Study: quarrels with her husband increase the risk of infections in pregnant women
A new study, which notes that pregnant women who are unhappy with the relationship with her husband, regardless of, have an increased risk of infectious diseases, which also affects the health of their future children.
Research does not prove that the former definitely leads to the latter. But according to observations, women who experience constant stress during pregnancy, and not just before the date of birth, are increasingly exposed to diseases, and their children are more likely to get sick during the first year of life. In addition, stress affects the fertility of women.
It is obvious that stress during pregnancy entails certain consequences. If we compare the group of pregnant women with the lowest level of satisfaction and the group with the highest level of satisfaction in relationships, the risk of diseases of the first group is more than twice as high as in the second group.
Researchers claim that the gap between the groups is very large. The survey was conducted among members of the social class, in which the level of education and income were above average and the same was the level of satisfaction in relationships. But for the study to be comprehensive, all sectors of society were involved.
As for children, these connections are even more obvious than in cases of pregnant women. The researchers took eight different infectious diseases: from a cold to an upset stomach and ear inflammation. In children under six months, the occurrence of all eight infections was higher if their mothers were not satisfied with the relationship with their partners.
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Why pregnant women experience stress
In his dissertation, the head of the study, Dr. Henriksen, refers to stress studies to explain the relationship between bad relationships and physical illness.
"Researchers of relationships were primarily interested in psychological factors, such as depression and quality of life, which are, of course, interesting and significant factors.But when I was working on my master’s work, which was about shyness and somatic diseases, I was surprised at how social isolation and loneliness directly affect physiology. "
Are you havingsomepsychological processes, but how does it become a physical disease that provokes vomiting or fever with a cough? The connection is very interesting.
In response to stress, the body mobilizes all its strength and is consumed to avoid danger. In such situations, some bodily functions take precedence over others, and the brain, in particular, receives additional energy under stress.
When the stress response is transmitted to the baby in the womb during pregnancy, the researchers claim that it helps the unborn child prepare for the world that awaits him after eating.
However, a prolonged state of tension or stress is not natural to our nature. If this happens, our immune system gets a lower priority, and, thus, we become more vulnerable to infectious diseases from bacteria and viruses.
"If we look at brain research and other studies of human physiological mechanisms, we will see that having a partner that is predictable and supportive can be crucial to our ability to cope with stress. And vice versa, a reaction to stress can occur in the absence of social support ".
Consequences of constant stress during pregnancy
The study is based on data on mother and child in Norway since 1999. The study of infectious diseases in pregnant women is based on data from 67,000 women; study of childhood infectious diseases - on the data of 91,000 women and more than 100,000 children.
To determine satisfaction in relationships, women in a survey answered the question whether they agree with ten statements, for example, “We have a close relationship with a partner,” “I often think about ending a relationship,” and “I was lucky with a partner.” The mean value was then evaluated and used in the analysis.
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But here a natural question arises to the researchers: "If your conclusions are based on the reporting of mothers about their own and childhood diseases.Is there a risk that this could be a significant error? "
"We have studies proving that mothers who are not doing well are more likely to report illnesses on children than those who are doing well. But we also have reason to believe that there is a clear connection, not least because that we see such a consistent pattern, "explains Dr. Henriksen.
Effects on the child's stress during pregnancy
Previous studies have shown similar results and relationships. In 2011, Danish researchers published a study of all Danish children born between 1977 and 2004 who were hospitalized.due toinfections during the first year of life.
In addition, they were looking for tracesanystressful events (for example, loss of a partner or divorce) in the mother’s life before and during pregnancy.
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They found a “lining” of the mother’s life experience and the risk of hospitalization of the child. During the first year among children who were exposed to stressful life events during the pregnancy of the mother,The risk of hospitalization due to infectious diseases was 67 percent higher than among children who were not exposed to similar events.
The risk of infectious diseases declined as children grew older. In addition, it was significantly lower in children whose mothers experienced the stressful events of life before pregnancy.
None of the studies can state with confidence whether these results reflect biological effects or other factors that affect mothers and children's health indirectly. But Henriksen hopes that further research in this area can contribute to filling the gaps in knowledge.
For a long time we knew that stress can have a negative impact on health, but here it is important to pay attention to the fact that relationships are also an equivalent factor. This applies to both partnerships and social support from friends and family. In many cases, this is exactly what can be easily improved.
In the study, in addition to mothers and children, men are involved.No matter how trite it may sound, there are some very interesting differences between women and men.
Men tend to talk less about health problems than women, but if they have really serious problems, then problems get worse if emotional social support — which often comes from a partner — disappears.
How to calm down pregnant with stress
Henriksen would not like to increase anxiety among pregnant women, but believes that medical professionals should be aware of the importance of partnerships.
“If stress is present in your life and you have some good relationships, you need to pay special attention to this. It’s a good idea to talk with your midwife or doctor. ”
Partner dissatisfaction during pregnancy should be considered as a risk factor for reproductive health.
He also believes that his findings are interesting from the point of view of public health.
“We need to know that, although these diseases are harmless to most of us, studies show that with a general view of the population, infections during pregnancy can lead to complications and illnesses later,” says Dr. Henriksen.