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Do you think stress in pregnancy had an effect or not on your child?

(14 Posts)
SevernTrentWater Sat 25-Jul-09 15:23:59

I've read lots about the effects of chronic and severe stress and anxiety (such as caused by bereavement or conflict over whether to keep/abort baby) on the child, and it looks grim. I can't say i've had the most healthy pregnancy, as my partner walked out on me and i've been in crisis mode on and off throughout, in fact, i almost went into early labour the other day, an argument with my ex set off contractions. I'm really scared i've damaged the baby.

Maybe you had a stressful pregnancy compared to a non-stressful one? Do you think your 'womb-stressed' off spring are any different?

Stress is linked to learning difficulties, adhd, and anxious colicy babies, as well as poor emotional regulation or anxiety issues as adults. Obviously, not all of these things are going to be present, apparantly it depends 'when' the stress occured. For me it's been chronic throughout.

dilemma456 Sat 25-Jul-09 15:48:11

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RumourOfAHurricane Sat 25-Jul-09 17:11:41

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snigger Sat 25-Jul-09 17:18:04

I wonder sometimes.

DD1 - pregnant at new-start business, working 7am-10pm, relationship with DH suffering as a result, unplanned, renovating new house.

DD2 - Working 1 day a week, kind of planned in a 'let the dice fall as they may' kind of way, chilled out happy pregnancy.

DD1, even now, is emotional, handles stress badly, and gets very angsty, while DD2 is, if anything, uncaring of external influence in her life.

I don't know whether it's their birth order, the relative levels of stress in pregnancy, the fact that DD1 was hospital born with much intervention vs DD2 home birth - or just them?

GirlsAreLoud Sat 25-Jul-09 17:20:19

I had a blissfully stress-free pregnancy and my baby is very highly strung. She's only 11 months and doesn't show any signsof behavioural issues as such (dont' think she would at this age?) but she is certainly the least laid back baby I have ever met!

mosschops30 Sat 25-Jul-09 17:23:10

No not at all, not one of my pregnancies has been crisis free yet

dd - in a violent, abusive relationship with no support at all
ds - dragged through court by exp (see above)
no.3 - changed jobs, then my father committed suicide and died very slowly over 4 weeks

So far dd and ds have turned out to be totally normal, and ds is somewhat of a child genius grin
Heres hoping that no.3 will be as fine as the others

jeee Sat 25-Jul-09 17:48:07

I had a very stressful first pregnancy (serious illness in the family, bereavement, moving house). When I suddenly got stomach pains I went to my GP who barked "stress". "Very likely." I said, and explained why. He said: "Well, of course you're stressed, but just don't get stressed about being stressed." Which is the best possible advice for a stressed pregnant woman as it acknowledges that sometimes stress can't be avoided.

My DD is a bit of a stress merchant even at 8 and I think that she may have been affected.

Bleatblurt Sat 25-Jul-09 17:52:25

I had a very stressful 3rd pregnancy. (DS2 had been stillborn, I even had the same due date just one year on). I also had a neighbour from Hell and had the police involved several times, it was so bad we moved house (which is meant to be stressful in itself never mind with added psycho neighbour) But DS3 was so laid back as a baby my dad though there was something wrong with him! shock

There isn't. He was just chilled. grin

suwoo Sat 25-Jul-09 17:53:30

My friends DH left her when she was pregnant with their second child. She went through a terrible time understandably and they are only just amicable now nearly 2 years later.

Her DD is 18 months so her true character remains to be seen but she was a very easy and placid baby. She slept well and didn't cry any more than when neccessary.

Qally Sat 25-Jul-09 17:53:44

DH was the victim who had his wedding ring taken here. It was horrific as he had some nasty injuries and they knocked him out by bashing him over the back of his head; he could have been killed. I was 5 months pregnant at the time, and suffered really horrible stress and anxiety afterwards, and couldn't eat or sleep for a while. Also had a couple of other things happen that I won't bore you with, plus severe morning sickness and SPD that meant I could hardly walk. I was pretty anxious about the effects of all that adrenaline/cortisol on DS, but actually he's a baby from an advert, not real life! Sleeps, eats, smiles, laughs. Incredibly placid and amiable. He has his moments, of course, especially when teething... and still wakes twice through the night to feed, so I don't sleep as well as he does! But he is honestly the sunniest natured, merriest baby imaginable. I don't think you have any cause for concern, I think they arrive who they are, tbh.

shelleylou Sat 25-Jul-09 18:08:00

I had quite a stressful pregnancy. I didnt find out till i was 12 weeks so was worried id harmed him by doing things i wasn't surposed to, XP wanted me to have an abortion then kept going from he wanted me and the baby to not wanting us. As i had been told i couldnt have children i was worrying that something would happen to ds. I had to move an hour and a half away from my family so added stress of getting to my antenatal appointments back home and had very little support.
Ds is 2.8 now and a very happy loving child. The stress doesnt seam to have done anything.

nouveaupauvre Wed 29-Jul-09 21:41:28

sorry to hear you are having such a rough time severntrent, but please stop worrying.
i was stupidly stressed during pregnancy - we were moving house and were gazumped three times, then moved when i was eight months pregnant. i was working 18-hour days in a very stressful job up until two weeks before due date. ds was a happy, relaxed, laidback baby and still an absolute delight.
fwiw all the studies you read in newspapers about stress and pregnancy usually fail to mention (or only in very small print) that there is very little evidence that the "normal" stresses of daily life - like moving house, relationship problems - can affect development in the womb. it has to be something bigger than that (eg living in a warzone type stressed) before the baby's at risk.
personally i think vv stressed mothers can have an effect on a baby once it's born, but not in utero, so i'd stop tormenting yourself now and concentrate on thinking about how you are going to make life as easy as possible for yourself once the baby's here (if you are going to be on your own can you get relatives and friends to pitch in, start building a support network among other mums through meeting pregnant ones now etc). good luck!

TheProfiteroleThief Wed 29-Jul-09 21:54:43

During my last pregnancy I lost both parents. In the interim I nursed my mum and looked after my 4yo and 2yo. It was physically, mentally and emotionally the worst time of my life.

My pregnancy continued without a hitch, the delivery was unremarkable and baby was my largest and healthy as you like. She is now 4 and is bright, cheery and sociable.

I completely understand your concerns, but honestly think babies in utero are protected, even at the cost of your health. I used to reassure myself thinking of all the babies born during ww2 who were fit and well.

My dd was a spot of shining happiness at a very hard time.

Of course that does not mean anyone is immune from antenatal depression or pnd, so I do think it is very important to make the most of any support you can find.

Take care

chegirl Wed 29-Jul-09 22:08:43

Unfortunately all my pgs were stressful for lots of reasons - just life really.

I suppose my last was the most stressful because I found out I was pg on the 1st anniversary of my DD's death. This triggered off a huge torrent of emotions. I felt guilty and terrified and worried and confused. I was still in the early stages of grief and although I desperatly wanted the baby my feelings were all over the place.

A month before my EDD my OH was made redundant (I was out of work at the time). It was also a month before christmas.

But DS3 is a lovely, happy, relaxed toddler and he was a placid, contented baby.

My DS2 was exposed to a lot of stress in utero (he is adopted) but it was specific. Lack of antenatal care, poor maternal nutrition, drugs, drink and smoking, agression etc.

He has problems.

I think the research is more about those sort of stresses really. Sometimes it trickles down into the mainstream and gets misinterpreted thus stressing (ironically)the life out of ordinary mums.

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