Stress is unhealthy for mind and body. When we experience stress or trauma, our bodies release a hormone called “cortisol.” Normally, levels of this “stress hormone” are highest in the morning and decrease as the day goes on. However, those who experience chronic stress and/or have a history of trauma have smaller declines in their cortisol levels. This abnormal pattern of cortisol depletion, called a “flatter diurnal cortisol slope,” has been linked to the progression of cancer, hardening of the arteries, and other diseases. Researchers have also found that a flatter diurnal cortisol slope among expectant mothers is associated with an increased risk of giving birth to lower birth weight babies. This finding should prompt stressed pregnant women to seek counseling.
Managing stress is important to maintaining good health. Working with one of our experienced therapists, you will develop effective methods of reducing and coping with everyday stress. Minimize your risk of long term health issues today. Improve your quality of life, call one of our offices today or take the on-line assessment on this website.
P.S. If maternal cortisol levels become abnormally high, they can reduce blood flow to the fetus and deprive it of much-needed oxygen and nutrients.