How does Yelling Affect your unborn Child

Reviewed by James Brann, MD
Pregnancy can be stressful, especially if you and your partner do not see eye-to-eye on things. If your relationship is in turmoil and your hormones are raging, it may be really difficult to control your emotions. Surprisingly enough, this happens in a lot of relationships! Even couples who had a good relationship before the pregnancy may find themselves dealing with a lot of new changes.
Getting into screaming and shouting matches with your partner is upsetting. Controlling your mood swings is hard when you are pregnant, because you may be frustrated enough by all of the things going on inside your body. You know you should be calm and composed, relaxed and comfortable during your pregnancy, but what can you do about the other person who is causing you distress?

Does stress or fighting affect a fetus?

This question is asked by many mothers-to-be, and some feel too ashamed to admit their personal problems outside of the household. It can even be embarrassing to come to terms with the fact that your relationship with the baby’s father is not what you wish it could be, or should be. You may even feel envious of couples you see who have a supportive, loving man who takes care of their pregnant wife as if she were a queen. These men are hard to find, so if you do not want to leave your partner but just wish that he would be more compassionate, you are not alone.
Depression, anxiety and stress are very common problems these days, and just because you are pregnant does not mean these issues will magically go away.
The good news is that there is no evidence that yelling, shouting or fighting causes any brain damage to an unborn child. The bad news is that yelling, shouting or fighting CAN be detrimental for the mother. Stress of any kind can lead to other health issues. Some women report that after a fight with their partner, they may feel cramping, headaches, nauseous, and sleep apnea. These things can affect the baby’s heart rate, but it will not hurt the baby’s brain development. In extreme cases, stress may lead to premature labor.

The first thing you should do is talk to your doctor, and be honest. Explain that you and your spouse are in the midst of trying times and that you are having trouble controlling your emotions. Your doctor will explain the hormonal aspect of your pregnancy, and may be able to recommend treatments.

There are some additional things you can do for your own well-being. Joining a support group, such as a “Mommy Yoga” or even a meditation group, or a spiritual support group at your church, are positive things you can do to discuss your situation with other women. You will find that people are not judgmental, but rather compassionate towards your circumstances.

If you are a pregnant woman being abused, you should seek help immediately. Physical or mental abuse of any kind is unacceptable. Many married couples fight, however abuse is a totally separate matter and should be addressed. The unborn fetus is at risk if a mother is being hit, kicked, punched, and thrown or any type of physical altercations. Most married couples do have a fight, but this is where it crosses the line when violence becomes an issue.

Next time you do get into a screaming match, try to collect your thoughts. Just leave and come back when you both have a chance to cool off. For you and your baby’s sake, this is the best solution to having a peaceful pregnancy.


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