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Pregnancy in a pandemic: psychosomatic implications on the baby

Pregnancy in a pandemic: psychosomatic implications on the baby

Being born today means having to face the codivid-19 emergency.

The pregnancy is by definition a period full of doubts and uncertainties , expectant mothers are preparing to give birth to their child with the thousand doubts that afflict a new mother. The great classics:

“Everything will be fine? Will I live up to this task? What should I expect for my son’s future? “

In the early days of Pandemic , childbirth was a very problematic moment, the neonatology wards were not yet equipped to face this event safely and as is done in situations of great emergency, the sense of maximum safety prevailed and the wards are were at first inaccessible and super armored to people outside the parturient.

New mom in the time of covid-19

The new mothers, therefore, found themselves displaced by everything they had learned in the pre-birth courses. Dad’s support had been widely contemplated in these courses and nothing would have made one think of that, which would have happened shortly thereafter.

Some, perhaps the first, found themselves facing the event of the birth completely alone .

Now the obstetrics departments have equipped themselves, but in the immediate period in which the emergency started, the partners in the birth room had been excluded .

This emergency situation will probably have subjected women to a further load of individual stress.

When you cross a certain threshold, stress can rise and also increase the level of cortisol (precisely, the stress hormone) in young mothers.

If this rises above a certain threshold it can reach the fetus and influence some aspects of its maturation.

This excess of hormones can break into the fetal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis of the autonomic nervous system. This is the axis that also modulates immune responses and its hyperactivation plays a crucial role in the vulnerability of an unborn skin disease called atopic dermatitis.

A recent survey, conducted by Northwester Univerity, showed a correlation between maternal psychological conditions in the prenatal period and the onset of the disease .

The skin represents that body covering, which delimits the internal space from the external one. It defines our borders from those of others.
Often in interpersonal contacts we manifest through the skin who we are, our moods and our emotions.

The redness of the face, manifest to others, that we are embarrassed, goosebumps, can make us understand, that something has frightened us or excited us, we can turn pale with fright, or sweat for something that excites us particularly.

Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory disease that causes itching, blisters, swelling, redness and flaking. The origin is not yet certain, however scientific evidence suggests that it could derive from an excess of cortisol in the circulation during gestation , without the inhibiting action of the enzyme HSD2, capable of transforming the same into an inactive form, thus exposing the fetus with oxidative stress and the possibility of developing atopic dermatitis, even in the face of a neonatal psychological adaptation .

Emotional factors can exacerbate the effects of this disease, such as environmental factors and the family, can mitigate or worsen its evolution.

Usually it is a disease that never completely heals and in the course of life can increase in intensity in conjunction with events, which trigger fears, feelings of guilt (…) and generally creeps into a personality that struggles to pull out their own skills and competences.

It manifests itself in people who tend to hold back their emotions fearing the judgment of others, being quite shy and inhibited.

So other skin diseases hide deep meanings and as Alexander Lowen says “There are no clearer words than body language, once you have learned to read it”.

Psychosomatics of skin diseases

So returning to the comparison with the main skin diseases such as vitiligo and the deep psychological meaning, we find a similarity between the white spots devoid of melatonin and the need to change skin and to purify oneself, after a psychological trauma.

Urticaria can be generated by a repressed cry , which has no outlet to the outside, for pain and anger following important events, and then converted into this manifestation.

The psoriasis  is manifested by patches of thickened skin and reddened, covered with a layer of white skin flakes. The most affected areas are the hands, which indicate the need for social contact, the feet which have the meaning of ego instability and poor contact with reality, the elbows, which show competitive dynamics, which cause discomfort.

Emotions are hardly communicated. Red symbolizes restrained aggression, white scales an attempt to purify oneself. They are people who apparently may seem sociable, but in reality they do not open up to deep relationships and struggle to express their emotions.

The skin often becomes the receptacle for psychic dynamics , which prefer this channel to manifest and share their emotions, for difficulties encountered in the external environment, or for personal difficulties.

Emotions are kept latent, because they are considered negative and bad, the skin is preferred to externalize, what is feared to manifest openly.