Return To Blog

Stress, Depression & Pregnancy

By Alyssa Beiss, Acupuncture Denver Staff 

It’s widely accepted that stress during pregnancy can have long term negative impacts on the baby. Low birth weight is a common marker for prenatal stress that can lead to increased risks for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease later in life. Cortisol (our main stress hormone) also easily passes through breast milk, raising baby’s cortisol levels and causing similar increased risks. Though not quite as well-researched, there is much evidence linking prenatal stress with an increased risk for psychological disorders later in life as well. ADHD, depression, emotional disorders and even severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia have all been linked to prenatal and neonatal exposure to high levels of cortisol. Yikes!

Are you scared yet? Take a second and breathe... all hope is not lost! If you’re pregnant and experiencing high levels of stress or depression, consider integrating acupuncture into your prenatal and postpartum self-care regimen.  Acupuncture has been shown over and over again to relieve stress and anxiety and a 2004 study found it to be particularly helpful with depression symptoms during pregnancy. Though more research is needed, this study also indicates that effective treatment of depression during pregnancy may reduce the risk of postpartum depression. Read it for yourself here.  

Both Jane and Merry have many years of experience offering women safe, effective prenatal acupuncture. Acupuncture is not only great for stress in pregnancy, but also for morning sickness, back pain, indigestion, fatigue and many other pregnancy related symptoms. 

So for all of you expecting and new mamas out there, take it easy and try to keep stress levels to a minimum. Easier said than done, I know, but clearly very important both for you and your baby. Meditate, do some yoga, and come get acupuncture! Your baby (and your brain) will thank you.