There are certainly a lot of situations and events that bring about stress. One of those events is giving birth to a child. What are the changes in the person experiencing such a process that causes stress to the mother?
Giving birth is a normal process for women. It is a wonderful thing to give life to a child – it is like a miracle, however this miracle does not come without a price. The woman will have to experience bodily changes, pain and exhaustion and will have to adapt and cope to a new stage of life. These changes can cause stress to the mother-to-be.
Change in body image due to physical changes and alterations can lower self-esteem and can become a stressor not to mention the effects on the woman’s daily activities. To accommodate the growing baby, the woman’s physical structure is altered.
Enlargement of the abdomen and breasts can leave stretch marks. Other markings during pregnancy like “linea negra”, a dark line from the sternum towards the pubic area passing through the umbilicus or belly button, can be a source of concern for the woman.
There may also be weight gain as appetite is also increased to provide adequate nutrition not only for herself but also for the growing baby. As it is, these changes can make the woman worry and be stressed about her own self, all the more when she is also anxious about bearing a child.
There is also, during pregnancy and labor, discomfort and pain. There may be vomiting and nausea, commonly known as morning sickness but it can actually last all day. As the baby grows larger, it becomes more difficult to move around easily and can interfere with comfortable sleep positions.
There can be strain on the lower back as the abdomen enlarges and strain on the upper back as the breasts enlarge. Feet can become swollen and painful towards the end of pregnancy, due to extra weight being carried and also a disruption in fluid metabolism. The veins in the legs can become congested and lead to varicose veins which may also be tender or painful.
And then there is childbirth! Even though the design to deliver a child is quite perfect, it still entails a great deal of discomfort. And this pain may be so great as to traumatise the woman especially when it’s her first time. Not to mention if the process is disrupted and emergency procedures are performed.
Most of these things can be handled very competently with medical and allied health treatments to alleviate the symptoms and make life a little easier and less stressful.
However, the key to reducing stress is in the mind and is encompassed in managing expectations. It is always wonderful to be informed of, and prepared for, the many possibilities of what may occur, but it is important to be dealing with what is actually going on at any given time.
When someone experiences a difference between what is happening and what they think SHOULD be happening, this is upsetting and unnecessarily stressful.
Other things that are very important are: