Women should monitor their stress levels. "An anxious day or two at work probably won't do you in, but prolonged stress can cause real problems. There are no magic rules for a when a woman should stop working during pregnancy. A woman's decision should be based on her level of fatigue, the type of work involved, her pregnancy history, and her doctor's opinion," says Dr. Jonathan Scher, MD, author of Preventing Miscarriage: The Good News.
"Stress creates mental tension that can quickly rise to a boil," adds Kerstin Sjoquist, a certified hypnotherapist. "Stress wreaks havoc on our bodies, lowering our ability to fight illness and disease. Lingering anxiety can make sleep difficult, which leads to more stress, creating an endless vicious cycle."
Sjoquist emphasizes that women should also make themselves a priority and schedule down time. "That 15-minute mini-vacation on a daily basis can quite literally save your mental health before you head home to the house, your kids, and your partner and everything they all demand of you," she says. "And keeping your mental health in check [prevents] your stress from showing up in your skin, eyes, and even your hair."
Dr. Abdulla Al-Khan, MD, assistant attending in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Hackensack University Medical Center, agrees stress should be kept in check. "High stress levels lead to higher endorphin and cortisol levels in the mother, and this could lead to possible adverse pregnancy outcome," he says. "Even though the data on this subject is poor, I strongly believe that a healthy mind-set leads to excellent outcomes."