Stress relief during pregnancy: Pregnancy can be a very stressful time, as you prepare for a new chapter of your life, and as hormones soar through your body. You can find yourself feeling very emotional, even frazzled, and a lot of your favourite ways to relax may not be so easy now that you’ve got your bump!
According to WebMD, maternal stress can potentially put your baby at risk, too. Which is another thing that you may feel stressed worrying about, but it’s also a great incentive to relax. When you feel stressed, your body enters “fight-or-flight” mode, which was very useful when your ancestors had to run away from predators at top speed, but can be quite harmful to your mental health when the stressor is regular, constant, and/or unavoidable.
Of course, you can’t entirely rid your life of stress, so being able to find effective ways to relieve it is key.
Stress relief during pregnancy
1. Practice mindfulness.
You may think of mindfulness as something that conjures up mental images of a monk meditating in the Himalayas, and yes, it is that too, but it’s also a relaxation technique that has been used in the East for millennia, and has been proven by neuroscientists to be extremely effective. It may feel strange at first, but the more you do it, the more used to it you become and the more effective it is.
The key point of mindfulness is that you bring yourself into the present moment: don’t think about anything that made you sad in the past, or that you worry about for the future. To do this however, you need to get certain things done first, for example making sure to do your research and purchase a top-notch breast pump so that you’re ready when the baby is born.
After you get those errands done, simply silence your internal chatter, and listen to the world around you. You could go barefoot in the park, enjoying the texture of the grass underneath your feet, the scent of flowers, the noises of your local birds. Or you could just pop on some Enya, close your eyes, and mentally “sail away’.”
2. Take a warm (but not too hot!) bath.
Pregnancy often comes with a wide variety of aches and pains, so it’s important to relax your body and mind! You can’t take hot baths when you’re pregnant, but below your normal body temperature of 98.6 Degree F is fine, and it’s a great way to take a load off at the end of the day.
3. Talk it out.
Whether it’s to a supportive partner, friends and family, or to a trained counsellor, it’s important to have someone to talk things out with. You’re going through some major changes in life, both physically and emotionally, and having a network of people who care about you and want to see you thrive will make things so much easier.
If you’re far away from family or friends and feeling socially isolated, talk to your doctor for a referral to an appropriate specialist, or about what community groups are available to you.
If your partner is unsupportive and you’re unhappy in your relationship, talk frankly to a professional, as something like that is highly unlikely to get better after your little one comes. You may even be experiencing emotional abuse without realizing it, so familiarize yourself with the signs. Remember: love = respect.
4. Eat well, and exercise.
What you eat is strongly linked with how you feel, and eating well will help to reduce your stress levels. While you’re pregnant, you may have the very strong urge to eat any chocolate or candy that happens to cross your path, but what you (and your baby) need right now is a balanced diet.
Likewise, while you may have heard that women can’t exercise during pregnancy, some forms of exercise is okay – in fact, they’re good for you! Talk to your doctor about what exercises are suitable, and get moving: it’ll improve your health and your mood too.
Pregnancy is such an exciting time in your life, but can also be quite challenging. Know that you’re not alone, and that feeling stressed out is not only not something to be ashamed of, but also something that most mothers experience! Taking the time for self-care means that you’ll be healthier and happier, and so will your little one. By focusing on your well-being, and that of your baby, you’re doing the best for both of you.
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Stress relief during pregnancy
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