What is the Impact of Stress When You are Pregnant?

So I know one of the questions I have wondered as my wife has gone through five pregnancies is what is the impact of stress when you are pregnant? Does it impact the baby? And so this is something that a lot of our listeners and a lot of you guys are dealing with, trying to figure out how do you support your wife when she’s pregnant. And there was a study done and published in the British Journal of Psychiatry. And let me read to you guys what it was findings. The headline is stress in pregnancy makes child personality disorder more likely. Here’s another thing to worry about, but anyway, we’ll talk about how to handle this. But the study found prolonged high levels of stress during pregnancy could have a potentially long lasting effect on children.

Children exposed to severe maternal stress were 9.53 times more likely to develop a personality disorder than those whose mother experienced no stress. Those exposed to moderate stress had four times the chances. This could be stress related to relationship problems, societal factors, psychological problems, for example. So one of the things that we really want to encourage you guys to keep in mind, we’ve talked a little bit about this is that in Genesis three, it really makes clear that a lot of the stress for provision really falls on the father. Especially because when it really delineates sort of these two responsibilities after the fall provision and really carving out a living, scratching out of living from the earth was really given to Adam to Eve. There was all of these challenges that came with having and bearing children.

And so it’s important to, I think in this day and age where we’re all sort of obsessed with equality, what we really want to do is put both of those curses on our wives. And say, why don’t you bear the children and have all the stress related to pregnancy and all of the things related to that and take 50% of the burden or more for provision and things like that. And so one of the things I think this really speaks to you guys is it’s really important to figure out how to really support your wife well when she’s pregnant, I think that’s a really important thing to really have as a goal. I heard one time a speaker say that when you hear somebody stressed out, it’s another way to say that is they’re feared out. Like they are really afraid of something. There’s something that is really bothering them and that they’re worrying about. And so we really want to craft an experience for our wives where we tell them while they’re pregnant, please let me stress out about everything else.

Let me really worry about how to provide, how to take care of things. And you are doing so much in really making another human being that I want to really bear these responsibilities on behalf of our family. And I think it’s just interesting this study really bore out. It’s really important that we provide an environment for our wives that is as stress free as we can. It’s incredibly stressful going through a pregnancy already. And so that’s something that I think we can really at least try to do for our wives. And that seems to have an impact on our future family, if it impacts the kids to anywhere close to the degree that this study, which is kind of alarming. The way this is describing how the impact this has. But what are your thoughts about that one, Jeff?

Yeah, I mean, I actually agree. I’ve actually done a lot of research and reading on stress. I came out of, I think, a more stressful environment growing up, me and my mom. Anytime you’re in more of that kind of context, lower income poverty, stuff like that. My mom was amazing and did the best to mitigate against that. But yeah, so I’ve thought about how that works on our body and stuff like that. One good book I would suggest to people is How Children Succeed. It’s like one of my favorite parenting books, but it’s not a parenting book. It’s more like a, I don’t know, journalist kind of sociological type book. Kind of like a Malcolm Gladwell book, but on children. And a lot of the book is dedicated to stress. And to a degree to everything you just said, stress is actually one of the more detrimental things that can happen to a child’s development because it’s kind of like they give this analogy of it’s almost like firemen that come in to put out a fire.

Firemen usually, they’re really, really good because they put out a fire. But usually they’re going to break all the windows and kick down the door to put out that fire. They’re not treating the house very nicely. And he goes and of course your body, like the stress response system is like that is what he says. And if you just keep having that over and over and over and over and over again, well then your house is going to be very dilapidated, which is our bodies. And that’s why a lot of people develop autoimmune diseases with high levels of stress. And some of these things that it really, we really take it on in our body. And the mom shows this even in pregnancy and we show that in our own lives with stress.

So the one, I guess I’ll say two things because these are Five Minute Fatherhood’s not 20 minute fatherhood’s is what I’ll say is the first thing is don’t be stressed by us talking about stress. I can already assume that the people that usually are more stress prone would hear something like this and get stressed. And then also remind yourself of the gospel because I think the gospel is ultimately the thing that alleviates stress, which is usually underlied by what Jeremy said fear. The opposite of fear is love. And Jesus is love and leaning and it’s not some magical formula. I think it’s actually a spiritual formation in practice that takes all of life to learn how to release our hands, to really learn how to center ourselves on his provision, on his kingship, on his Lordship and understanding what that means to our lives. And so I would just say, remind yourself of that, that he knows, he sees, he’s provided, he’s in control. He has you under his wings and that really, really makes a big impact.

Latest Episode

Listen To Our Latest Podcast



Start Building a
Multigenerational Family Team

Live events







Family scouting report