It can be a tough job being pregnant. Not only have you got yourself to look after, with a body that is constantly changing and strange pregnancy symptoms you hadn’t expected, but there’s an added growing individual inside, making additional demands on you. And with many women also trying to work and look after a family, it’s not surprising that stress occurs! But whilst a bit of stress is normal, too much could impact on both you and your baby, so just how can you learn to relax and unwind?
Learning to relax is a good move for both you and your baby. Research has shown that babies in the womb can pick up on the fact that you’re stressed and it may have an affect on them. “Maternal stress is an important predictor of a baby’s behaviour,” explains Mary Nolan, a National Childbirth Trust antenatal instructor. “Adrenaline and other chemicals released can have some effect. A Utrecht study in 2000 showed that if a baby’s brain, which is so plastic in pregnancy and during the early weeks, is exposed to high levels of stress, then there might be a behavioural effect later in life, such as your baby not settling easily.”