pregnant woman

In the study (published in the journal Biological Psychiatry), associate professor Ian Colman, PhD, analyzed the lifestyle of moms and their children, using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parent and Children in Bristol, UK. “It’s a really well-known study in terms of mental health and outstanding measures,” he explains. “There were 14,000 moms and their children who were enrolled, and they’ve been followed since the early 1990s.” This meant the team had statistics which stretched over a long period of time.

During the exercise, researchers asked pregnant women to fill a regular lifestyle questionnaires from the moment they confirmed they were expecting and until their child reached adulthood. Most of them reported of illness and family arguments affecting their children. From the research, women who reported during their pregnancy that they had gone through stressful life events and were highly affected by those events were likely to have children who were more vulnerable to have hyperactivity and conduct disorder symptoms between the ages of 6 to 16.

Avoid Stress as much as possible

According to science, the stress hormone cortisol can affect the developing fetus. During pregnancy, women get stressed and a lot of cortisol runs through their body. This hormone passes the placental barrier and this can affect the fetal brain. However, just because you experience stress during pregnancy, this doesn’t mean your child will have ADHD. When pregnant, you need to manage your stress to protect your child’s health.

Courtesy of University of Ottawa

Ways to relieve stress

Engage in stress relieving activities

There so many amazing ways that women can use to relieve stress when pregnant. Engaging in yoga, fun activities and meditation help the body to relax and worry less. Having a good support team, family and friends also plays an important role to a mother through her pregnancy. A healthy pregnancy means healthy kids!

Go to bed early

When pregnant, the body works overtime to nourish your growing baby. This why you need to go to bed early to rest.

Talk to a therapist is need be

If you are undergoing through unusual stress consult your health provider to refer you to a therapist who can assess how serious your anxiety has become and what you can do to feel better. Asking for help during pregnancy will protect your baby form unnecessary risks and reduce chances of postpartum depression and anxiety.

Eat well

Remember, you are eating for two. Do your best to eat healthy and well balanced diet to have both physical and emotional energy.

A nutritious diet can counteract the impact of stress, by shoring up your immune system and lowering blood pressure,’ says Neeraj Mehta, fitness professional, nutritionist and director of GFFI Fitness Academy.

By Nelly Gachanja  

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