Pregnancy period is a very sensitive and stressful time for soon-to-be mothers. Your body's physically changing, you're not able to do the things you used to and the mental pressure that comes along with carrying a baby for 9 months builds up. All these feelings may result in stress.
It is very important to avoid or manage this stress during pregnancy as much as possible for you health and your baby. While it might be easier said than done, here are 10 tips to help relieve stress during pregnancy.
1. Rest Whenever You Can
Finding time to relax seems simple, but is sometimes very difficult. However, not only is it good for you but is great for the baby as well. So do not feel guilty for taking the time to "do nothing."
While you're at work, try to find a place where you can relax during lunch and put your legs up. When you get home, try to take a break from housework. Although many of us like having the house shining, now is not the time to be a perfectionist.
If you already have children, it's even more difficult to find time to relax, but you could ask your partner, a friend or the grandparents to care for them one evening from time to time so you can enjoy a well-deserved rest.
We also recommend getting a comfy pregnancy pillow. They're ergonomically designed to help relieve tension and pressure and allow you to sleep more comfortably when you're dealing with stress during pregnancy. This pillow from Leachco is extremely popular and highly recommended.
2. Yoga for Pregnancy
Yoga for pregnancy (prenatal yoga) keeps the body flexible and teaches many relaxation techniques. Practice will help during pregnancy and childbirth. If you are prone to suffer from anxiety or panic attacks, breathing techniques used by practicing yoga can also reassure you.
3. Share Your Concerns
If you spend sleepless nights wondering if your baby will be born healthy or who will care when you get back to work, you're not alone. Talking about your concerns, whether with your partner, your mother or a friend who already has children, will help a lot.
Other women at the same stage of pregnancy as you, maybe in a childbirth class, probably share your anxieties and stress during pregnancy. Talk to them, because you can support each other. And do not forget to use the class teacher, your doctor or midwife, they can also reassure you.
4. Relaxation Techniques
Getting a massage during pregnancy is a great way to relax. There are therapists who specialize in massages for pregnant women. Or, you can take a look at our list of the top massage pillows to give yourself some quick relief at home or at work when your lower back or feet start to hurt.
The techniques of meditation and positive visualization are also useful. Meditation is a way to relax by concentrating on the point of mental focus or your breathing. Positive visualization is a technique to overcome anxieties by creating a mental image of a reassuring scene.
If you're just starting out with mediation and positive visualization, I recommend using guided meditation at first. These recordings walk you throuh complete meditation sessions from start to finish. After a while, you'll learn the ins and outs and be able to do it alone with some relaxing music in the background and calming scents from an essential oil diffuser. Just make sure you choose a time when you will not have any interruptions and can dedicate at least 20 minutes to your mediation.
5. Get Ready for Delivery
Perhaps you are suffering from thinking about childbirth and how to endure pain, or how your partner reacts. If you learn as much as you can in advance, you will feel much more secure.
You can learn a lot about all the stages of labor, as well as physical and emotional aspects that mark each stage by enrolling in a childbirth class, reading books and magazines. If you're going to have the baby in a hospital, it may also help you to visit the maternity area and enter the rooms where women are in labor.
If you feel overwhelmed by fear, talk to your doctor or midwife. Studies indicate that with proper support, you can overcome fear.
6. Changes in the Relationship With Your Partner
Sometimes pregnancy can create tensions between partners, for example, if you're too tired to be intimate, if your partner cannot understand the sudden changes of mood hormones that affect you, or the new life that lies ahead - that means less time for the couple and costs - are causing anxiety.
Try to share your concerns with your partner, so you can face and overcome them together.
7. Strategies to Facilitate the Journey to Work
If you work, you may have planned to continue doing so until near the due date to spend more time with your baby once they're born. But the round trip to work can become a source of stress, that worsens further along into your pregnancy.
If you are using public transportation, ask your boss if you can start and end the workday earlier or later to avoid rush hours. If your work is done primarily by computer, maybe you can ask permission to do so from the house one day a week.
When traveling by bus or subway, try sitting. If the bus is full and no one offered a seat, ask. Exposing yourself to a fall is not good when you're pregnant. Most people willingly give way to a pregnant woman, but sometimes you have to remind them.
8. Money Worries
There is no doubt that having a baby affects finances. If you're worried about how to cope with the extra expenses, make a list of items you need in order of priority and decide who you can ask to get them from family and friends. There's often no need to buy everything, especially things that are only used a couple of months like a small crib.
Make sure that you will receive all the money that you're due during maternity leave. You can talk to your company's human resources department for advice.
9. Diet & Exercise
There are some foods that can help balance the hormones that are triggered in times of stress. Foods containing B vitamins, such as yeast extract, bread, and rice grain, increase the levels of the anti-stress hormone serotonin.
Exercise also reduces stress, and continues to do so, provided it is a safe activity. If you have doubts, ask your doctor if it is. If you go to a gym class, inform the teacher you're pregnant to adapt the exercises in a safe way for you and your baby.
Swimming is ideal exercise during pregnancy, because it keeps you flexible and healthy, but does not damage joints. Special exercise routines like barre for pregnant women are also a fun way to stay in shape.
When you are at work, get up and walk from time to time if your job requires you to spend much time sitting, and lunch out is a breath of fresh air, if only ten minutes.
There is nothing more relaxing than laughing, so take advantage of any opportunity to drop some good laughs. Did they just release a good comedy? Then go to the movies with some friends. Your nerves will dissipate with the first laugh.
A weekend road trip with your partner or a few hours at a spa that offers specific treatments for pregnant women are perfect antidotes for pregnancy stress.
Pregnancy is also the perfect time to indulge from time to time with little luxuries you would normally not allow. For example, when your belly grows so large that you can't almost touch your feet, treat yourself to a pedicure.
Although pregnancy can be stressful, it's also an exciting time! Think of the positive memories you'll have once you've given birth and get to raise your child. Hopefully these 10 tips will help you relieve stress during pregnancy, and make the journey a little more pleasant!