Can stress bring on labor ( A Comprehensive Guide)

Can stress bring on labor

 If Someone asks you a  question i.e. Can stress bring on labor?

The answer is definitely “yes’.

Most of the pregnancies cases like almost around 90% last completely to their terms i.e. 37Most pregnancies (or about 90 percent of them, roughly speaking) last to a term which is in between 37 to 40 weeks of pregnancy.

But in some cases, baby sometimes arrives sooner than the expected date and is known as premature or preterm labor which can occur after 20 weeks of pregnancy and before the 37th week of pregnancy, and if it is even before that than it is considered as a miscarriage.

The latest research done in this field by March of Dimes suggests that the number of premature labor cases is on the rise constantly and there is roughly 10% of moms who can find their pregnancy to be shortened to an unexpected seven or eight months.

Here in this article, we will be discussing what are the reasons behind these premature labors especially stress, and what steps can be taken to prevent it?

Can stress bring on labor ( A Comprehensive Guide)

Causes of early Labor 

While there are not any specific reasons for the causes of premature labor, researchers and experts have pointed out a number of factors that might play a role in triggering such events.

Some of these events are given below:

  • Smoking, alcohol, and drug use: These behaviors are not only harmful to your health but also increase your risk of miscarriage. This can also result in your baby being born before time or having a low birth weight as the toxins might result in hindering the baby from getting the necessary oxygen for her growth. Pregnancy is one of the most stable reasons to quit smoking.
  • The short interval between pregnancies: One of the other reasons can be to have short intervals between pregnancies like getting pregnant before 18 months after giving birth to the last child can also increase the chances of a premature labor birth. The longer you can wait between two pregnancies and increase the interval, the less risk you are at. Recent studies also found that 20% of the women who wait for less than a year between pregnancies for their child gave birth to their other child before the 37-week mark of a healthy birth. As for those who wait between a year and 18 months this rate drops to 10 percent whereas it is less than 8 percent for those waiting for more than 18 months.
  • Uterine and vaginal infections: Both types of infections in the genital area such as the sexually transmitted disease and the bacterial vaginosis, along with the other infections in uterus and amniotic fluid are also held responsible for almost half of the premature births. According to experts these infections cause inflammation which can lead to the release of the same substance known as prostaglandins which is released when initiating labor during full term. These urinary infections if not treated can have the same result.
  • Stress levels: Researchers also summarized that several emotional stress levels can also result in premature birth or labor. This can be because of a traumatic experience that can further lead to the release of hormones and can trigger the labor contractions beforehand. If Someone asks you a  question i.e. Can stress bring on labor? You should answer yes, stress could be one of the major reasons for preterm labor.
  • Occupational factors: Stress on the job or too much workload and the thoughts related to workday can also end up in having premature labor. Researchers have also found that women who are more physically exhausted during their work or the ones whose work involves standing up for a very long time are more likely to deliver early than their desired full-term pregnancy.
  • Carrying multiples: There is also a chance to give birth early if mom is carrying multiples rather than singletons. Also considering that infertility treatments have a higher possibility of mom conceiving multiples than a singleton.
  • Maternal age: Women with ages ranging below 7 and above 35 are more likely to deliver prematurely as compared with others which is one of the main reasons for doctors to consider high-risk pregnancy in the case of older women.
  • A previous preterm birth: If there has been one premature labor already given by you previously then there is a high risk that your next will also be a preterm one. 
  • If you were preterm yourself. Another study was done in 2015 also found out that women who were born prematurely have a higher rate to give preterm or premature birth. Although these stats vary based on the period of how early you were born yourself.

One of the main reasons to go into preterm labor is because of stress and if you are having one then it is pretty hard to deal with the symptoms of pregnancy under stress.

It becomes harder to cope up with all of the stuff that comes in addition to you because of pregnancy.

Although it is challenging to cope up with stress during pregnancy, it is important for you to relax..

Chronic stress can increase your chances of going into premature labor or having a small baby so it is best to relax and give yourself some time while thinking about the betterment of the baby coming into this world. Can stress bring on labor?

Yes, stress is also one of the main reasons for preterm labor.

Now we discuss this in detail: Can stress bring on labor. 

Can stress bring on labor ( A Comprehensive Guide)

Can Stress bring on Labor

 Can stress bring on labor? Yes, stress is also one of the main reasons for preterm labor.

The start of labor is not fully understood and can be taken as a complex process as multiple hormones are evolving alongside the body system for both the baby and mother and to predict when the labor time will start is pretty much difficult.

As labor is pretty much hard to understand and study, it is hard for scientists to pinpoint the reason behind preterm labor but because of studies, done stress is taken as one of the reasons for such cases.

Case studies show that mothers who are experiencing more stress during pregnancy are more likely to go into premature or preterm labor as compared to others.

Chronic stress can bring on labor due to constant changes in the body.

The body may react in a number of ways when put through stressful situations.

For instance in some cases the blood pressure might increase whereas sometimes heart rate might and hormones might also flood the body.

This is also important to realize that there can be two types of stress levels i.e. it can either be chronic or acute.

  • Under acute stress, the reaction or response shown by the body is short-lived or temporary and after a certain time period the body returns to its original normal state.
  • Under chronic stress, the stress level or the thing bothering you is recurring and ongoing which results in the body never coming back into its original or normal state.

Acute stress is temporary and short-lived so it does not increase the risk of the mother going into premature labor.

For instance, if you are having trouble paying the bills or have an argument with the father of the baby, you are not at a high-risk stage for now.

If Someone asks you a  question i.e. Can stress bring on labor? The answer is definitely yes

Whereas in the case of chronic stress these changes, as it is recurring and obstructs your body to come back to its normal condition, doctors think that this is the kind of stress that contributes towards premature labor.

Chronic stress results in long term changes in the body which can be related to hormone levels, the vascular system of the body, and the ability to fight the infection from within.

These changes in the body can all affect the time of labor and can force the labor to start before the full term of the baby.

For instance, dealing with a divorce while being pregnant or hearing about the death of a loved one might result in causing chronic stress which will end up in increasing the risk for you to go into premature labor.

In this article, we can learn how and can stress bring on labor. 

Can stress bring on labor: How to Reduce Stress During Pregnancy

There are a number of things that can be done to reduce the stress level during pregnancy or even if you are not pregnant, these are some wonderful ideas to relieve your stress and reduce your stress levels.

There is a need for more research in this field to see if what are the relaxation strategies that help in decreasing the risk of premature labor but if there is anything like chronic stress that can be reduced using the following exercises which might reduce the chance of you going into a preterm birth.

If Someone asks you a  question i.e. Can stress bring on labor?

The answer is definitely yes. Learn how to manage stress during pregnancy. 

  • Counseling: One of the studies done by researchers shows that mothers who were having chronic stress were less likely to deliver early than their full-term date when they were given psychological counseling during their pregnancy. 
  • Exercise: One of the other things that can help in reducing chronic stress levels is exercise but make sure to talk with your doctor before starting any kind of exercise program especially the ones which have high impact workouts and can result in being too risky for your pregnancy. Yoga is one of the exercises that have proven to help out during pregnancy and can reduce the risk of premature labor and can be done during your pregnancy as it is safe but it is still better to talk it out with your physician first. 
  • Alternative therapies: Acupuncture, aromatherapy, massage, and hypnotherapy have also shown improvements during pregnancy and are helpful to reduce stress. Although researches in this field are not enough to make sure that they also play a vital role in reducing the risk of preterm birth or not.
Can stress bring on labor ( A Comprehensive Guide)

Can stress bring on labor: Managing Stress During Pregnancy

 In this article, we can learn how can stress bring on labor and how to manage it.

If Someone asks you a  question i.e. Can stress bring on labor? The answer is definitely yes.

To manage stress levels during pregnancy, here are some of the things that can be considered or taken into account: 

  • Writing journal which can help you to process experiences
  • Meditation or offering prayers if religion can help you to refocus on things.
  • Asking others to help you with tasks around the house can help lessen up your burden
  • Coordinate with the childcare help or support so you can have your own rest when needed
  • Aromatherapy and Epsom salt soaks or baths
  • Making an appointment with a therapist
  • Planning and budgeting your maternity leave beforehand to avoid any kind of rush
  • Choosing a maternity healthcare provider which also offers care afterward so that your care during pregnancy and afterward is not much of a stress.
  • Do some activity you enjoy, take some time out for yourself.
  • Find out about the local resources that can be used to assist you financially, if the financial needs are an ongoing and major stressor. 
Can stress bring on labor ( A Comprehensive Guide)

FAQ about Can stress bring on Labor 

Can stress bring on Labour?

Researchers have found out that chronic stress levels like that in case of traumatic events can increase the risk of going into premature labor and can trigger the release of hormones that are only released once the full term period is met. 

What does stress do to an unborn baby?

High-level stress can cause different health problems which might result in heart diseases or even high blood pressures.

During the dates of pregnancy, stress levels can also increase the risk of having a premature baby which is born before the full term or also a baby with low weight and not fully healthy.

References 

Colleen de Bellefonds (2018): “Preterm Labor”

Cheryl Bird (2020): Can Stress Cause Premature Labor?

 Maria Pyanov (2018): “ Can Stress Cause You To Go Into Labour?

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Daniela Paez is a Clinical Psychologist with an MSc. In Clinical Neuropsychology from Bangor University. She has vast experience in working with children with disabilities, adolescents and their families, in extreme conditions of poverty and vulnerability. Additionally, she owns a private practice where she provides neuropsychological evaluation for children and adults, and treatment for mood disorders, anxiety, couple therapy, among other conditions.