Does stress or fighting affect a fetus? The good news is that there is no evidence that yelling, shouting or fighting causes any damage to an unborn child. The bad news is that yelling, shouting or fighting CAN be detrimental for mom.James W Brann, MD
Your Pregnancy MD
Pregnancy Week Thirty
Author James W. Brann, M.D.
Five fears of expectant mothers
Becoming a mother for the first time is unquestionably the biggest change of a woman’s life. Yes, marriage, losing your virginity, graduating and other firsts is right up there, but there is truly nothing that is so drastically life altering than bringing a new human being into the world. Indeed, motherhood comes with major responsibility, anxiety, happiness, stress, excitement and fear.
With all of the extra hormones a pregnancy woman has to deal with, sometimes these fears can kick in at the worst of times. One minute you are happily shopping for onesies, pacifiers and crib sheets, and the next you are spacing out in the middle of the aisle, trying to get a grip over your thoughts.
Rest assured, these thoughts are normal. Often, they are unwarranted, but at the same time, irrational fears can be scary for any new mother-to-be.
Although there may be more fears not on this list, the following 5 fears of expectant mothers are commonly faced by many new parents:
- 1. Fear of never being able to do anything personal again.
We’ve all seen moms who look tired, stressed, or who complain about never being able to go out and do things after the baby is born. Even simple things, such as going to the hair salon or going out to dinner with a friend, often fall by the wayside in exchange for changing poopy diapers, sleepless nights and breastfeeding. A pregnant mom might even feel guilty about thinking this way, wondering if she is just plain too selfish for parenthood.
While it is true that your schedule drastically changes once the baby comes, it does not mean that you should stop being you or doing things that you enjoy. If you like jogging, for example, you could invest in a jogger stroller. If you want to visit a friend and it seems like too much of a hassle to bring the baby along, find help to relieve you for a couple of hours a week. A grandparent, aunt or uncle of the child, or even a reliable babysitter will do wonders for your sanity and make you feel like you can still be “you” and not just “mommy”.
- 2. Fear of body changes, such as stretch marks, weight gain, pot belly, etc.
You worked hard to keep your curvy, girlish figure. Now the baby is coming along, and you wonder, “Will my body ever look the same?” The simple answer is, no. However, your body can look as good as it does pre-pregnancy, if not better, if you are committed and do not give up on yourself.
There are many ways you can overcome the imperfections, but if you ask any woman if she would trade her child in for the body she used to have, 99.9% of all moms would say, “No way.” Embrace your imperfections and be confident that you will be a wonderful mother!
- 3. Fear of baby being born with defects or health issues.
It happens, and there is nothing you can do about it. Taking care of you during pregnancy is the best precaution against any birth defects or health issues. Try not to worry or becoming obsessed with the “what-ifs” because these negative thoughts will drive you crazy. Remember that positive thoughts lead to positive outcomes, so worrying about something you have no control over is just a waste of your time and energy.
- 4. Fear of inexperience leading to accidental injury of your child.
This fear can keep you tossing and turning all night long! Newborn babies are so fragile, and if you are a mother who has not been around babies all that much or feel inexperienced with children, this fear is perfectly understandable! Some mothers with this fear worry they will drop the baby, or trip and fall while holding it, or pick it up the wrong way and somehow hurts its floppy little head, or that they won’t put the right blankets in the crib, or feed the baby wrong, and the list goes on! Rest assured, none of these things are likely to happen. You will make a mistake or two as a mother, but you are given the right instincts to protect your baby naturally. Nature will kick in after you have your child, and the love you have will be enough to protect your baby from most anything, even from your own clumsiness.
- 5. Fear of childbirth. Women swap stories with new mothers about their own labor pains, which can actually lead to these anxieties. If a mother tries to tell you about her labor that lasted 36 hours and how excruciatingly painful it was, politely bow out of the conversation. The last thing you need are people “stoking the fire” and making your fears even more terrifying.
Some women only experience mild discomfort during childbirth, and there are ways you can increase your odds of having a less painful delivery. Taking care of yourself during pregnancy, chiropractic care or massages, yoga, exercise and other types of methods can help you deliver a healthy baby. As many women will tell you, the pain of childbirth will soon be forgotten by the very moment you hold your newborn in your arms for the first time. So take a deep breath, relax and keep a positive attitude about your pregnancy. Again, you will survive and get through it like a champion.
Body Changes at 30 Weeks of Pregnancy
At 30 weeks pregnant the amount of amniotic fluid in your tummy will start decreasing slowly as your baby continues to grow and takes up most of the space in your uterus. Your uterus has likely reached around 4 inches above your navel now. Though you may think it impossible to grow any further, you still have 10 weeks to go!
There is no question in your mind that by 30 weeks you are definitely very pregnant. By now your body’s production of progesterone is increasing. You may find that you are having more trouble sleeping comfortably at night as your tummy expands. A pregnancy body pillow may help you feel more comfortable at night, so invest in one while you still can. You’ll find a pillow brings tremendous comfort even after you give birth!
Some women find they have a hard time shifting from one position to another. Consider wearing slippery or silky pajamas paired with silky sheets. Believe it or not this can make it much easier shifting positions at night when you feel big and bulky. If you are having much difficulty sleeping at night try to make up for it by catching a brief nap or two during the day. Some women find they sleep best in a semi upright position or in a recliner where they can rest comfortably without having to shift their tummies from here to there.
You are also likely a bit off balance. During the last trimester of pregnancy certain hormones in your body have caused your joints to loosen to prepare for delivery. This may actually shift your balance. Other women find their feet grow an entire size during pregnancy. Unfortunately this is not a side effect that will go back to normal after pregnancy. Don’t fret, just by a comfortable pair of shoes. Speaking of, you’d do well to wear a comfortable pair of shoes or slippers a little big during delivery. Some women swell up quite a bit after an epidural and find they are unable to put their shoes on for the ride home. A pair of comfortable slippers will easily solve this problem and make for a convenient ride home.
How does Yelling Affect your unborn Child
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.
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.
Asking Dads to do more after Baby without Feeling Guilty
For mothers, it seems very natural to bond with your new baby. After all, you have been waiting for nine months to meet the life that has been growing inside of you. Now that he or she is finally here, your maternal instincts have made it possible to spend time feeding, rocking, holding, changing and bathing the baby.
Even if your husband or partner was a great supporter in the delivery room, this is no guarantee that he will share the same feelings or effort as you do. Some “modern” men find it easy to step up to the plate, while other men have a difficult time pitching in. There are still men out there who feel that raising a newborn is designed for the mom, whereas the dad feels more like a passenger than the driver when it comes to his role doing baby duties.
Communication is Key
The best way to
avoid fighting over the roles and responsibilities of parenthood is to share
your expectations with one another even before the baby arrives. You and your
partner should have a conversation about “whose” job it is to care for the
baby, and at what times. Failure to communicate can be problematic, because
both parents can become overwhelmed by the countless tasks involved in caring
for a baby.
Aside from feeding, burping, changing diapers, bathing, dressing, and many other “baby-related” duties, you will still have the regular chores of the household to maintain. These chores become even more difficult when there is a baby at home, because the workload often doubles. More laundry, more dishes, more errands to run and other unknown chores can take over your life. Even for a stay-at-home mother, these things can be tough to manage. That is why having two parents is essential, especially within those first few critical years of a baby’s life.
If you have a
spouse that seems to sit back and let you do most of the work, you should not
be afraid to ask for more help. Even if he never had to cook or do the dishes
before the baby came along, it is only fair to pitch in and lend a hand in the
caring for the baby. Some men get “shy” about a newborn, either because they
are afraid of hurting the infant or because they simply do not feel
comfortable. Men usually step up more as the child grows and is able to play
with him, but new babies can scare some men away, especially men who have never
been around babies much to begin with.
Especially during the first month of a baby’s life, their necks are not strong enough to hold up their heads. Some men worry that the baby is too fragile. Others do not know what to do with a baby and have difficulty connecting. You can suggest things to your spouse to ease their comfort. Suggest a few things like these, for starters:
- Changing a diaper
- Taking a shift for a midnight feeding
- Watching the baby for an hour so that you can run an errand
- Helping with a few baby-related chores or household chores that he would not normally do
- Playing with the baby, either with a rattle, ball or musical toy
- Reading a story to the baby
- Holding and rocking the baby
- Taking a bath with the baby in shallow water
Although some of these
things might make him nervous or push the boundaries, they are necessary for
Dads to learn and bond with their new son or daughter. If nothing else,
encourage him to be silly with the child. Babies do love their daddies for this
reason, because mothers are more of the nurturers, while fathers often take on
the role of disciplinary, or provider. When the baby gets older, Dad will
become more and more comfortable and will enjoy taking his child to the
playground or to other fun activities. It is when the babies are infants that
father sometimes have a tougher time adapting, mainly because they have never
been around babies as much.
Once again, it would be wise to discuss these things with your mate even before the baby is born; or in some cases, even before the baby is conceived. This can save many problems or failed expectations, which leads to marital problems, resentment or disappointments.
Coping Tactics for Dads-to-Be
When people think of postnatal depression, they usually think of mothers as having it. However, many fathers develop postnatal depression as well, and more commonly than not. Also known as PND – this type of depression can happen either gradually or suddenly, depending on the individual. The Medical Research Council revealed that one in twenty-eight fathers experienced PND within the first year of the birth of a child.
Understandably, it is an
adjustment for fathers too. They go from having frequent intimate relationships
with their spouses to suddenly the baby takes first priority. Some fathers feel
slighted or overlooked by their mates. Suddenly their wife is “ga-ga” about
someone else, when before the baby came along she may have spent more time
doting on him.
Financial pressures also take a toll on dads. Suddenly, instead of spending time going out on dates, they must bring home a box of diapers, can of baby formula, toys, clothes, sneakers, baby furniture, and more. Especially in unplanned pregnancies, this is something many fathers feel unprepared for. This can lead to depression in men, and in some severe cases it can alienate his relationship or ability to connect with the child.
There are some men who fear the baby, feeling as though by holding it or touching it, the newborn might break. Babies cannot hold their head up for about a month after birth, which can be scary for a masculine guy. He may have anxiety about changing diapers, especially if he has a weak stomach. These are among the many reasons that such an adjustment is tough on dads, too, not just mothers.
So, what can a father-to-be do to prevent the likeliness of depression? Coping strategies are not just for expectant mothers. Here are some suggestions for dads-to-be as they move into a new stage of maturity by becoming a parent:
- Participate more in the decisions about the child. By becoming more involved, the father can become more connected to the baby both before birth and afterwards.
- Communicate your needs. Men are naturally less apt to talk about their feelings, but reaching out and expressing things that cause you anxiety, resentment or nervousness can be a good way to overcome them.
- Spiritual counseling or therapy. Many men will refuse to admit that anything is wrong, but inside they feel like shouting. Anger can stem from not being able to discuss the things that are bothering you, and therapy or spiritual counsel should not be taken as a sign of weakness, but rather as strength. The strongest people are those who can admit they have needs that are unmet.
- If the baby is crying and you feel overwhelmed or like you want to snap, get help immediately. Call someone, whether it is the mother, your brother, mother or anyone. Don’t stay alone with an infant if you feel unable to handle the care.
- Bond with the baby right away, even before birth. Dads who participate more, like going to the doctor’s appointments with their spouse, seeing ultrasound pictures, doing a family “maternity” shoot with a photographer, or building a nursery may be more likely to connect with the baby than those who leave all of those things up to their spouse.
- Talk to the belly. Evidence reveals that babies can hear and become familiar with the family’s voices, especially the mothers. But Dads can also listen to the baby’s heartbeat, talk to the baby through the belly, feel the baby kicking and be more actively involved with the pregnancy.
- Make time for yourself. Keep your workout at the gym, or your golf game with the guys once a week, or whatever enjoyment you need. Everyone needs a refresher, especially new parents; both the mothers and fathers.
- Keep a date night with your mate. People say this, but it is true. To keep that flame burning between you and your significant other, you must make time for just the two of you. Alone. Without the baby. In fact, make it a pact to talk about non-baby related topics while on your date.
For dads-to-be, the day their son or daughter is born can be filled with anxiety, or even terror. Try not to be afraid and embrace your new role as “Dad”. Remember, this child will look up to you forever, so be that Dad that sets the best example and role model for your kid.
Why You Should Listen to Your Motherly Instincts Instead of Everyone Else
From the moment you announce your pregnancy to all of your relatives, friends or even distant acquaintances, you should be prepared to be bombarded with tons of advice! This often continues even after you have your baby, and sometimes you may be confused about the best thing to do. After all, some of these people have a lot more experience than you do, especially if this is your first child. This is also true with doctors and pediatricians who may give you certain advice that you do not agree with. There are so many things. From whether you should have your baby naturally, underwater or get a cesarean, or whether or not you should get an epidural. Then after the baby comes the advice will pour in as to when your baby should be ready to eat solid foods, whether you should have your child immunized all at once or spread it out over months, to sleep patterns or whether or not to co-sleep with your child.
All of these different opinions can certainly make any new parent’s head spin. Guess what? None of these opinions ultimately matter when it comes to your baby. Unless it jeopardizes your baby’s health – which most mothers would never do – then you should mostly go with your gut on all matters concerning your baby.
Why listening to your maternal instincts is best
You are unique. The way you were raised was totally different than the way someone else was raised. Maybe you saw things about the way you were brought up that you liked and thought were right, and maybe you saw things you would have done differently. Ultimately, you have to figure out what parenting strategies will work best for you and your own baby.
Most of these things do
not even matter in the grander scheme of things. Does it really matter whether
your baby’s first bit of solid food was rice or turnip? Does it matter whether the
baby was five months or six months? Not really. For some mothers, it worked for
them, and so they feel compelled to share what worked for them with you.
the doctor, this is more difficult to do. For example, Western medicine may
have a different philosophy than you do. You may be encouraged to do something
that goes against what you feel strongly in your heart not to do, but listen to
your instincts. If your doctor says your baby needs to get shots every six
months but you have recently read up on high mercury contents and are worried
about getting too much in your baby all in one dose, then offer a compromise.
You can say, “You know, I don’t feel comfortable getting three shots for my
baby today, so just do one and I will come back in a few weeks to do the
others.” This is just one example. If you feel good with it, fine, but if you
feel strongly swayed to go against something that is pulling at your heart,
then do not be afraid of saying no.
Many women fear putting their baby in harm’s way, yet they do by going against the internal gift that all mothers are given. Yes, mothers are born with an inherent instinct to protect their babies and this is something that nearly all mothers have, unless they have somehow been marred by a past bad experience. However, most bad judgment calls as parents are often made by confusion, indecision or going against your feelings.
Will you make mistakes as a parent? Of course. You are not perfect, you are human. As long as your child grows up to be healthy, happy and a good person, you have done well. You cannot control everything.
Be mindful of the way you feel, because most of the time, you will be correct. As a mother, you have a unique bond with your baby, and even if your own mother or your spouse’s mother, or your best friend or the pediatrician tell you that you “have” to do something and you do not feel good about it, then listen to your motherly instincts. 99% of the time, they will be accurate.
Stop Being Insecure About Motherhood
When you become a mother, everything changes. Suddenly, you are responsible for this little, helpless and vulnerable human life that you have created. Suddenly, it brings up insecurities within you that you never knew you had. You may secretly think things like:
- “Will I be good enough?”
- “I hope I don’t accidentally hurt my baby.”
- “I hope my kid doesn’t grow up to be a brat or a bully.”
- “What I do something wrong?”
- “Am I going to be a good mom?”
The list of insecurities
is really endless, and although on some days you might feel as though you have
it all together, then you see these other mothers who seem to have it down pat.
Society adds to this pressure with its continual efforts of perfection. People
are quick to point out the flaws of bad mothers, while rarely highlighting the
efforts of good mothers.
Has anyone ever stopped to think how this affects a child?
The best thing you can do for your children is just be there for them. Be there emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, physically and in a nurturing way. Quality interactions are what matter, so even though the pressures to be perfect are always there; the good news is that as long as you offer consistency in the most fundamental aspects of your child’s development, he or she will have a better shot at becoming a worthwhile member of society.
A child doesn’t care how
much money you make or even how many things they have. You put pressure on
yourself to provide as much as you can for your child, but when a child goes
without, they do appreciate those times when you are able to give them more
than they are accustomed to. Spoiling a child has irreversible effects and
being absent – such as working all the time, for example – is also worse for
your child than giving them less and being there more.
can never be replaced. The moments you spend together reading a book, chasing
your child down the slide at the park, taking walks, building forts out of
blankets and kitchen chairs, bird watching, or any other number of hobbies, are
far more important to your child than having the biggest toy at the toy store.
Of course your child will ask for the biggest toy, as it is in their nature.
And they may have seen that biggest toy at their friend’s house, but in the
grander scheme of things, these material things do not make you a better parent
than the one who works 60+ hours a week and is rarely there to see their kids.
Another insecurity of many parents is the need to appear perfect in the eyes of other people. If your child cries at the grocery store – which will inevitably happen – it can be mortifying. It can make you wonder what people think of you or what you did. “Wow, that poor kid has a mean mom,” you might think that others perceive of you. This is not the case. In fact, you might learn that most people feel compassionate and understanding. They are parents, too. They’ve been there and done that.
Just do your best and stick to what you know is right. Stop letting everyone else dictate your skills as a parent, and start believing in yourself!
You are a great parent, and whether your parents were good or bad people, you can still be a great parent to your own children. Bad habits do not have to be handed down from one generation to the next. If you notice that you are doing things that you hated your parents did to you, then get help or counseling. Read some inspirational stories. Just take a step back.
Benefits of Maintaining a Positive Attitude during Pregnancy
Being pregnant is usually a time of happiness for most women, but not for every woman. Women who were not expecting to become pregnant or who are involved in a tumultuous relationship, or who got pregnant as a result of rape, for example may not feel happy about their pregnancy at all. Although this is hard to imagine for women who are normal, joyful and who have planned pregnancies, it is important that no matter what circumstances led to this pregnancy, that you maintain a positive (and sane) attitude.
You may be already aware
that stress and conflict affects your health. So does negativity. However, if
you are wondering if that would have any impact on the baby growing inside of
you, it does. There have been studies around the globe that prove the greater
potential for lower birth weights, or that traumatic events can even impact a
baby’s brain development. One Danish study of babies born between 1973 – 1995
had a 67% bigger risk of developing psychological disorders, such as bipolar or
schizophrenia, when the mother was subjected to extreme stress.
Preterm or premature delivery is another hazard, which can also be dangerous for your baby. Although technology has come a long way to help save premature babies, the risks involved with your baby’s health can be very costly. Remember that your baby feels what you are feeling.
Stress is inevitable sometimes, and perhaps your life is not as hunky dory as you wish it would be. Work stress, financial strains or painful relationships sometimes present themselves upon us, whether we ask for it, like it, or not. But at least while you are pregnant, try not to lose you cool. Your hormones may make you feel highly emotional at times. One minute you might be laughing and the next, you might feel like crying. Try to manage and be aware of things that trigger a mental breakdown and avoid these things!
Here are some simple ways to keep your cool and maintain a healthy attitude, for your baby’s sake:
- Try breathing exercises, or yoga
- Learn the art of meditation
- Divert your attention to something else when you feel negative thoughts or anger
- Take care of your health by eating nutritious foods and exercising
- Join prenatal classes to surround yourself with a positive support system
- Call a spiritual counselor, minister, pastor or therapist
- Leave the stressful situation immediately
- Go for a walk somewhere that relaxes you, like the park, beach or nature trail
What are the benefits of maintaining a positive attitude during pregnancy?
Science and philosophers
have already determined that positive or negative thoughts and events can
affect the outcomes, so as you would imagine, having negative thoughts,
anxiety, worrying or bad feelings can lead to undesirable outcomes.
Consider that your mind is like a scale, and if you put too many rocks on one side, it will tip the scale to one side or the other. If you put too many rocks on the negative side, they become difficult to lift. Every time you have a negative thought, try redirecting it and imagine it landing on the other side. You can eventually tip the scale to your favor just through this simple, mental exercise of redirection.
For example, your baby smiling for the first time could be one “rock” on your positive scale. So every time you have a negative thought and feel the scale pulling you in the wrong direction, just imagine how beautiful your baby will be or how much joy you will feel the first time you see smiling, laughter, googling and those big eyes looking at you with wonder and love.
The benefits of
keeping a positive attitude are many. You have a higher likeliness of having a
healthy baby, most importantly. The baby will be more likely to be carried
through to full term, as well as less likely to develop brain disorders later
Another reason is that recent studies indicate the unborn fetus can hear, listen and understand the sound of a mother’s voice even before birth. Talking or reading to your baby can promote the comfort and love that a baby needs. You are the nurturer and nothing on earth can replace a mother’s love for her child. Try giving your baby some early “pep” talks or words of positive affirmation.
- “I can’t wait to meet you, my little angel.”
- “Every day I feel closer to you, precious baby.”
- “The energy I give you today will make you strong and healthy.”
- “Good morning, sweet baby. Today we are going to have a wonderful day.”
You may think this sounds odd, but it is not only beneficial to your baby’s health, it is beneficial to yours. Stress can make you sick, weak, or cause health problems down the road. Those rocks that weigh you down with negativity will eventually crush you. So, for the baby’s sake, and yours, avoid stress and stay positive, no matter how difficult some days can be.
Your Baby at 30 Weeks Pregnant
By pregnancy week 30 your baby already weighs in at roughly 2.9 pounds and is just about 15.7 inches in length!
Your baby continues her amazing growth and development. By this time your baby is working diligently to fill out your uterus each and every day. You have probably noticed your tummy at times looks like a foreign object. Your baby will stealthily as time goes on move an arm or a leg or both across your belly every now and again. Many parents enjoy this time tremendously and try to identify what body parts are moving from here to there as they continue their pregnancy journey.
While you may find it difficult to discern one body part from another, know that a long, hard flat surface is probably your little one’s back, while a slightly rounder surface may be your tiny ones bottom! You can check in with your doctor at healthcare visits to confirm or disprove your beliefs!