It is very common for mums-to-be to feel extremely stressed out during the course of their pregnancies. If you are currently expecting and feeling stressed, first and foremost, let me reassure you that, even with stress levels through the roof, it is very likely that you will go on to give birth to a healthy baby with no problems at all. However, you’ll be carrying that little one for nine months, and being stressed out for that long could have a detrimental effect on your own health and well-being if you don’t take steps to relax and calm down.
Here are some simple steps you can take to make your pregnancy as stress-free as possible:
Rest and Focus on Your Pregnancy
You will do yourself and your baby the world of good if you can just relax and concentrate on having a healthy pregnancy. Of course, this is easier said than done when you’re experiencing all kinds of changes within your body and you’re getting ready for a huge life change, but it’s not impossible. Spend more time sitting down. Talk to your bump. Cut your responsibilities – do anything you can to lighten your load and put the focus on what is most important – you and your baby.
Talk About Your Feelings
Nurse jobs aren’t just about patching up injuries and administering medication – so, talk to your local practice nurse of midwife about your worries and ask them to recommend a stress management plan if things are getting on top of you and you don’t know how to cope. Sometimes, just having a professional reassure you can be all it takes to feel better about your situation and carry on with the rest of your pregnancy in a relatively stress-free state.
Of course, you should also take the time to talk to your partner, friends and family about your hopes and fears and the things you are finding difficult. Chances are they will swing into action and give you a bit more help, whether it be offering a friendly ear over a cup of tea, or doing some housework for you so that you can spend more time resting, relaxing and preparing for your pregnancy.
Eating a healthy diet that is packed with vitamins minerals, omega-3 and most importantly, folic acid, will not only help you to grow a very healthy baby, but it will ensure that you are in good health and better able to handle the physical side of your pregnancy. The fewer physical side-effects, such as a backache, excessive weight gain and morning sickness, you experience, the calmer and less stressed out you will be.
Exercise can boost your mood. Get moving, and you will get happy-making, stress-busting endorphins running through your system. It is perfectly safe to exercise during pregnancy, but you will want to avoid any dangerous sports where there is potential for harm to you or your baby. Try swimming, pregnancy yoga or brisk walking to keep you in shape and keep those mood-boosting chemicals pumping safely.
Prepare Yourself for the Birth
One of the things that can cause mothers-to-be a great deal of stress during their pregnancy is their fears about the actual act of giving birth, especially if they have never been through it before, or if they have had a bad experience with a previous child.
If this is the source of much of your stress, the best thing you can do is get prepared. Read books, watch videos and attend classes aimed at educating you about and preparing yours for childbirth. The more you know, the more confident you will feel about the big day when it comes and the less you’ll worry and stress about the process.
Prepare for Life with Baby
Mums and dads can also get very stressed thinking about baby’s arrival and what life will be like when they have a little person depending on them. Again, the best way to deal with this kind of stress is by preparing for it. Attend groups with other mothers and mothers-to-be, get the nursery ready, redo your budget to account for the extra expenses and get your home ready for the baby. All of these things will go some way to reassuring you and putting your mind and rest, which will significantly decrease your stress levels.
When you’re pregnant, don’t forget to have fun. Spend some time doing the things you most enjoy, whether it’s a solo hobby or lots of date nights with your partner. Getting out there and doing stuff you enjoy will take your mind of your worries, help you to de-stress and give you the chance to cram in as much as you can before baby comes and you have to spend most of your time caring for his or her needs for a while.
Switch Up Your Work Schedule
Commuting while pregnant can be a real strain and a major source of stress for many women. So, if you have to commute, and it’s causing you a lot of stress, why not see if you can negotiate different work hours, which will enable you to avoid the rush hour. This won’t be possible for all of you, but if you have an understanding boss and your work isn’t time sensitive, it’s definitely something worth considering.
Money worries are another thing that can lead to lots of stress during pregnancy. If money is tight, instead of worrying about it, why not be proactive and see what you can do to cut costs? Instead of buying everything baby needs new, check out eBay or local selling groups, where you can find some bargains, or ask friends and family if they have any old baby clothes you could have.
You should also avoid of buying lots of extras that you don’t really need. Marketers go out of their way to scare and pressure new mums into buying allsorts of devices their baby would be just as happy without, so write a list of the essentials and avoid anything else.
It could also be worth looking into any extra help you could be entitled to when the baby comes to help put your mind at rest.
Get a massage, try acupuncture or buy a few of your favourite beauty products and have a home pampering session to de-stress. After all, being pregnant takes a toll on the mind and body, and you deserve some quality me time, where you can take a load of and have an hour or two of pre-baby bliss. Just make sure that any products you are using are safe for pregnant women.
Pregnant or not, meditation is one of the best things you can do to de-stress. Simply find a quiet spot to sit (or lie down if that is more comfortable) for a few minutes and focus on your breath, counting each one until you reach 10 and then starting again. This will enable you to clear your head, gain some perspective and focus and prepare yourself for the coming chaos of motherhood all in a few minutes a day.
If you’re not sure how to meditate, most towns and cities will have at least one meditation group that you can join.
Get Professional Help
If all else fails and you’re still feeling stressed, so not hesitate to visit your GP or book a few counselling sessions, sometimes you need a more medical approach to your problems, and these are the people who can help you most.