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Although pregnancy often signals a time of excitement for expectant parents, stress and other forms of emotional distress are still likely to occur during the time of pregnancy – and this is normal.  While some of these concerned may be mild, other may be more serious and can affect the health of the mother or child, place additional strain on a romantic relationship and lead to life changes.

Pregnant can be challenging for both parents, but is likely to place the greatest amount of strain on the woman.  Single mothers may experience even higher levels of emotional strain, especially if they lack assistance and support.

An unplanned pregnancy can put strain on a relationship, especially when one partner desires children and the other does not or have different goals.  Being unprepared for a child’s arrive financially may also be a cause of concern for many.

The physical challenges that often accompany pregnancy can also be difficult for many women to cope with. Morning sickness, aches and pains, fatigue, insomnia, and indigestion are just a few of the concerns that a pregnant woman may face. Women who contract illnesses while pregnant can be more severely affected by symptoms and may have a greater risk of complications.

It can sometimes be difficult for new parents to adjust after the birth of a child.  The stresses accompanying birth can leave both parents emotionally and physically fatigued, and it can be difficult and stressful parents to adjust to their new roles and responsibilities.

When certain aspects of pregnancy and delivery did not happen as expected it can be difficult for some women to accept.  When a carefully designed birthing plan was unable to be used because of various reasons, it may be difficult to accept.  A difficult recovery after birth may cause frustration due to an inability to do things for themselves or difficulty in dealing with pain and fatigue.

Reducing stress and finding good coping strategies may go a long way to achieving better health and preventing complications.  A health care professional can advise on the best way to reduce stress, stay healthy and fit, eating nutritious foods and keeping as active as possible.  Maintaining a support system and keeping in contact with friends and family also serve to reduce stress and promote healthy adjustment.

The most important thing is to seek help when it is needed.  Childbirth education greatly assists in reducing stress through providing information and helping to prepare for childbirth and parenting.  Counselling can help to provide information, reduce stress, deal with interpersonal challenges and find the best strategies for dealing with pain, loss, postnatal depression and other mental health related issues.