Let Pregnant Women Be

It’s common knowledge now that what a pregnant woman ingests is passed along to her fetus, but it wasn’t that long ago that no one even batted an eye if a pregnant woman was smoking a cigarette or drinking a beer.

A recent study shows that women’s psychological states can be felt by the fetus. This isn’t that far of a stretch from ingesting a teratogen, at least in my opinion. However, I can see how someone telling you not to stress because your baby can tell might only make you stress out more. The most interesting thing to me about this study wasn’t that a woman’s psychological state (good or bad) can be felt, but that if a woman is depressed to just let her be – it’s more important that the psychological state be constant than more positive. 

I’ve had several friends with depression become pregnant in the past few years. As around 50% of the pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, several of my friends’ pregnancies have also been unplanned. With each of the unplanned pregnancies, I had friends strongly debate if they should continue on certain medications that they are on (especially for depression).

While some medications have been shown to be unsafe in pregnancies, there are several more that the jury is out on (for one of my friends, S., her allergy medication is not proven to be safe and she won’t take it because that’s more of a risk than she personally wants to take). My friend L. had a very difficult experience with her pregnancy (terrible morning sickness made worse because she has debilitating emetophobia) and she stopped taking the medications that have helped stabilize her bipolar disorder. As her medications have been proven to cause some birth defects (which her beautiful daughter R. does not have), L. chose to stop taking them. This study leads me to think since she stopped those medications very early in her pregnancy (before her doctor’s office would diagnose her as pregnant even!), it may have been for the best – even though she may have not been in her best mental state ever, it was relatively even throughout the 9 months.

While I am not trying to get pregnant right now, I have asked a doctor of mine what would pregnancy mean for my medications. He has said it depends on the exact medication in question, but for several of my medications, if I were to get pregnant while taking them, he’d suggest staying on them as going off of them may cause more complications.

What do you think? How much of an impact does a pregnant woman’s psychological state have on her fetus?

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About Holly Moyseenko

Holly Moyseenko is a sex educator living in Ohio. She is an advocate of positive and healthy sexuality. Holly currently works for a non-profit health organization as a health educator, and also teaches workshops that focus on many topics within the realm of healthy sexuality. In her spare time, she also is an advocate for survivors of sexual assault, gardens, reads anything within reach, drinks copious amounts of tea, and naps with her two dogs.