Pregnancy is meant to be an empowering and uplifting journey through which an expecting mother develops immense love for their unborn babies. It is meant to be a joy filled and exciting journey with your unborn baby.
According to scientific research, a mother can feel her baby as early as thirteen weeks, or as late as 25 weeks. The baby’s movement is more of a flutter at this point in time. It’s called quickening.
And while this is a special time, it can also be extremely stressful. Pregnancy affects you mentally, emotionally and physically. These changes are part of the pregnancy process, and they can be absolutely draining.
It’s only made worse when you’re scrolling through social media and see others posting beautifully staged photos of them looking perfectly put together with their pregnant bellies. While you on the other hand are seemingly falling apart, drowning in stress. Very few women post the realities of pregnancy for the world to see, but trust us, you’re not alone.
And while stress is normal during pregnancy, high levels of stress when prolonged may end up affecting both you and your unborn baby.
How Stress Affects Pregnancy
There are so many conditions that are likely to result from a high stress pregnancy. Health problems like high blood pressure which can escalate to a serious condition called preeclampsia.
High levels of stress during your pregnancy can also result in your baby being born prematurely. That is thirty seven weeks and below and with a lower birth weight than expected, which is less than five and a half pounds. It should however be noted that the latter is more common in mothers with an impaired stress hormone.
Aside from these immediate after birth effects on either of you, there is proof of later complications on children whose mothers were stressed during pregnancy.
Your child could have a higher risk of developing anxiety and depression later on in life.
We’re not telling you all of this to scare you or stress you out even more. As we mentioned, some stress is perfectly normal when you’re pregnant.
However, it’s important to be aware of what high levels of stress can do, so you can start monitoring your stress levels. When things seem to be getting to stressful, you’ll know it’s time to do something about it.
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest causes of stress during pregnancy, and what to do about them to keep you and your baby healthy.
Changes to Your Body
You are carrying and are going to bring another person to life. It’s inevitable that your body will experience certain changes as it tries to accommodate these new conditions.
Some of the ways your body will change during pregnancy include:
- Gaining weight
- Increased appetite
- Mood swings
- Stretch marks
- Your skin darkening
- Face swelling
- Swollen and tender breasts
However minuscule a change, it can cause stress to a new mother. You can engage in some activities that will help you manage and deal with these conditions to reduce stress.
Enroll yourself in prenatal yoga or swimming at the local gym. Take walks as you listen to some music. These exercises here and there will make you feel more fit and confident.
Your doctor may be able to give you something to help you deal with that nausea and other conditions.
Getting Organized And Prepared
Pregnant women always worry about having everything in place and in perfect order for the arrival of their unborn babies. You want the best you can afford for your baby.
Sometimes, new moms feel a need to do it all themselves without anyone else’s involvement. This could be very difficult, especially for new mothers.
You have to learn to give over some control and let others help you while you prepare for your new baby.
Especially if you’re a new mom and don’t know where to start.
You might not be sure about what to buy, where to buy it from and how much would be enough. What type of car seat do you need? How many diapers should stock up on? What do you need to take with you to the hospital on delivery day?
Thoughts of unpreparedness in readiness for your baby might cause you stress.
But it doesn’t have to.
There are a lot of directives and information about a baby’s essentials. No need to worry. It’s as simple as having a checklist with all the baby essentials one might need with specifics. Here’s a good one from Parents.com. Your checklist will give you some sense of direction and a feeling of preparation.
When you feel fatigued and overworked, ask for help.
Let your social support network that was elated at the news of your pregnancy help you in shopping, arranging and any other preparations.
Ask your big brother to put the baby cot together. Let your sisters help you paint the baby’s nursery.
Read books about pregnancies or first time mothers. Get those opinions and experiences.
If you don’t have close friends or family nearby, there are a lot of mommy advice blogs and support networks online. Here’s a list from The Spruce.
Join those online groups for pregnant women or more specifically, new time mothers. You get to share your frustrations and experiences with people you are in the same shoes with.
You will feel understood and relaxed as you find out you are not the only one experiencing some events in your pregnancy.
Trying to Relax During Your Pregnancy
As a pregnant woman, you’re running on a set time, maybe less. Sometimes, you are in a hurry. Your body is changing and there’s just a lot going on.
The nursery is not yet ready. You wanted a different shade of pink for the baby cot. You panic and start getting stressed about such details.
Ask for all the help you can get.
Then take a breath, tone everything out and relax.
Skip out on that baby shopping spree early in the morning and sleep in. Have a warm bubble bath in the evening to sooth those swollen feet and aches in your ankles. Put on some music and read a book to your baby.
Scientific research has proven that a baby can hear sounds from outside the womb as early as eighteen weeks. They start being sensitive to the sounds at 24 weeks.
How about signing up for that free online antenatal classes online? Do something for yourself, not just for the baby. Although, when you are relaxed, your baby is definitely relaxed as well so it’s a win-win situation.
This journey shouldn’t begin, run or end on a bad note where your baby is born with complications that are stress related. It should be one that will end with a healthy birth, a joyous and healthy mother and baby.
Look forward to the birth of your child and not the end of your tiring pregnancy. You should not be sighing with relief that you are finally no longer bloated or have swollen feet or a huge pimple on your forehead.
It should end with unfathomable love for your new baby and pride that you have come this far.
At the end of the pregnancy, all a mother should realize is that of all the things her hands ever held, the best by far will be her baby.
Check out this article for 10 natural ways to relieve stress during pregnancy.