Pregnancy can be very exciting – but for many women, it can also be stressful. Constant worrying can have an adverse effect on your health, and it can even cause behavioural issues and other problems for your baby after he or she arrives. While some stress is unavoidable, it’s best to find ways to cope – not just for your well-being and that of your little one, but also because life is far more pleasant without interference from constant strain and tension. Next time you’re feeling under pressure, try some of these strategies for staying stress-free.
Focus on having a healthy baby.
Imagine your baby, peacefully growing inside you. Knowing about his or her stage of development can help you visualize; for example by pregnancy week 12, your little one has a little baby’s profile, complete with a button nose and tightly closed eyelids. Know that he or she depends on you, and that staying balanced is one way to help ensure healthy development.
Know what’s normal for your body during pregnancy.
Pregnancy comes with all sorts of strange, often-unpleasant symptoms. Understanding what’s normal can help keep you from worrying each time you feel a new sensation, such as a sharp twinge from round ligament stretching.
Enjoy healthy foods.
Believe it or not, there’s a strong link between food and your feelings. Certain foods can help you ward off stress, so try to enjoy them often. Some examples include beef, turkey, whole-grain bread, salmon, and Greek yogurt. Taking vitamins – especially B vitamins – can help alleviate stress, too.
Take time out for meditation.
Intentional relaxation techniques like meditation and gentle yoga can send stress on its way. You don’t have to spend hours doing this; even a few minutes of focusing on your breath can be helpful.
Plan for the future.
Worrying does nothing but waste time and increase stress. Instead of allowing your mind to run rampant, make plans for everything from your baby’s birth to your maternity leave from work. Having concrete plans and ensuring that all the details are covered takes your brain out of that harmful loop and gives you the satisfaction that comes with accomplishing goals.
Take birthing classes.
Many women are nervous about the birth process. Knowing what to expect can help ease your mind – and so can the relaxation techniques that you’ll learn. Practice these not just to be prepared, but to help yourself de-stress now.
Exercise if you can.
Once your doctor gives his or her approval, find a fun workout routine and stick to it. Besides reducing stress hormone levels, exercise stimulates your body’s natural “feel-good” chemicals. Even simple things like walking, stretching, and deep breathing exercises can help you deal with everyday stressors.
Enjoy time with friends and family.
Simply conversing with a good friend can help you feel better when something is bothering you; often, others can help put things into perspective. Try sharing simple, fun activities like shopping, walking around your neighborhood, or watching funny movies.
Enjoy the nesting process.
You’re not imagining things – you really do have a biological urge to nest during pregnancy. Taking care of your home, prepping baby’s nursery, and tidying up satisfies your nesting instinct and takes your mind off stressors.
Try to get enough sleep.
While the discomforts of pregnancy can keep you up at night, sleep is still an important factor in reducing stress. Try to rest, relax, and catch a few winks whenever you can.