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Mental Health Awareness Week: Stress in Pregnancy – Society’s Problem

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, which is focussing on stress and its detrimental consequences on mental health.

At the Maternal Mental Health Alliance we recognise how stress can negatively affect parents’ wellbeing and increase the risk of mental illness. When parents are feeling stressed, it also makes it harder for them to consider, reflect on and respond to their babies’ needs. And a huge body of research tells us that sensitive and responsive care is an essential ingredient in babies’ healthy brain development.

The research carries positive messages too. The results of stress are not inevitable and there are things we can all do to manage stress and reduced its impact. Furthermore, evidence shows that a good quality relationship between parents and babies after birth can mitigate the impact of early stress on babies’ development, which  is why services that support healthy parent-infant relationships are so critically important. Read our blog on stress in pregnancy here.

 

 

 

 

 

Stress in Pregnancy – Society’s Problem

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, which is focussing on stress and its detrimental consequences on mental health.

Here Sally Hogg, Strategic Lead for Mums and Babies in Mind, writes about how managing stress isn’t just a responsibility for individual mums – society needs to think about how we reduce stress on mothers.

At the Maternal Mental Health Alliance we recognise how stress can negatively affect parents’ wellbeing and increase the risk of mental illness. When parents are feeling stressed, it also makes it harder for them to consider, reflect on and respond to their babies’ needs. And a huge body of research tells us that sensitive and responsive care is an essential ingredient in babies’ healthy brain development.

Stress in pregnancy is associated with premature birth and low birth weight. We now know that maternal stress affects babies’ development antenatally too: Research found that babies whose mums had higher levels of stress in pregnancy were more likely to have mental health problems themselves in adolescence.

The research carries positive messages too. The results of stress are not inevitable and there are things we can all do to manage stress and reduced its impact. Furthermore, evidence shows that a good quality relationship between parents and babies after birth can mitigate the impact of early stress on babies’ development, which  is why services that support healthy parent-infant relationships are so critically important.

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