Crying during Pregnancy: How It Affects Your Baby
It is common knowledge that your eating and drinking habits, overall health, and activity levels have an impact on the growth and development of your unborn child. You must have come across advice on how a pregnant woman must stay happy at all times and not give in to despondency – there might be a reason why. Research conducted by the Association for Psychological Science indicates that the mother’s emotions can also have an impact on a foetus that is six months or older. The way you feel during your pregnancy can have a significant role in determining your child’s attitudes and views of life as she grows up.
There are no definitive conclusions on the extent of impact on the foetus, but it should be reason enough to ensure that you don’t cry a lot while pregnant. It has also been found that pregnant women are prone to crying at certain times more than others. A lot of women find themselves crying during the first and third trimesters of pregnancy.
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Causes of Crying When Pregnant
If you have been bursting into tears at the drop of a hat, do not think that something is wrong with you. A lot of pregnant women go through the same experience, and you are definitely not alone. There is a plethora of reasons why women are more likely to cry when pregnant. These include physical as well as emotional causes. Here are some:
1. Fluctuating Hormones
Three hormones—estrogen, progesterone, and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) are produced in the body. Changes in the levels of these hormones can transmit varied signals to the brain that can then have an impact on a pregnant woman’s moods. They are primarily responsible for stoking pregnancy emotions and making her cry without any provocation. Progesterone levels in particular tend to be on the higher side during the last two months of the pregnancy, leaving the woman quite vulnerable.
It doesn’t matter how well you have timed or planned your pregnancy – stressors are bound to pop up every now and then. Your physical and mental health, the worry towards the well-being of your unborn child, doctor’s visits and tests, job-related ups and downs, family relationships, older children, etc. can all cause stress during pregnancy.
3. Stretch Marks
Almost every pregnant woman will get at least a few stretch marks during this time. They usually fade away with time, but seeing them for the first time can cause a pregnant woman to tear up because her body is changing.
4. Being Uncomfortable
Physical discomfort is part and parcel of every pregnancy. Being fit or healthy prior to your pregnancy is irrelevant as some aches and pains are definitely in store. Being unable to sleep peacefully without having to keep switching positions every few minutes, waddling around with the excess weight and a huge tummy is enough to bring on the tears every now and then!
5. Clothes That Don’t Fit
Shopping for clothes can prove to be saddening at times during pregnancy as you might be too big for your regular clothes, but too small for maternity apparel. You might come close to tears during this stage, especially if you’re looking to wear something appealing for an important meeting or social event.
6. Watching Emotional Films/Shows
Watching a soul-stirring movie or television show can have you in tears in a jiffy. Also, pictures of babies, parent-child relationships, and even baby animals in distress can turn on the waterworks before you even realise it!
7. Comments on Your Pregnancy
People’s comments on your pregnancy body and weight can prove to be distressing, which can lead to crying. Listening to people tell you that having a baby is going to change your life, your body and your relationship with your spouse can also be stressful.
8. Pregnancy Milestones
Some moments of your pregnancy will remain priceless – the first time you hear your baby’s heartbeat, the first time you see your little one in an ultrasound image, the first time your baby kicks inside your womb, and so on. So, don’t be surprised to find yourself fighting back tears during moments like these.
9. Going Past Your Due Date
Going past your due date with no sign of the baby can leave a pregnant woman disappointed and impatient. There’s a chance that you are tired of the physical discomforts that you’ve been putting up with, and if the end is still not in sight, it can prove to be a bit too much.
10. Being in Labour
No matter how many pregnancy classes you’ve attended or how strictly you have stuck to the pregnancy manual, labour can be painful. Irrespective of whether you will be having a vaginal delivery or a C-section, pain is a given!
How Crying Can Affect Your Baby During Pregnancy
The effects of crying during the second trimester – or, for that matter, at any time during your pregnancy – will have an impact on your little one. It depends on the type of mom you are. Here are some categories that illustrate how crying during pregnancy is bad for baby:
1. If You’re a Stressed Mother
Pregnancy can bring with it some stressful days. The occasional stress will not do any harm to your baby. However, if you have chronic anxiety and stress, it can cause your body to produce cortisol, a stress hormone. This hormone can be passed on to your baby through the placenta. If your baby is constantly exposed to this hormone while in the womb, it is possible that you will end up with an anxious and colicky newborn.
2. If You’re a Depressed Mother
Several women experience depression during pregnancy. In fact, it is estimated that around ten percent of all pregnant women are depressed. This is not good for your child as it can have an adverse impact on her later on in life. Children born to women who are clinically depressed were found likely to experience depression themselves as adults besides being afflicted by emotional setbacks.
3. If You’re a Mother Who Resents Her Pregnancy
If you are a mom-to-be who is not happy about being pregnant and you resent the baby for putting you through physical and mental difficulties, it will most likely make matters worse. It has been seen that mothers who did not feel any attachment towards their unborn child were likely to have babies who would develop emotional problems in their childhood.
4. If You’re a Mother With Those Occasional Bad Days
The occasional stressful or depressing day is acceptable when you are pregnant. With so much going on mentally and physically during those nine months, it would be unreasonable to expect that you will be blissful and immune to the pain and discomfort. Occasional stress and depression will have no impact on the growth and development of your baby.
What You Can Do
Stress during pregnancy is quite natural, but it is important to deal with the stress-causing factors and move on. Some data suggests that when the mind is in constant stress with no attention paid to it, it can alter your body’s stress management system. This may trigger an inflammatory response – inflammation is said to cause poor pregnancy health and developmental problems in babies. Thus, it is important as a pregnant woman to listen to your body and eliminate stressors that are hampering your everyday life.
Talk to your partner, a close friend, or a family member about how you are feeling. Assess how often you are in a depressed mood. You might need to seek help if you are experiencing more than the occasional bout of depression and stress. Consulting a qualified medical professional will help you deal with it in the best possible way. There are anti-depressants that can be prescribed for pregnant women, and your doctor will be able to guide you on this. Also, you could look at making some lifestyle changes such as taking up a hobby, practicing meditation or yoga under the guidance of a qualified instructor. Eating healthy and nutritious food and distracting yourself from negative thoughts and emotions can also work wonders.
Here are some ways you can get rid of stress that is bogging you down:
- Eat at regular intervals. Try to avoid skipping out on meals as they can lead to mood swings and hunger pangs, causing one to overeat. Make sure that at least 2 portions of your meals include fruits, green, leafy veggies and nuts.
- Go to sleep on time, regularly. Giving your body the rest it needs is essential for a healthy and happy mom and baby. Try to get enough sleep that you don’t wake up feeling grumpy and underslept.
- Put your needs first. It’s tough being prengant and being constantly in demand at both work and home, but this is the time you get to take care of yourself unapologetically – get yourself a massage (after consulting your doctor), take yourself out for a movie or get yourself some parlour treatments at your favourite salon. Doing the things you like will bring down the stress significantly.
- Get some exercise. You don’t need to exhaust yourself in this process; simply getting your blood pumped will put you in a better mood. Set a time every day and go out for a walk. You could practice some yoga as well – the quiet environment that it warrants may help you get away from chaos. Exercising for 30 minutes every day is enough to get you out of stress – do so every day!
- Stay away from technology. This might be tough, but keeping your phone away for at least one-third of a day will help you find other ways to entertain yourself – reading, writing, painting, or just listening to music can help you forget all the stress that comes with constantly knowing about people’s lives on social media.
Your emotional well-being is important for your unborn child’s mental health and development right up to adulthood. So, make an attempt to keep your feelings in check during this crucial phase of your life. Keep yourself busy and occupied with getting things ready for the baby while keeping a watchful eye on your health. Trying some home remedies such as aromatherapy candles and meditation can be helpful during days when you are feeling restless. Though simple, these are some extremely effective means of combating stress and depression on a daily basis without the need for any medication.
Also Read: Laughing during Pregnancy