Doctors have said that stress levels in the first time mothers have increased 10% in the last five years in Mumbai. Diabetes and sedentary lifestyle are among the main contributors to this stress, which leads to high risk pregnancies.
Dr. Pooja Bandekar, Head, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital, Mumbai, has said that advancing age, lesser threshold for pain, a sedentary lifestyle, problems like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and other factors like IVF pregnancies, can cause high risk pregnancies.
Dr Bandekar added that the stress does not directly affect the baby as the factors causing stress are tackled and the babies are evaluated accordingly. Stress is not allowed to pass on to the baby as the corrective measures are taken on time. To de-stress, relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, change of activity, along with physical and physiological rest, are recommended.
Dr. Anu Vinod Vij from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Motherhood Hospital, Kharghar, says, “I have seen 7-8 % of first-time mothers experiencing stress in the last five years. Stress is commonly seen in the first time mothers who are in the higher age group, and are career oriented.”
Dr Vij added that these are mothers who have conceived with assisted reproductive treatment (ART). These treatments assist people in achieving pregnancy by addressing the cause of infertility. They include ovulation induction (OI) and artificial insemination (AI). These first time mothers are tense about how the pregnancy will go forward, Dr Vij said.
Dr Vij explained that the women may also exhibit symptoms like weakness, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite, owing to stress. Moreover, they may also get high blood pressure, which is a part and parcel of high age group.
She pointed out that both physical and emotional changes take place during pregnancy. Sometimes, the first time mothers may feel depressed, anxious and experience mood swings like crying for no reason. At times, they may feel happy out of proportion to the stimulus.
Furthermore, stress will cause high blood pressure and high pulse rate which will indirectly affect the baby. Psychologically, there is a connection between the mother’s and baby’s psyche.
“Relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, music therapy, and also identifying the triggers of stress, can be helpful. Furthermore, women who are stressed must discuss it with their husband and family members without any delay as this will help them deal with the stress,” explained Dr Vij.