Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Worcester County, MA
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I was frustrated by the lack of references in the article. The title of the study or a link to the study would have been nice. They did reference the authors and the publication, but it seems kind of irresponsible to put vague info out there without a direct link.
The article didn't really mention anything about what controls the study used... the women in Quebec who were without power for 6 weeks, or were living in shelters probably had their lives impacted in other physical ways other than just their stress levels. Living in a shelter, they probably didn't get a whole lot of quality sleep - same thing if they had no power in winter for 6 weeks. Perhaps they were likely chronically cold which led to a decrease in metabolic rate and oxygen supply to the embryo/fetus. Perhaps there were issues with carbon monoxide exposures from generators. I'm willing to bet their diets suffered as well - no access to "normal" cooking facilities, reduced income for quality foods, less food selection in the grocery stores (if the whole region suffered for 6 weeks - no refrigeration, less perishable food stocked, less milk, less meat, less fresh veggies & fruit.. all that stuff requires refrigeration). While all those factors lead to stress, at the same time they have direct physical implications themselves. Also, I'm willing to bet that some of those stressed women likely turned to alcohol, recreational drugs, or smoking as a stress relief - something the article didn't even touch on. I'm not condeming them if they did - I haven't been in that situation & don't know what I myself would do - but the article didn't rule it out, and knowing human reactions, it's likely that at least a few women did revert to comfort/numbing mechanisms. The article also didn't mention at what stages of their pregnancies the women were at during the Quebec ice storm. Is it possible that they didn't know they were pregnant, and because of the stress or lack of infrastructure they didn't realize as soon as they otherwise may have that they were pregnant and thus didn't begin prescribed prenatal care until a later date than "usual"?
It's also important to point out that humans have stress for a reason - it's the impetus we get to FIX something thats wrong. Stress hormones aren't automatically toxins - they're a natural response to an environmental problem, and they perform a necessary physiological function (survival). That being said, I suffer from anxiety, so I tend to release too many of these hormones, which can be seen as a toxic condition by some (I just call it "me"). I'm an insomniac (or have been for most of my life anyway). This pregnancy (my 1st) is the longest stress-free period in my life to date. I guess the pregnancy hormones are agreeing with me on that end - I suddenly have the ability to filter between a real problems and "noise". It's glorious. I can just shrug now and say "whatever" like a "normal" person. That being said, I'm not getting as much done as I usually do, which is the downfall of the "whatever" attitude. But whatever.
That being said, I've been reading up on brain development & stress in infants - it seems there is a link between the hormones released from crying for an extended length of time and brain development. So it's entirely possible - if it happens in infants, why would it NOT happen prenatally?
I'm just faulting the lack of detailed information in the article - it's so ambiguous, how can we possibly take anything useful away from it? It seems like it's sole purpose may be to frighten us.
Anyone else contemplating meditation during pregnancy? I used to meditate when my DH was in the military - I was miserable. I've been thinking I should take it up again. But then I don't seem to need it at the moment - which seems like the perfect time to get into the habit.