Resilience and Stress during Pregnancy: A Comprehensive Multidimensional Approach in Maternal and Perinatal Health

ScientificWorldJournal. 2021 Aug 13;2021:9512854. doi: 10.1155/2021/9512854. eCollection 2021.


This narrative review addresses resilience and stress during pregnancy, which is part of a broader concept of maternal health. Pregnancy and postpartum are opportune periods for health promotion interventions, especially because the close contact of the women with health professionals. In this way, it can be considered a useful window of opportunity to identify women at higher risk for adverse outcomes. Integrated health is a concept that aims at providing comprehensive care related to the promotion of individuals' physical, mental, and social well-being. In this context, stress during pregnancy has been targeted as a remarkable condition to be addressed whether due to individual issues, social issues, or specific pregnancy issues, since it is directly and indirectly associated with pregnancy complications. Stress is associated with preterm birth, postpartum depression, anxiety, child neurodevelopment, and fetal distress. The way that an individual faces a stressful and adverse situation is called resilience; this reaction is individual, dynamic, and contextual, and it can affect maternal and fetal outcomes. Low resilience has been associated with poorer pregnancy outcomes. The social context of pregnancy can act as a protective or contributory (risk) factor, indicating that environments of high social vulnerability play a negative role in resilience and, consequently, in perceived stress. A given stressor can be enhanced or mitigated depending on the social context that was imposed, as well as it can be interpreted as different degrees of perceived stress and faced with a higher or lower degree of resilience. Understanding these complex mechanisms may be valuable for tackling this matter. Therefore, in the pregnancy-puerperal period, the analysis of the stress-resilience relationship is essential, especially in contexts of greater social vulnerability, and is a health-promoting factor for both the mother and baby.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / prevention & control*
  • Depression, Postpartum / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Fetal Distress / prevention & control
  • Fetus
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Health*
  • Parturition / psychology
  • Perinatal Care / organization & administration
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / prevention & control*
  • Premature Birth / prevention & control
  • Premature Birth / psychology
  • Resilience, Psychological*
  • Social Vulnerability
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control*