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June 17, 2015 7 min read
Not all aspects of pregnancy come with a glowing smile and excitement as the expectant mother decorates her infant’s nursery. Some parts of pregnancy can feel scary, and you may feel alone and isolated at times. Rushes of unwarranted anger, threads of anxiety, and shreds of sadness may darken some of the days counting up to your baby’s birthday. On the other hand, the happiness and joy of anticipating a new family member and a new challenge also lace together with the negative, creating the aura of motherly love that friends and family comment on.
Surging variations of emotions are entirely common during all trimesters of the pregnancy, as your body continues to change. Different factors play into the severity or intensity of emotions, including hormones or even just your own, completely normal anxieties about becoming a mother. Whether it is your first child or you have already had a few children, understanding and nurturing your emotional health during pregnancy is of high importance. It can redirect the course of your child’s development, and affect your own health and healing during and after the pregnancy.
Before taking an individual look at how emotions can affect your baby’s development and your overall well-being, it is important to understand where they come from and what could trigger them. A number of different changes happen to your body, from a shift in your metabolism, to fluctuations of hormones, to simplistic needs such as sleep or hunger. Each of these factors have a hand in the intensity and occurrence of emotional patterns – both positive and negative. Most of the dramatic changes in mood happen during your first trimester, when some of the most dramatic bodily changes occur. Emotional fluctuations may also occur during the final trimester, when the body experiences final changes to prepare for birth.
Hormones are biochemicals that circulate in your blood stream, performing functions such as regulating body responses – including queueing you to respond to certain stimuli emotionally. Some of the most influential hormones that fluctuate during pregnancy include oxytocin, endorphins, prolactin, oestrogen, and progesterone. Oestrogen and progesterone help your body conceive the fetus, allowing it to attach itself to the uterus lining. They also influence your body’s growing supply of blood. Relaxin, another hormone, helps the uterus stretch to the needed size to house the baby, and also allows your skeleton to literally relax to prepare for bone shifting during birth.
Oxytocin is the hormone that helps your body feel less stressed, and influences your mind to enjoy more positive emotions. It is the hormone that creates positive feelings, and is especially associated with the bond between a mother and child. Endorphins are another example that work similarly to oxytocin, and can influence you to feel either strong surges of positivity or surges of more negative emotions. Finally, prolactin helps your body produce milk for your baby before and after it is born. Each of these examples can directly influence your emotional triggers, dictating your mood and the way you handle stress.
It can be easy to let our emotions get the best of us – even on a typical day. When you are going through a pregnancy, the intensity of emotions can double, seeming to take over your life and thought patterns. Some of these emotions are negative, and have an impact on the development of the fetus as well as your own personal health and mental well-being. While it is normal to feel overwhelmed at the thought of becoming a parent or preparing all the necessities for the new arrival, letting them get the best of you and become a part of your daily life can have some serious effects on your child’s growth. Here are some common negative emotions that arise during pregnancy, and how they affect your baby.
Anger can take a major toll on the development of your baby, and it may not show up until later down the road. Despite all of the frustration and irritation you may experience while preparing for the new arrival, you will want to steer clear of anger as much as possible. One study showed that women who experienced high amounts of intense anger during their pregnancies had fetuses that developed more slowly than average, and exhibited more physical activity in the womb. Once these babies were born, they experienced unregulated sleep patterns and behavior irregularities.
Stress has long been thought to have a negative effect on pregnancy, and it is true! Stressing yourself out during pregnancy can force your body into a preterm labor or birth, resulting in a greater potential for miscarriage or premature birth. It can also contribute to your baby developing health problems even after it leaves the womb. Even more importantly, from conception to birth, your growing fetus, as an individual organism, uses certain stimuli from its surrounding environment to decipher how it will develop throughout the pregnancy. Thus, a heightened level of stress in the mother could result in the baby’s predisposition to tend toward stressful mindsets throughout its own life.
Sadnessor depression is an unpleasant experience for both the mother and the baby. However, should you start experiencing this range of emotions, it is important to understand that you are not alone. Feelings of depression, sadness, and isolation can affect up to fifteen percent of pregnancies. While it is fairly common for women to experience these feelings, the physiological effects of this emotional range can translate through the placenta to change the way that the fetus’s brain develops. The results can happen years down the road, as the child has a higher likelihood of developing depression during his or her teenage years.
Just like the previously discussed negative emotions, positive emotions can also be just as intense and overwhelming. They also have a similarly noticeable impact on your bundle of joy’s development and growth, both in the womb and out in the world. The type of emotions you experience on a day-to-day basis can greatly impact your health during the pregnancy and that of your baby. Positive emotions have a good influence on your experience, and while hormones are often difficult to control, maintaining control over your emotions can produce excellent, rewarding results for both you and your baby. Here are some examples of positive emotions that women experience during pregnancy, and the role they play in a child’s development.
Happinessis highly important for both your help and that of your baby. Some experts suggest that happiness can fuel strength and health for your fetus. Keeping a positive outlook throughout your pregnancy can help set the stage of emotional well-being and good mental health for your child as it grows into adulthood. While it may be difficult for you to take a hold of your emotions during this ever-changing time period, opting for and ensuring your personal happiness allows your body to release hormones and that enhance and intensify positive emotions, such as oxytocin and the endorphins that make you feel loved and comfortable.
Anticipationcan also be labeled as nesting during pregnancy. It is an instinctive manner of emotional, mental, and physical preparation for the baby. It requires time spent preparing the room that your baby will stay in, and ensuring that you have the needed supplies to properly care for the infant. It can also entail some emotions that may seem negative, but in reality, are just your body’s way of ensuring that you are ready to have the child in your care. Emotions that come along with nesting include frustration that you are still pregnant and restlessness. Many women feel a need to clean or put the room together until it is to their satisfaction. If you have these feelings, fear not! They are natural, and you can indulge in cleaning your home. Just avoid tiring yourself out.
Joycan help your child develop a good, positive attitude that lasts a lifetime. Plus, joy is a fairly easy emotion to achieve, considering the excitement and anticipation surrounding the big birthday. Joy and other positive emotions regulate a healthy, normal blood flow, bringing nutrients and other needed forms of sustenance to your baby in a proper manner. Additionally, joy will boost your immune system, which is of high importance during this time period. Since you cannot take any medications unless otherwise directed by your doctor or obstetrician, keeping a strong immune system throughout the pregnancy is paramount to keep you from getting sick and ensure your baby’s strength.
If you feel as though you are struggling to keep your emotions on a positive level, then you certainly are not alone. There are a number of ways to engage with your emotions on a positive level to make your pregnancy a more positive experience. If you have close friends or family members who are also pregnant, opening up to them could provide a much needed outlet for you. Many women also seek out counseling either in the form of one-on-one sessions with a counselor, or group meetings involving a number of other pregnant women. For some natural approaches to managing your emotions, check out our blog posts on depression and anxiety.
Whether you are just embarking upon starting a new family, or simply adding another addition to your already growing one, we want to help you make the healthiest decisions when it comes to preparing for a new arrival. From housecleaning and nutrition, to selecting a maternity wardrobe and dealing with the flood of emotions and body changes in a positive way, our blog posts will provide you with the information you need to ensure a healthy, natural beginning for your little bundle of joy. For more guidance and information on delegating an organic pregnancy, see parts one, two, three, four, and five. Make starting a healthy family a part of your personal healthy mission today. Become a member of the growing face naturals family, too!
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