There are never any guarantees that a pregnancy will go full-term. Sometimes things happen that you can’t control, and babies are born prematurely all the time. But there are certain risk factors you can avoid if you’re pregnant and trying not to have a premature delivery. For example, there’s a chemical reaction in the brain that could increase the chance of premature birth, and it involves something a lot of people deal with every day: stress.
According to the March of Dimes organization, high stress can increase the chances of having a premature baby, which is a baby born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Some of the causes of stress during pregnancy include the normal discomforts of pregnancy — like backaches or nausea — and changing hormones, fears regarding the birth itself, or unexpected stressful events happening in your life during a pregnancy.
Stressful life events that could also cause a premature birth might be the death of a loved one or an incident of domestic violence, according to Mayo Clinic. But Mayo Clinic’s website also reported that premature birth can happen to anyone, and that many women who have a premature birth have no known risk factors beforehand.
The reason why stress can impact whether a baby is born prematurely might have to do with the chemical reaction in the brain that occurs when someone is stressed.
According to an article in the Journal Sentinel from 2011, when someone is faced with a situation the body recognizes as being dangerous, a region of the brain called the hypothalamus sends out a chemical signal that instructs the body to produce cortisol, also known as the stress…