I'm six months pregnant and am really worried that my job is bad for my health. I'm constantly stressed out - to the point that I can't sleep some nights. Is all this stress bad for the baby?
Most of us can't avoid a certain amount of stress. The amount your job is causing you, however, seems excessive - and that can have a bad effect on anyone's health. Too much stress can suppress the body's immune system and cause fatigue, muscle tension, headaches, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, ulcers, backaches and sleeplessness. During pregnancy, stress can affect both the mother and the baby. Although animal and human research studies have shown conflicting findings, they have found that stress may increase the chance of obstetric complications and contribute to low birthweight. You can combat stress by incorporating exercise and relaxation techniques into your daily routine. Try taking 10 minutes at lunch to do slow breathing, for example. When you get home after work, take a walk or do some visualisation exercises. Then, before going to bed at night, soak in a warm bath, play relaxing music and use visual imagery to relax. If none of these strategies helps, you may want to consider making changes in your job situation.