Learn More About Your Pregnancy

Stress in Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time of change. Your body, your emotions, and your lifestyle are changing. You may welcome these changes, but they can still add new stress to your life. Feeling stressed is common during pregnancy, but too much stress can be bad for you and your baby. Stress can cause difficulty sleeping, headaches, loss of appetite, or cause you to overeat. High levels of stress that continue for a long time can increase the chances of having a premature or low-birthweight baby. Babies born too soon or too small are at increased risk for health problems.  

Tips to help manage stress

Take care of yourself:

  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals. 
  • Exercise on a regular basis. 
  • Get plenty of sleep. 
  • Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out.

Talk to others. Share your problems and how you are feeling and coping with a parent, friend, counselor, doctor, or pastor. 

Recognize when you need more help. If problems continue or your stress becomes all-consuming or unmanageable, talk to a psychologist, social worker, or professional counselor. 

Gestational hypertension

When high blood pressure first occurs during the second half of pregnancy it is known as gestational hypertension. This type of high blood pressure goes away soon after the baby is born. You may need to see your health care provider more often to have your blood pressure checked.


Preeclampsia is a serious medical condition affecting all organs of the body. Preeclampsia is gestational hypertension with additional findings. For example, preeclampsia causes stress on the kidneys, which results in increased amounts of protein in the woman’s urine. Other signs of preeclampsia may include:

  • Headaches.
  • Visual problems.
  • Rapid weight gain.
  • Swelling of the hands and face.

If preeclampsia develops, the only real cure is to have the baby. A mother with preeclampsia may need to stay in the hospital so that she and her baby can be monitored. In some cases the baby may be delivered early. The decision to deliver the baby depends on the risks to the woman and the baby. When preeclampsia becomes severe, the woman’s organs can be damaged, including the kidneys, liver, brain, heart, and eyes. In some cases, seizures will occur. This is called eclampsia.