive community of like-minded individuals who will walk alongside you during this special and potentially stressful time in your life. 

We are ready to serve and support you as you navigate the ups and downs of pregnancy. 

Through education, community, and compassion, we provide you with the guidance and support you need to manage your stress and embrace the journey of pregnancy with confidence and peace of mind. 

If you are looking for a doula who puts your needs first, then it is time to meet the Stork Helpers doulas today.  

Schedule an appointment to meet the Stork Helpers doulas in Cincinnati or Dayton here!  

Don’t miss the best free pregnancy and doula content! Follow Stork Helpers on Facebook and LinkedIn.  

Happy with the difference Stork Helpers made in your pregnancy? Leave us a quick five-star review here! 

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