High-stress levels are harmful for most people, especially if the stress is prolonged, running weeks, even months. It creates a variety of health problems, ranging from high blood pressure to heart disease. Stress is even more dangerous if a woman is pregnant because it can affect the birth of the baby. If a woman is stressed out for most of her pregnancy, it can result in either a low birthweight, less than five pounds, or it can result in premature birth, which is birth before the 37th week.
How Stress Affects A Baby in The Womb
While some stress during pregnancy is to be expected since life is not always calm, the fetus is affected when the stress is constant. When a mother is stressed, she sends out bursts of stress hormones, in particular, cortisol, which will affect the baby in her womb, causing its nervous system to fluctuate between fight or flight responses.
Stress can cause a miscarriage. While the link between stress and miscarriage is not clearly established, several studies suggest that women with high levels of emotional upset either in the early months of pregnancy or in the time before conception are at higher risk of having a miscarriage.
There is also the possibility of stillbirth, too. A 2008 Danish study of over 19,000 pregnant mothers showed that those with a high level of psychological-based stress had an eighty percent risk of stillbirth compared to women who only experienced intermediate stress.
DNA Test Can Relieve Anxiety
While there are many reasons why a pregnant woman might be stressed, not knowing the father of her child can cause a woman to feel anxious all the time. Fortunately, this bewilderment is easy enough to resolve because paternity DNA results can quickly identify the father. Once a woman knows the biological father, she can make decisions concerning the child’s welfare, financial support, and child care.
Accuracy of DNA Tests
DNA testing is accurate enough to provide a definitive conclusion. There is no need to be concerned about ambiguity. As far as the law is concerned, an accuracy rating of 99.99% is more than enough to establish paternity.
Risks of DNA Tests
There are at least three ways of doing paternity testing to get DNA samples from the child. One is completely safe, the other two carry some risk (and should be avoided.)
- The safest form of DNA testing that does not affect the fetus is where the mother’s blood is extracted to get free-floating fetal cells. Cell samples are not taken directly from the fetus. Instead, a process called NIPP, which stands for “non-invasive prenatal paternity testing,” is used to get a blood sample.
- Another paternal testing procedure called amniocentesis uses an extremely thin needle. A doctor inserts this needle into the uterus through the mother’s abdomen. This form of paternal testing has some unnecessary risks, including cramping, vaginal bleeding, and miscarriage.
- A third process is called CVS, which stands for “chorionic villus sampling.” In this procedure the chorionic villi s taken from the placenta and used for DNA testing. The American Pregnancy Association believes that there is a one percent chance that this procedure could trigger a miscarriage.
In conclusion, it is important for a mother who is highly-stressed about identifying the actual biological father of her child to arrange for a paternity DNA test. While there is no danger to the father in obtaining cells for the test, there can be risk to the mother and child if the mother does not use a non-invasive test. For this reason, it is necessary to get a clear understanding of what type of paternity test a lab offers before agreeing to a procedure.