We use the word stress quite a bit these days, but it’s important to understand the side effects that ongoing stress can have on your body, especially when you’re pregnant. Pregnancy can be inherently stressful as you plan for the future, so you want to do what you can to relax, for both your sakes.
At Family Wellness Acupuncture, our team of certified acupuncturists specializes in treatments that reduce stress, including in women who are pregnant.
In this month’s blog post, we take a look at the ways in which stress can affect your body and your pregnancy and how we can help you relax.
Stress and your body
The physical side of stress occurs because of a reaction in your sympathetic nervous system that initiates the release of stress hormones, namely adrenaline and cortisol.
These hormones cause a cascade of physical changes, including:
- Rapid heart rate
- Faster breathing
- A rise in blood pressure
- Change in blood flow to your muscles
- Tunnel vision and pupil dilation
All these responses are designed to give you the tools you need to fight or flee a dangerous situation.
Stress and pregnancy
Though you may not be facing down danger when you’re pregnant, it can be a worrisome time, which kicks your fight-or-flight response into gear. You may also be dealing with morning sickness, discomfort, or hormonal changes that are creating the perfect environment for stress to take hold.
Although short periods of stress aren't problematic as your body quickly rebalances itself, if you find that your stress is ongoing, it can lead to some health issues.
One area of great concern is the rise in blood pressure that comes with stress, which can place you more at risk for preeclampsia. This condition is serious and can jeopardize both you and your unborn child.
Also of concern, the March of Dimes reports that stress can, “increase the chances of having a premature baby (born before 37 weeks of pregnancy) or a low-birthweight baby (weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces).
How we can help you manage your stress
One of the best techniques for better managing stress during your pregnancy is acupuncture. With this ancient technique, we access certain points and unblock them to encourage a better chemical balance in your body. In other words, through acupuncture, our goal is to reduce the release of stress hormones and promote a better balance of energy.
Not only can acupuncture help to relieve your stress during pregnancy, it can also help with any pain or discomfort you may be feeling because of carrying the extra weight. As well, acupuncture can help with nausea and vomiting. In fact, by relieving these side effects of pregnancy, you can also greatly reduce your stress.
If your pregnancy is overshadowed by stress, we urge you to contact our office in Irvine, California, to schedule you stress-relieving acupuncture appointments.