It is common for expecting mums to stress over their baby, body, life changes, and many other routine things. While stress during pregnancy is usually considered harmless, prolonged or severe stress may affect the mum and the baby’s health. In fact, research conducted by the National Library of Medicine shows that around 8% to 13% of women are diagnosed with stress and anxiety during and before pregnancy. The study also indicates that constant stress can lead to other difficulties like insomnia, headaches, and in some cases, depression.
The good news is that there are several ways to overcome stress during pregnancy and enhance your overall well-being. You just need to determine what triggers it and learn effective methods to handle them.
Knowing and understanding the symptoms of stress can help you detect a solution faster. Here are some of the common symptoms of stress in expecting mums:
Don’t hesitate to ask for help from your friends or family members if you are feeling overwhelmed due to a certain task, such as setting up your little one’s nursery or looking after the house chores. In fact, you should probably divide chores among your family members, especially those that require physical effort. Don’t take on everything yourself and delegate work during this time to allot me-time to you too.
We know that getting sound sleep during pregnancy can be a tad bit difficult (thanks to the growing belly and the constant urge to pee), but inadequate sleep can increase your stress levels and make you more anxious. So try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night, and if that isn’t possible, try to get quick naps during the day to feel energised and recharged.
Follow a relaxing bedtime routine, complete with a bath, a nice and warm cup of chamomile tea, and some soothing music to transport you to the sleepy zone. You can also get a pregnancy pillow to help you achieve a comfy position to ensure uninterrupted sleep.
Pregnancy can be stressful, and chances are many expectant mums are having the same anxious thoughts as you. So instead of keeping all the anxious thoughts inside, try to talk it out with other pregnant women or new parents. Share your feelings with them to know how they’ve been managing things at their end and handling stress. Who knows, you may even come across some great advice and tips to deal with anxiety during this time.
A relaxing bath can be an ideal way to take things off your mind, and also soothe your aching joints and muscles. To make your bath time even more rejuvenating, use a natural body wash with plant-based and soothing ingredients such as ginger and orange essential oils and coconut cleansers. These ingredients give a refreshing fragrance that can ease your pregnancy discomforts, elevate your mood, and reduce stress levels.
Exercise is one of the best stress busters. Working out helps release feel-good hormones called endorphins which lower stress levels and elevate your mood. Just make sure to consult your doctor first, to determine which exercises are safe to perform during this time.
It’s obvious that during this time you want to acquire information about all pregnancy, and childbirth-related topics. However, some topics can trigger your stress and make you uneasy. To avoid that from happening, try to stay away from negative or stressful information. Try switching your pregnancy-related book to a fun one, or stay in the pregnancy, and childbirth genre, and read some funny stories shared by parents, such as funny things my baby does, or how I feel changing my baby’s diaper. Stories like this will surely crack you up and reduce your stress.
Acupuncture is a relaxing therapy method, which is considered safe during pregnancy. Getting acupuncture can help reduce anxiety and stress in mums and also aid in the healthy development of the baby. However, make sure to consult your doctor before getting this therapy for yourself.
Regular meditation and deep-breathing exercises can help lower your cortisol levels and aid the production of feel-good, endorphin hormones. The release of these hormones can instantly improve your mood and make you feel relaxed and rejuvenated. You can also try other ways to relax such as going for a brisk walk or getting a soothing prenatal massage. Just do whatever works best in reducing your stress.
It is essential to treat yourself well during this time. Stay hydrated throughout the day and consume a well-balanced diet. This will help keep your energy levels up, and your stress levels low. Try to maintain your overall health by eating right and that will in turn help manage your stress.
Dealing with stress during pregnancy isn’t easy and in some cases, can affect both your and your baby’s health. It’s advisable thus, to use these de-stressing methods and ask for support whenever required.