Pregnancy can be an exhilarating time filled with joy, hope, and expectation, but for many women, it’s also a time of increased worry, strain, and stress. It’s only natural to worry about your baby’s health or fret over an endless to-do list with a looming deadline, but it’s important to recognize when you’re over-stressed and take steps to relax, refocus your mental energy, and find a healthier balance.
Effectively managing your stress when you’re pregnant also helps you and your baby stay physically healthy. Research shows that pregnant women who actively incorporate stress reduction techniques into their everyday lives are less likely to deliver prematurely or have babies with a low birth weight.
Here at Abundant Life Healthcare in Lawrenceville, Georgia, we believe that helping our moms-to-be learn how to manage their stress is an important part of routine prenatal care. No matter what trimester you’re in or how many pregnancies you’ve already been through, here are some of the easiest and most effective ways to de-stress during pregnancy:
1. Go for a walk
Whenever you feel stressed out, slip into a pair of supportive shoes and head outdoors for a quick stroll. Simply walking at an easy pace for 10 or 20 minutes can help get your blood flowing and release plenty of feel-good endorphins to take your mind off your worries.
2. Get more sleep
Making sure you get enough sleep when your body is working overtime to nourish your developing baby is one of the best ways to ease stress and feel more centered. If sleep is elusive or you just can’t seem to get comfortable, use a body pillow for extra support, turn down the thermostat, and don’t eat anything within two hours of your bedtime.
3. Practice deep breathing
Deep breathing, which can help you feel calm and less stressed in just two minutes, allows you to slow down, relax in the moment, inhabit your body, and reconnect with your baby. Begin by sitting comfortably in a quiet space with one hand on your belly and the other over your heart. Inhale deeply through your nose, then exhale fully through your open, relaxed mouth.
4. Take a dip (or a soak)
There’s nothing like water to soothe your body, calm your mind, and float your worries away. If you have access to a pool, swimming can help you feel buoyant and lighter in an instant. Even if there isn’t a pool nearby, taking a long shower or a lukewarm bath can be just as restorative.
5. Have a massage
You may already know that massage can help promote deep relaxation and reduce stress, but did you know that massage is even more beneficial when you’re pregnant? Getting regular massages during pregnancy can help improve your circulation, release muscle tension, and relax your nervous system. Just make sure you see a therapist who specializes in prenatal massage.
6. Say “no” more often
When you only have a few months to prepare for the arrival of your newborn, having a massive to-do list can leave you feeling stressed to the max. It’s important to recognize that you can’t do it all. Instead, make slowing down your main priority, and practice saying no to the things that increase your stress levels.
7. Ask for help
Your partner, family, and friends don’t want you to be stressed, and most of them are ready and willing to help. With that in mind — and because you know you really can’t do it all — don’t be afraid to accept help when it’s offered. And when it isn’t offered, don’t be afraid to ask.
8. Take a break
Whether you’re working full-time, raising a young child, maintaining your household, or all of the above, don’t let your daily responsibilities push your stress levels through the roof. When you feel the need to unwind, take a day off from work or take a break from your daily chores and put your feet up, read a book, or take a nap.
9. Limit your time online
Learning about the various stages of pregnancy and fetal development can be helpful and empowering, but spending a lot of time reading about pregnancy online can inadvertently lead to information overload and increased stress. When that happens, it’s time to power down and bring your focus back to your own pregnancy in the present moment.
If stress is making your pregnancy less enjoyable than it should be, the team at Abundant Life Healthcare can help. Call our Lawrenceville office today or schedule an appointment online any time.