Pregnancy is often thought of as joyful where the majority of moms are excited about the new life growing inside their bellies. However, for some women, pregnancy can be a very stressful time. Unplanned pregnancies, women who already have multiple children, and woman who lack support systems may find themselves feeling less excitement and more anxious, overwhelmed, and even depressed. These feelings and raw emotions combined with the multitude of hormonal changes that take place during the nine months of pregnancy can sometimes have undesirable consequences.
We all know that many people do unthinkable things, but this includes pregnant women. While it’s entirely unnatural to think of a woman harming her child, it does happen, and it happens every day in one way or another. Most people have seen a pregnant woman smoking a cigarette, or consider the countless babies struggling to survive because they were born addicted to the same illegal drugs the mother used. These are sad situations but startlingly true. Sometimes the harm caused by pregnant women is unintentional, maybe she ate the wrong thing or traveled to a place with virus-carrying mosquitos. Shockingly, sometimes pregnant women and new moms intentionally hurt their children.
Here are 15 ways pregnant women are dangerous to their children:
15 When She Gets Foggy And Forgetful
Often referred to as pregnancy brain, many moms-to-be notice they develop a fogginess or cloudiness to their normally clear headed thought process. Some studies indicate the fuzzy thinking and forgetfulness that take place during pregnancy and early motherhood result from fluctuations and changes of hormones, specifically the higher levels of progesterone. Also, lack of sleep and stresses of the adjustment to a new baby at home may play a role. Often, this wacky state of mind can phase in and out before disappearing altogether without causing any major complications, although there are instances where the forgetfulness in pregnancy can become dangerous, especially with other small children around. Pregnant moms have confessed to forgetting everything from putting up scissors, turning off a burner on the stove, even forgetting to give a child their insulin shots!
14 When She Is Way Too Tired
Pregnant women know a thing or two about being tired. Building a baby from scratch takes a lot out of a woman. During the first trimester, especially while the placenta is being formed, many women feel sluggish. Then, by the second trimester, most are hit with an unexpected bout of energy, but by the third trimester, for various reasons, the tiredness returns to stay. Most women adjust to this need for hibernation by sleeping more, eating better, and getting help around the house. Others struggle daily to focus and stay awake which becomes a real problem when mom-to-be has to care for other children. Many moms admit they worry about falling asleep behind the wheel, or even falling asleep at home while caring for toddlers that might get into mischief while mom naps.
13 When Her Mood Swings Render Her Unstable
Pregnancy causes a tidal wave of hormones to fluctuate and flow through mom-to-be’s body and mind which can cause an interesting spectrum of emotions. One second mom-to-be can be full of joy looking in the mirror at her growing belly, the very next second she might feel terrified looking at the changes her body’s experiencing. Pregnancy is a huge life event and this period of transition is full of emotions, add to that the flood of hormones and you can have a recipe for disaster. Mood swinging moms-to-be can be snappy, weepy, crazy-happy, and sometimes very grumpy and even gloomy. A woman with rapidly changing moods and personalities can be dangerous for a variety of reasons. Moms-to-be with other children may find themselves with much less patience, and more ready to snap or even spank. And ask any dad-to-be - they will tell you that a moody pregnant woman is extremely dangerous.
12 If She Develops Depression During Pregnancy
It was once widely believed that pregnancy was a safe guard against depression and a number of other mental illnesses due to the surge of estrogen, however those theories have since been disproved. Pregnant women have the same odds of developing depression as women that are not pregnant. Depression during pregnancy can range in its severity. Some moms to be may feel a little weepy, and a little more tired, while others require talk therapy, and in some cases medications to handle more severe cases. Undiagnosed or otherwise untreated depression that starts during pregnancy and continues after the birth of the baby can be tough for the mom leading her to make decisions that could be very dangerous for herself or the child.
11 When She Is Dealing With Extreme Anxiety
Anxiety is an emotion most women can agree they experience to some degree during the nine months of pregnancy. During the first trimester, many moms worry about miscarriage and struggle with the emotional changes of pregnancy. For some moms-to-be, worries pop-up throughout the entire pregnancy as they are constantly asking themselves questions concerning whether they will be a good mother, if their partners will stick around and help, and whether the baby will be healthy. But more often than not, these worries are normal. Pregnant moms work through these worries logically and give themselves time to figure everything out. But in some cases when women develop extreme anxiousness and worry nonstop, it begins to disrupt their lives and the lives of the people surrounding them. These women tend to need talk therapy and some even require medication to level out their emotions, or they can risk harming themselves or their children.
10 When She Eats The Wrong Foods
One bite of the wrong food can cause dire consequences for a growing fetus. While full grown adults and even some healthy children might eat something tainted and suffer nothing more than an upset stomach, the very same virus could cause major damage to, or even kill, a growing baby. So, while it can seem dizzyingly dangerous territory trying to sort through the hazards of eating safely while pregnant, it's best to just avoid certain things altogether. Anything raw, or undercooked (think seared), deli meats, unpasteurized dairy, and raw sprouts are all off limits. The risk of ingesting parasites and bacteria found in these foods would be very dangerous for a growing baby.
9 If She Has An Eating Disorder
Women with an eating disorder who become pregnant are likely to continue suffering during and after the pregnancy. They may not eat enough for themselves or their growing child, take harmful substances like laxatives, or gain too much weight, causing birth defects, fetal death or still births. Eating disorders like other mental illnesses should, if possible, be treated before attempting to have children. Women suffering from distorted body images often struggle with the drastic changes that happen during pregnancy. Another difficult time for many women is after having the baby and trying to lose the baby weight. Extreme dieting and overly strenuous exercise before the body is ready is very dangerous for a new mom making her very susceptible to fainting or blacking out, which can also be extremely dangerous for mommy and the new born.
8 When She Doesn't Quit Smoking Cigarettes
Smoking is an unhealthy and addictive habit for anyone, but when it comes to pregnant women its especially horrendous. Besides the absolute facts that smoking causes cancer heart disease, and other major health problems, moms-to-be who chose to light up during pregnancy can cause their unborn children a world of problems from premature births; when children are born before 37 weeks, it can result in birth defects as well as infant death. These circumstances increase dramatically every time a pregnant woman smokes. Studies show that Children born to mothers that either continue to smoke during, or start back up after their children are born, are also at a higher risk to die from SIDS (sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
7 When She Has A Previous Mental Disorder
A mentally unstable and very pregnant Ebony Wilkerson drove her three children into the ocean off Daytona Beach in March. She was charged with attempted murder and later found not guilty by reason of insanity at the time. According to the psychiatrist, she did not “know right from wrong at the time.” When a woman previously diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder becomes pregnant, she must make some pretty tough decisions, one of the main ones being the decision to continue with medication throughout the pregnancy. In most other cases, medication, especially stronger ones, are typically avoided at all costs to avoid harming the fetus. But sometimes the decision to discontinue medication can be much more dangerous than the risk it would pose to the baby.
6 When She Has Undiagnosed STDs
Sexually transmitted diseases can go undetected and unnoticed for years. Some women don’t even realize they have an STD until they begin all the testing that comes with the many doctor’s visits that happen during the course of pregnancy. Many complications can arise from untreated STDs and most women who are suffering from them end up having cesarean sections to prevent the baby from coming into contact with infectious surfaces. Chlamydia can cause eye infections and pneumonia; Syphilis, which is easily passed onto the child, can cause serious complications and often leading to death; Gonorrhea can cause blindness in a newborn; Hepatitis B can cause liver disease and even death; and HIV can be transmitted from mother to baby without the strong medication necessary to prevent it.
5 When She Drinks Alcohol
Drinking during pregnancy can be a touchy subject for many women. In certain cultures, places, and situations, light drinking is not only acceptable, it's encouraged. But anything more than a sip or two with food is a major no-no. FAS, or fetal alcohol syndrome, is an entirely preventable disorder in children, but it results from the consumption of large amounts of alcohol by pregnant women. The range of physical and mental problems that babies can develop is truly heart wrenching, and FAS is the leading cause of mental retardation. Recently, experts began recommending that women refrain from drinking any amount of alcohol because "a safe limit" is often debated. Alcohol consumed by the mother remains in the growing baby’s system for much longer than the mothers because baby is unable to properly metabolize it making it extremely dangerous.
4 If She Inflicts Injury And Abuse
Majority of the injuries newborns and very young children suffer at the hands of their mother are unintentional, from being smothered while co-sleeping, to accidental drownings, or accidental poisoning. There are also those unfortunate cases where children are murdered intentionally. One heartbreaking story made headlines in November 2016 when a mom murdered her 17 month old son. According to police, Christian Clark texted, sent pictures and videos of her murdering her young son to the father because she believed the father was cheating on her. These awful stories are rare but they do happen.
3 When She Uses Illegal Drugs
Women with addictions to illegal drugs are very likely to continue using them throughout their pregnancy if they don’t receive the proper help or medications. At the very same time, stopping the drug use altogether can also be very dangerous causing the mother and growing baby to suffer harmful withdrawal symptoms. This is a difficult situation and always requires professional help. Sadly, more and more babies in the US are born addicted to illegal and prescription drugs. Babies born addicted to heroin or opioids often require morphine to deal with withdrawal and have to be slowly tapered off to prevent serious medical issues. There are thousands of children in America today who will face physical and mental difficulties because of the poor choices made by their mothers.
2 When She Gets Sick
During pregnancy, being sick is very different than when a woman is not carrying a child. A simple cold can linger much longer, the flu can land a mommy-to-be in the ER, and a simple mosquito bite can cause a rare birth defect in a newborn child. Most of the time, these illnesses can be prevented by washing hands, not getting too close to people who are ill, and taking vitamins. Even if some pregnant women get sick, they can get better on their own, but it just may take a little longer. However, in rare cases, if mommy-to-be gets sick, it can be very dangerous for her growing child. The Zika virus, carried by mosquitos, can cause Microcephaly - a neurological condition where babies are born with small heads and sometimes small brains.
1 When She Has The Baby Blues
A lot of people joke about the baby blues. We have all heard and seen the humorous stories of new moms crying at the drop of a hat because of a commercial, or crying about running out of oatmeal. The Baby Blues, or post-partum depression happens shortly after birth due to the major change in hormones that take place once a woman is no longer carrying a child. Most women have some form of post-partum depression with estimates ranging all the way up to 80% of new moms. The baby blues can have a wide-ranging affect from weepiness, to bouts of feeling blue, all the way to serious mental distress. Andrea Yates, found not guilty by reason of insanity, drowned all five of her children shortly after the birth of the fifth. She had previously been diagnosed with post-partum depression following the birth of another child and completely went off the deep end after having her 5th child and losing her father in the same time period. The tragic tale, unfortunately is not the only one of its kind.
If you or someone you know is having a rough time with pregnancy or being a new mother, get help.
You are not alone. Please call 1800-PPD-MOMS or email at firstname.lastname@example.org