Effects of Stress During the Third Trimester of Pregnancy

Submitted by Nick on August 9, 2012

Every woman going through a pregnancy, especially the first time, feels stressed out because it is a completely new experience and she has to deal with a host of changes, both physically and mentally. That alone is a lot to deal with. It is for this reason that doctors and family members insist that the expecting mother does not take on additional stress during pregnancy. As tricky as stress is, it is most dangerous for an expecting mother during her first and third trimester. ...


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Stress during the third trimester can have damaging effects on the baby and more often than not trigger preterm labor.

Factors contributing to stress in third trimester

  • Work pressure
    You've started the third trimester and still busy at work. More so because you have to hand over work to a co-worker before you go on maternity leave.

    While you haven't forgotten that you're having a baby, it's possible you are pushing yourself harder than you should to get everything done at time. Stress from work can in the third trimester also lead to physical discomforts. It could be that the headaches and/or dizziness in your third trimester are caused by work stress.
  • Drug abuse
    This is a huge no, and not just in your third trimester. This does not only refer to consuming drugs when you're pregnant, but it also refers to any drug problem you may have had before you got pregnant. Even if you've recently kicked the habit, the withdrawal stress can have physically ramifications and even lead to fever in the third trimester. To cut a long story short, drug abuse is best avoided before and during pregnancy if you don't want to harm you and your baby.
  • Domestic violence
    If you are in an abusive relationship, then its time to call for help because as devastating as it is for you, in the third trimester it can cause physical damage to you as well as your baby. According to research, women who are in an unhealthy abusive environment in their third trimester are at a huge risk of delivering prematurely. Also, it is indicated that women going through this kind of extreme stress during pregnancy may have babies with birth defects.
  • Tragic/terrifying experiences
    Another factor that could cause extreme stress during pregnancy that can cause have a damaging effect on the baby could be a tragic loss in the family, death of a loved one, or exposure to a terrifying experience. Studies indicate that depression or nervous breakdown, hyperactivity disorder, or other such emotional problems in an individual can be connected to extreme stress the mother went through when she was pregnant. Also, do note, it is not so much the stress but the mother's reaction to the stress that causes problems.

Since there is no way to predict how you will react to a stressful environment, it is imperative that you stay as stress-free as possible. While you cannot completely eliminate the panic you feel about labor, parenthood and responsibility, you and your spouse can try to ensure you don't deal with additional stress from other external sources.

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