Celebrity Suffers Stress Induced Miscarriage

Sadly, in the press this morning it has been announced that a mum has suffered a stress induced miscarriage. This is only news because the mum in question is a TV celebrity/actress who has borne out her most recent months of life on social media for all to see, including this devastating chapter. My sincere condolences to this mum for her loss and my door is open to her if she needs help – everyone needs an open door to talk in this situation!

Stress, including the stress of volatile relationships as we have seen in this case, is now part of every day life and many of us can find it hard to deal with without being pregnant.

However, what most people are unaware of is that stress when we are pregnant naturally becomes amplified as pregnancy is already putting our bodies under increasing pressure and stress and the culmination is an increase in potentially harmful hormones.

When we are stressed our bodies produce cortisol, ‘the stress hormone’, which causes the fight or flight response and is part of our human nature. A certain amount of cortisol is needed during pregnancy to pass on the natural instincts that we all have. However, too much stress and too much cortisol raises a risk of health problems in your unborn baby but also raises the risk of your ability to carry a baby to full term.

We all know that excessive stress in our lives can cause many health issues including anxiety, irritability and even cravings and insomnia. I identified many years ago that an excess of cortisol during pregnancy raises the risk of these health issues to your baby too. Some recent studies have also linked the effects of mum’s stress hormone on the baby when pregnant to ADD, mental health disorders and even addiction in later life.

More worryingly though, scientists have discovered a strong link between being unhappy or stressed to a mother’s ability to carry a baby to term or risk premature birth.

This study by obstetricians at Humbolt University in Berlin found that emotional wellbeing, in particular at work, can have more important role in increasing the risks of a premature birth over activities such as lifting and carrying things.

Women who are unhappy/stressed are almost three times more likely to give birth prematurely or sadly suffer a miscarriage or stillbirth.

Alongside all of this, we are seeing a rising trend of mental health issues in children as young as 4 through to teenage years and I believe that the increasingly stressful lifestyles when pregnant over the past decade, and the lasting legacy of that is to blame

My book, which has won a Prima Baby Award and was given the prestigious title of ‘The New Routine in 2017’ by Mother & Baby magazine in an 8-page spread, highlights a number of ways you can look to reduce your stress when pregnant and in turn nurture your baby’s wellbeing.

However now, I am determined to stop this worrying trend through my campaign Routine in the Womb, which will officially launch at The Baby Show in October but has already amassed over 11,000 followers on the campaign Facebook page. The campaign highlights the need to know your baby’s Routine in the Womb to monitor it’s wellbeing but also highlights the risks to mums of stress when they are pregnant, including stress at work as well as stressful relationships and gives mums ways to help them de-stress.

Here are my sensory based quick tips to reduce stress when pregnant:

1. A sip and a snif
Aromatherapy can be used safely during pregnancy if products have been developed especially for pregnancy or you are using recommended oils in an atomizer/inhaler etc. If you have to travel a lot for your work, or use the trains and underground, it can quickly cause you to feel nauseous or faint, especially during the first trimester. I recommend you keep a bottle of lemon essential oil in your bag (as well as a bottle of water with fresh lemons cut up in it to sip) so that you can waft it under your nose to give you an instant mood and energy lift and fight nausea.
2. Music is food for the soul
“Music is one of my favourite sensory ‘tools – it can make you happy, it can make you cry, it can help your digestion and it can help you relax”
Setting aside a time in the evening each day to play some relaxing music and just sit and absorb it will not only help you to de-stress but from about 17 weeks your baby is able to hear through the womb and will recognize familiar tones and rhythms once born so you are already setting the foundations of a ‘bedtime’ routine.
3. Just breathe
Meditation or mindfulness is a growing trend in managing stress that I thoroughly recommend trying to pursue. However, when you are busy and already feeling stressed and pressured some people find it difficult to find the time. She suggests, when feeling stressed and overwhelmed just take a moment for a few deep breaths – complete lungs full of air breathed in for a count of 5 and out for a count of 5 just to re-balance you. Or you can try my 5 min meditation.
4. Crystals are a girl’s best friend
Move over diamonds, there’s a new rock in town! Rose quartz is the ‘mother’ of all crystals when it comes to pregnancy. It has a loving, protective energy during pregnancy (and childbirth) and is powerful in healing during stressful times. Many underestimate the power of crystals, and this is one of my favourites. There are some beautiful polished crystal bracelets available now that will work to combat your stress levels during pregnancy.
5. A walk in nature
My book, Babyopathy, which is based upon the care and development programme used in my children’s nurseries, encompasses the biophilia hypothesis which is our inbuilt connection with nature that can nurture wellbeing (and aid development and healing). Just a 10 minute walk immersed in nature, a walk along the riverbank or in amongst trees, can have a direct affect on our wellbeing reducing stress and improving our mood. If the sun is shining you get the added benefit of some much-needed vitamin D as many of us have a deficiency of this essential vitamin.