Stop Worrying: Anxiety and Stress Doesn't Affect Fertility Or Pregnancy
When I was first diagnosed with a placental abruption and put on bedrest for 8 weeks, someone (who shall remain nameless) asked me if it was the stress that did it.
As if stress could actually physically move my placenta a millimetre away from the uterine wall and make it start bleeding. Please. Blaming stress on pregnancy issues or fertility problems is blaming the victim -- and there is very little science behind it.
Slate did a takedown of this old wives tale and explained that stress and anxiety has very little affect on pregnancy or fertility issues.
Allison Schaffer reports that a British study in 2011 looked at 14 different studies on IVF and reported that anxiety did not change outcomes: "In other words, women with more extreme levels of anxiety or depression were just as likely to get pregnant after a single cycle as women with milder levels."
What about pregnancy? Can stress and anxiety harm your unborn baby? A Danish study looked at 78,000 Dutch women and found that those with the highest self-reported stress levels gave birth a mere two days earlier than the women who reported little stress. In fact, reports Amanda Schaffer, fetuses whose mothers reported higher levels of distress tended to be more active in utero, a positive developmental sign.
So, if the next time a doctor or well-meaning relative gives you the "just relax for the baby's sake" speech. You can tell them to lay off because being told to constantly "think positive" is just a recipe for more stress, and while that won't harm the baby, it can cause heartburn.
Were you ever told to "just relax"? Do you think anxiety affected your pregnancy?
Want more chaos? Last year, I reported that Beyoncé breastfed in public (reportedly) and how that can change the world.