Stress and Pregnancy
This is a huge transitional period for the family unit, and usually characterized as stressful. Due to new roles to learn, adjustments within the family unit, communication patterns are re-established. These shifts may trigger biologic changes, hormonal function shifts, and immune system vulnerability.
The whole family unit is thrown off it equilibrium due to restructure of family roles, adjustments to family goals, physical and emotional changes that pregnancy may bring. This is the case for the average and normal situation and pregnancy. What about other circumstances or high risk pregnancy?
If the pregnancy is from an already stressful situation such as a rape or domestic violence has occurred, the stressor of pregnancy brings additional problems. Decisions need to be made to assist the mother, if other children are involved, their safety attended to.
In high risk pregnancy situation, stress is further aggravated if hospitalization is required. “High risk” is a label given to those whom the health of the baby or mother to be is threatened.
The pregnant mother’s ability to adjust and or adapt to the situation may be in jeopardy by the excessive level of stress. The mother must understand the causative factors in being labeled high risk and accept the situation in order to have a good outcome. As well as the pregnant mother, all other family members need to assess, accept, and readjust to this prognosis.
Unfortunately, pregnancy on the reservation is almost always considered high risk. This is due to poverty, gang activity, teenage pregnancy, alcohol consumption and drug abuse.
Only YOU can change this! Change the additional stressors in your life, and then you can change the outcome of your pregnancy and delivery!
Social and Family Stress
Social stress can be an actual threat or that what is perceived as a threat. These are within ones social environment. This could be relationships at work, conflicts at school, or interactions that occur within a person’s society.
Inside the family unit certain life events can affect the family directly or indirectly. Some of the stressors could be things that are deemed “normal” such as a birth in the family.
Stressors could be caused by ambiguous facts, such as an illness of unknown cause in which the doctor states the person will die at some time. Also, there are stressors that are caused by nonambiguous facts such as the onset of a severe storm and its aftermath.
Volitional stressors are things such as divorce, things that members of the family may cause or control the end result. Chronic stressors are events that occur over an extended time, such as a handicapped family member. Acute Stressors are temporary, such the hospitalization of woman giving birth. An isolated stressor is a singular event, such as the arrest of a family member.
Family stressors can proceed a crisis within the family but not all family stress leads to a crisis. Here are four indicators that a family is in a crisis:
• Members within the family are no longer able to function with their family roles
• Family members cannot make decisions and solve problems
• They are unable to give care to each other in a way usually seen
• A shift from family to individual survival
Tetracycline is a wide-spectrum antibiotic. During pregnancy it crosses into the placenta, and goes directly to the unborn child’s teeth. It may continue in affecting the teeth of the fetus causing yellow mottling and staining.
While the mother is taking the antibiotic, it can slow or stop the growth of bone in the unborn fetus. It should not be taken during pregnancy.
In general, aspirin or Ibuprofen are not recommended during pregnancy. Aspirin can interfere with the blood’s clotting action. Aspirin can also cause the premature closure of the vessel in the baby’s heart leading to high pressure (pulmonary hypertension).
If you have a headache, a few low-doses will not be detrimental. You should always ask your doctor first. If your headache persists, see your doctor.
If taking Aspirin in the days leading up to birthing Aspirin can cause some problems. It can produce difficulty in blood clotting in both the pregnant woman and the baby. It also can cause neonatal jaundice.
Kitzinger, Sheila. The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth. (1996) Alfred A. Knopf.
Lowdermilk, Deitra Leonard and Shannon E. Perry. Maternity and Women’s Health Care. 9th Ed. (2007) Mosby/elsevier