Overload

Pregnancy

Category: Illness or disabilities

Type

Involuntary

Introduction and description

Pregnancy …… “the fertilization and development of one or more offspring, known as an embryo or fetus, in a woman's uterus

Or so it is defined in medical speak.  Having a bun in the oven or being up the spout  is perhaps a more graphic description. On the right the famous picture of Demi Moore during her pregnancy.

Pregnancy is not an illness, it is an event, but because so many strange spiritual experiences have been known as a consequence of people being pregnant, where people think they are ill [when they are not] we have included it here rather than in the events section.

But, if you would like to find out why such an extraordinarily large number of women have spiritual experiences during pregnancy, then please follow this

You can have one baby or multiple babies in the oven in which case the medics call it a ‘multiple gestation’.

It comes with some fairly horrendous side-effects, all of which have to be suffered for a period of 9 months or as the medics say ‘38 weeks after conception’.

Medics call the little baby an embryo in the first 8 weeks following conception, and subsequently the term fetus is used.  One interesting little statistic is that  40% of pregnancies in the United States and United Kingdom are still  ‘unplanned’.

And pregnancy is well known for producing some quite interesting spiritual experiences.

How it works

There are a number of possible mechanisms at work here, all of which may be contributing.

Endorphins

The first mechanism is endorphins. The release is triggered by exercise,  excitement, pain, consumption of spicy food, love and orgasm and being pregnant. They resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a feeling of well-being. 

The main reason why endorphins are released naturally by the body during pregnancy  is because the body goes through some quite horrendous changes during pregnancy and without the endorphins, the mum could be in fairly constant pain and distress.

Pregnancy causes backache, haemorrhoids [very common] , bladder pressure, stomach pressure, pressure on the rib cage, hernias [yes many future mums get hernias] , migraine headaches, gastrointestinal reflux [very common] , sore legs and feet caused by the extra weight, varicose veins [common] , gingivitis, morning sickness, incontinence, heartburn, rashes, sensitive painful skin [all these are genuine problems people have faced]  …………. And it goes on.  Producing a baby is no picnic.

This list is not complete and having all this lot is potentially a deeply depressing experience.  But nature wants pregnancy to be a happy experience and tries its best by releasing endorphins to ease the pain and improve the mood.

Endorphins thus act via sensory deprivation  - the removal of pain and discomfort

Sleep deprivation

Another contributory cause can be sleep deprivation, a number of the observation show this as a contributory factor.

Glucocorticoids

One neurotransmitter cited in the published medical literature are glucocorticoids, which affects the memory  ……………..

Giving birth to a new brain: hormone exposures of pregnancy influence human memory
- Glynn LM ; Department of Psychology, Chapman University, Orange, CA 92866, USA.

…………. This study indicates that verbal recall memory (but not recognition or working memory) diminishes during human pregnancy and that these decrements persist after parturition. Further, prenatal glucocorticoids and estrogen are associated with these alterations. …PMID: 20304563

But I think the neurotransmitter is a by product of a functional situation.  High levels of glucocorticoid levels can occur at times of great stress – thus if the pregnancy is a stressful one, levels of this hormone may be high.  Ultimately, therefore, the cause is actually stress.

Pharmaceuticals

Certain medications also contain glucocorticoids – particularly asthma medication 

  • Prednisone is a glucocorticoid prodrug that is used to treat certain inflammatory diseases such as moderate allergic reactions.
  • Dexamethasone is a potent synthetic member of the glucocorticoid class of steroid drugs. It acts as an anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant.  Perhaps of particular importance, however, is that Dexamethasone may be given to women at risk of delivering prematurely in order to promote maturation of the fetus' lungs.

 So if you have been given these drugs you run quite a high risk of getting an hallucination irrespective of whether you are pregnant or not!

 The following paper shows that although asthma medication may not affect the baby, it certainly affects the mum, especially if the baby is a girl.

Fetal glucocorticoid-regulated pathways are not affected by inhaled corticosteroid use for asthma during pregnancy - Hodyl NA et al ; Robinson Institute, University of Adelaide, South Australia.

Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) are currently advised for the control of asthma during pregnancy, despite the lack of evidence regarding potential systemic effects on maternal, placental, and fetal systems…………[we found that ] Maternal hormone concentrations were not affected by the presence of asthma; however, they were inhibited by ICS use in a dose-dependent manner. ……….Maternal glucocorticoid-regulated systems appeared susceptible to ICS only when pregnant with a female.  …. Fetal adrenal function appeared unaffected by ICS in pregnancies of both males and females.

References and further reading

Observations

When I tried to collect the observations for the experiences during pregnancy, the vast majority of those I found on the Internet tended to be negative – or at least were unpleasant or frightening.  People had written in asking for help to determine what was happening to them.  On the whole the types of experience reported in this way were a mixture of hallucination and vision. 

But quite a large number of people experience ecstasy and bliss – happiness and a feeling of being one with the world.  This is neither frightening nor needs explanation – people don’t generally  write in to self help web sites saying “I have just had a wave of euphoria of which I have had no equal in my whole life – by the way I am pregnant, what should I do about it?!”

So the following examples are somewhat skewed the wrong way – from my own personal observations more people have positive experiences than they ever have negative ones

Related observations