Most of us have seen enough movies with pregnant women to know the trope of a woman spontaneously going into labor during a stressful moment. We have seen this happen so many times that most of us assume that stress can absolutely trigger contractions and spontaneous birth. In reality, the truth isn’t that simple. Stress can absolutely influence contractions and labor, but that doesn’t mean that a bad day will cause you to give birth. In this article, we will discuss the truth surrounding stress and contractions.
What Are Contractions?
Contractions are known for their role in giving birth. These intense pains, which often related to menstrual cramps on a very extreme level, are what you feel when your cervix begins to dilate. Contractions tend to come with more frequency and hurt worse with each fresh round. In their simplest form, they are the body preparing to bring your baby into the world.
How Does Stress Influence Labor?
Stress is known to have many different effects on the human body, and that is even more true for women who are pregnant. It is able to have a wide range of outcomes depending on how significant the stress levels actually are. There are also individual components to consider. Some women have naturally higher stress levels and are more prone to stress responses. For pregnant women, stress can cause indigestion, exhaustion, or premature labor. It all depends on what happens and how significant the impact is.
Can Stress Cause Contractions?
The truth behind this question really varies. Yes, it is absolutely possible for stress to cause contractions. Since stress can cause women to enter spontaneous labor, contractions are absolutely a possible outcome. In most cases, contractions are only considered a part of the birth. Though it is possible for stress to cause minor contractions, more realistically, it would actually include entering labor.
When people say that stress can cause contractions or childbirth, they aren’t wrong, but they also aren’t right. The fact is that in most instances, stress isn’t going to cause you to enter labor. A bad day of normal stress levels isn’t going to cause a woman to spontaneously enter labor.
With that being said, extreme stress can absolutely cause labor. In fact, some women enter premature labor in response to stress. However, this isn’t normal stress that will cause it. Extreme traumatic stress can cause a woman to enter labor. Additionally, continuous unrelenting stress can also cause a woman’s delivery date to creep up.
Even though stress can cause contractions, it is important to know that it isn’t likely. Don’t worry if you have a bad day or get some bad news. These kinds of stressors will not cause you to begin experiencing contractions. However, it is important for pregnant women to manage their ongoing stress levels and also take active steps to avoid high-stress situations. Sometimes doctors will order pregnant women to bed rest for this reason. As a new mother, it is always best to simply take it easy the farther along you get.