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How much stress is too much stress?

pregnant woman with hands shaped as a heart

We’re sure you’ve been told that stress is not good for you or your baby, but what’s the deal with that? How does stress affect your little one’s development? And how much stress is too much stress? Should you be worried? Wait! Doesn’t worrying just cause more stress?

Relax. We’ll explain the science behind all this and how it affects your baby. Stress has a lot to do with cortisol, that important hormonal steroid that roams around your body. Cortisol is like the conductor that sets key metabolic functions in motion. But if cortisol runs wild in your body for too long, that’s like poison.


Turns out, long-term elevated cortisol levels can bring about pregnancy issues, such as insulin imbalances, insomnia, high blood pressure, and fatigue. Not good for you or the baby! UCLA has been researching this for a while and has found that excessive maternal cortisol can affect the baby, as the steroid travels through the blood and reaches the placenta.

But don’t be scared. A couple of days of normal stress won’t turn everything upside down. This only becomes a big problem when stress sticks with you for a long time, like weeks or months. Complicated family situations, financial or work problems, loss of loved ones, natural disasters, or things of the sort can be the cause of chronic stress.

If you identify with this, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor! They can refer you to a psychologist or therapist to lend you a hand. The moral of the story is that everyday stress won’t ruin your baby’s development or cause premature birth. So, relax! Control that stress and find ways to relax and unwind.

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