Should pregnant women get dental work done? How can the anxiety, fear and stress associated with a negative dental experience affect the mother—and even her developing embryo or fetus in utero?
Studies have shown that dentally related stress is associated with the release of some pretty nasty hormones, especially cortisol (sometimes called the “stress hormone”). Does cortisol cross the placenta? Considerable clinical evidence strongly suggests that it does. Some research suggests that components of maternal stress can negatively affect the developing fetus at various time intervals during pregnancy.
Cortisol’s exact role in fetal development is only now starting to be studied. And, depending in part on how much of a dental emergency you might be having…ONLY your physician and dentist (working in collaboration) can provide guidance on how appropriate dental care is during pregnancy. However, it seems logical that reducing levels of stress—dental or otherwise—during pregnancy can benefit both mom and baby.