I am no stranger to stress during pregnancy. While I was pregnant with my third child, my grandfather lost his battle to pancreatic cancer. For three weeks, our family watched him suffer in the hospital. I spent hours with him during those last few weeks, separated from my children while eating hospital foods. Death can cause severe stress during pregnancy.
Stress isn’t good during pregnancy. While normal levels of stress are okay, consistently high levels are dangerous for your body and your baby.
Your doctor may perform fetal stress tests, particularly at the end of your pregnancy. Also called a non-stress test (NST), they monitor your baby’s heart rate to determine if your child is in distress.
- 1 Understanding Reasons for Negative Mood Swings and Pregnancy Mood Stress
- 2 What Types of Stress Can Cause Pregnancy Problems?
- 3 Adverse effects of Stress on Fetus
- 4 How Stress Affects Mother in Different Terms of Pregnancy
- 5 The Importance of Early Detection and Control of Stress, and the Role of Husbands and Family
- 6 Favorite Stress Management Tips by Experts
- 7 Tips for Moms to Prevent and Reduce Stress (Infographic)
- 8 Managing Stress While Pregnant
Understanding Reasons for Negative Mood Swings and Pregnancy Mood Stress
Your husband may joke that you are the crazy pregnancy lady, ready to cry or scream at the blink of an eye. Some expect you to be just a bit more extreme during pregnancy.
The jokes are accurate; significant changes in hormone levels can affect your brain chemicals that regulate your mood. Most pregnant women expect mood swings between 6 to 10 weeks and the third trimester.
Pregnancy mood stress happens for a variety of reasons such as fatigue, changes in your metabolism, hormonal changes, diet problems, and a whole list of other examples. However, it is imperative that you monitor your mood stress and swings to ensure that you are not depressed.
Studies indicate that antenatal depression and anxiety problems are more common than you expect, with 8 to 30 percent of mothers experiencing them.
Some risk factors increase the likelihood that you could experience higher levels of stress in your pregnancy.
- History of depression
- Domestic violence in home
- Stressful life events such as deaths, divorce or job loss
- Marital disharmony
- Lack of social support
What Types of Stress Can Cause Pregnancy Problems?
Everyone has some levels of stress! Important deadlines at work, parenting issues, and running a house leads to stress. On top of the standard factors, your body is going through a lot of changes.
A constant state of stress isn’t normal, and it can be harmful to you and your baby. Stress causes your body to increase the cortisol levels. It is the fight or flight hormone that shifts your body into crisis mode. Breathing and pulse rates increase, and your blood sugar rises. After the situation, your levels go back down to normal, but what if those baselines are elevated?
- Women with high cortisol levels have an increased risk of miscarriage, preeclampsia, fetal growth retardation and premature birth. Because of these risks, women need to pay attention to their stress levels.
If you find that you cannot manage it yourself, speak to your doctor to get help.
Adverse effects of Stress on Fetus
During the 40 weeks of pregnancy, your baby is rapidly undergoing physical development and neurodevelopment. Maternal stress can cause physical and psychiatric health problems. Extensive studies show us the potential results.
- The child has an increased risk of emotional problems, ADHD, conduct disorder, and impaired cognitive development. The brain structure and function alter because of prenatal stress.
- Lower birth weight
- Spontaneous preterm birth
- Upon birth, the infant may have a difficult child temperament like clinginess and frequent crying and irritability.
- There is an increased risk of mixed handedness, autism, and affective disorders.
- Later in life, maternal anxiety increases impulsivity during cognitive task for 14 to 15-year-olds.
How Stress Affects Mother in Different Terms of Pregnancy
The first trimester is a critical window of time when stress can significantly impact your child’s development. Experts believe that environmental factors like stress, infections, and malnutrition can cause risk for neurodevelopmental disorders like autism and ADHD.
During the first trimester, mothers are experiencing a high level of fluctuating hormones. They are either very excited or nervous about the discovery of their pregnancy. Second-trimester stress is less likely to cause significant problems.
Most women love the second trimester. Their morning sickness is gone, the aches are manageable, and they finally feel the anticipated fetal movement.
Third-trimester stress can affect the mother and fetus in other ways. Cortisol is more likely to transfer to your child. This time frame is crucial for weight development; high levels of stress can lead to low birth weight.
- Stress can lead to preeclampsia, a major problem during pregnancy caused by high blood pressure. It also can cause preterm labor, causing your child to spend time in the NICU developing.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) poses increased risks during pregnancy, especially if paired with depression. Women with PTSD have an additional increased likelihood of preterm birth. On average, 12 out of 100 women with PTSD will give birth more than three weeks early. Unfortunately, antenatal mental health problems can lead to subsequent problems later in life. There may be an increased risk of experiencing postpartum depression as well.
The Importance of Early Detection and Control of Stress, and the Role of Husbands and Family
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advocates for early clinical screening for perinatal depression and anxiety symptoms. To properly treat and improve the outcomes, it is important for staff members to schedule proper follow-ups and treatment when needed. The use of behavior health resources may be necessary for a healthy pregnancy.
Husbands, family, and friends play a crucial role in ensuring the health of a mother during pregnancy. Men should take the lead in the household tasks, allowing ample time for relaxation.
If they notice an increase of stress or depression during pregnancy, it is paramount that they encourage the mother to seek medical help. Family members should encourage parents to seek aid if they experience domestic violence or marital problems.
Favorite Stress Management Tips by Experts
There is a huge range of advice given by experts and friends. It can be hard to determine what really the best way to manage stress while pregnant is. So, we took a look at the experts and compiled their advice so you can see which ones are the most encourage choices.
- Try Relaxation Activities like Meditation or Prenatal Yoga – 15 vote
- Be Prepared for Baby But Reject Being Perfect (And Don’t Listen to Crazy Stories!) – 8 vote
- Talk to Your Medical Provider – 7 vote
- Get Enough Sleep – 8 vote
- Talk to Family and Friends about What is Causing the Stress – 8 vote
- Get Some Fresh Air Every Day – 7 vote
- Reduce Workload – 7 vote
- Have Fun! – 8 vote
- Take a Warm Bath – 6 vote
- Prenatal Massage – 5 vote
- Create a Pregnancy Journal – 4 vote
- Take a Childbirth Class – 3 vote
3 ways to reduce stress during pregnancy. It depends on the type of stress, anxiety or depression.
- Talk to your Family doctor- you may benefit from antidepressants or talking therapy or mindfulness.
- Talk about any problems to family and friends.
- Take some time for yourself each day to relax in a way that suits you- listen to music, do yoga etc.
Professor Vivette GLOVER PhD DSC - Imperial College London
- An educated consumer is our best customer. If you have a history of stress, anxiety, or other mental health issues, you’re at risk for relapse in pregnancy, especially if you stopped effective medication. Stress and relapse go hand in hand. Tell your healthcare provider so you can be properly monitored and treated. For questions about medications and stress in pregnancy, seek out the latest information available from resources such as MotherToBaby.org.
- Make a list of the things that you’re worried about. Bring that list with you to your prenatal visits.
- Figure out what practical steps you can take to address your concerns, and ask your healthcare provider for additional guidance.
Shari I. Lusskin - OTIS - drsharilusskin.com
Mother To Baby
MotherToBaby is a suggested resource by many agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Office of Women’s Health. More than 100,000 women and their health care providers seek information about birth defects prevention from MotherToBaby every year. MotherToBaby has been able to embark on new outreach efforts to reach underserved populations and launch new communication technologies through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, as well as through the generous donations made by the public. To learn more about MotherToBaby, the ways to contact its network of experts, or how to support its services, please visit www.MotherToBaby.org.
I suggest that APPPAH feels the three most important things a Mother can do to alleviate her stress are:
- Gentle exercise such as Yoga practices for pregnant women or some physical practice that is meditative and healing, such as Tai Chi, Chi Ghong, or other physical, energy moving practices.
- A meditation practice that involves prenatal bonding meditation and communication with her unborn baby. (Calm Birth, Hypno-Babies, Hypnobirthing or other meditative practices for pregnancy)
- A journaling practice that focus on a woman (and her partner) addressing emotional and physical issues of pregnancy & the many changes coming as they move toward parenting. (Creative Birth Journaling, Birthing from Within & Rahima Baldwin’s journaling work).
Other things that a woman can do to relieve her stress is to spend daily time in nature, walking and focusing on nature. Being with people who are gentle, positive, not-toxic or stressful will also benefit her greatly. Doing things that make her feel happy. From the point of view of APPPAH, we believe that the very most important thing a woman can do for herself is to build a strong, loving bond between herself and her unborn baby. Lovingly nurturing herself because she is motivated to do it for her baby, lowers her stress by default. Many women will do something for their baby that they would not normally do just for themselves, hence, forming a strong loving relationship with her unborn baby has great benefit for reducing stress.
I sincerely hope that the three ideas given will help women. Pregnant women can find more information on our website: https://birthpsychology.com/
Sandra Bardsley - APPPAH
- Centering Pregnancy – It’s the BEST way to get support. Many times, women feel isolated in their pregnancy. With centering, the women can learn from one another and discover they are not alone on issues such as sleeping, sex, fear of birth. There’s nothing better than hearing someone else understands what you’re going through.
- Mediation/Prenatal Yoga – Exercise is always helpful with de-stressing.
- Date night with your partner – Having a baby is life changing. Keeping the relationship vibrant, and communication open to discuss feelings is important. Remember, your partner is worried about parenting as well.
Eileen Ehudin Beard, CNM, FNP, MS, FACNM - American College of Nurse-Midwives
Brian Kirk, MPH MHA, is the Director of Maternal and Child Health for the March of Dimes. He urges mothers to figure out what is causing their stress and to discuss it with their spouse and healthcare provide openly. It is important to cut back on additional commitments and activities to give yourself ample time to practice relaxation activities and spend time with family. Most importantly, always discuss depression with your provider. View more
Brian Kirk, MPH MHA - March of Dimes
Choosing a baby name can up your stress level during pregnancy. One fun way to ease the pressure? Imagine you’re a celebrity, and can name your baby anything you want – the more outrageous, the better!
No, we don’t think you should name your daughter Koala Eleonora Lucite, but dreaming up daffy combinations is more fun than debating Olivia versus Amelia.
More name game ideas to make the process fun instead of stressful: try smooshing together your name and your partner’s name. (Occasionally, this does work!) Or binge watch your favorite TV series for name inspiration. It’s not slacking, it’s research - and the reason nearly 350 girls were named Khaleesi last year.
Abby Sandel - Name Berry
Top Mommy Blogs
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. This can be a hard one for us! Especially if you have other little kids around running you mad. Everything just seems harder when you’re pregnant so sometimes you just need a little extra help. Instead of telling yourself you can do it all, all the time and for everyone... outsource. Bite the bullet and ask your mother in law, mom, neighbor, friend, kid care source (like at the gym) for a little help. Even if just for an hour so you can clean, work out, run errands, head to the OB, stare a the ceiling, etc.
Don’t ditch happy hour with the girls! Even though your not drinking, you can still meet with your girlfriends for drinks and appetizers. OK, so you won’t win tequila shot champion this time but once you get yourself there, you’ll appreciate the girl time, the munchies (you still get to eat) and not be missing out. Maybe even offer your friends a ride. Gain some good deed points while giving yourself a little me time.
Walk it off. Walking is a universal. You can walk where ever you are, even inside, and it’s such a good stress reliever.
Karen Gadawski, Top Mommy Blogs
My top tip to relieving stress during pregnancy would be to not have a two hour round trip to work on a train every day! I did this during my second pregnancy, and coupled with the nausea it left me absolutely exhausted. There is nothing quite like the stress of being on a train, needing to be sick, finding the toilet engaged and having to be sick out of a window. Not fun at all!
I'd also say that one easy way to reduce stress during pregnancy is simply to be gentler on yourself. We put ourselves under a lot of pressure to do and have everything, that sometimes we forget that being pregnant is a pretty tiring business. I remember the first time I was pregnant, going on a trip to Europe at six months. A colleague, trying to be politically correct, made a big deal out of it 'not being an illness' and how I didn't need any special treatment, but to be honest, I really wanted some special treatment! I wanted to have extra rests and be able to sit down now and again! Be kind to yourself and accept that growing another person inside you may mean you want to take things easier.
Another way to avoid stress during pregnancy would be to ask people NOT to share their birth stories with you. For some reason, other people relish telling pregnant women how horrendous their births were, but all this does is terrify you unnecessarily. Yes you want to be prepared, but there is only so much you can control, so steer clear of scary stories that are only going to freak you out.
Jo Middleton, Slummy Single Mummy
Slummy Single Mummy
Modern life can be stressful and finding ways to help expecting and new mothers to manage their stress can improve their health – and ultimately that of their children.
Coping strategies are very important in ameliorating the impact of stress.
Pregnant women are encouraged both to look after themselves emotionally, and to seek help if needed.
Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development
Women are most aware of mixed emotion and feelings during pregnancy. Focusing on different aspects of pregnancy and coming motherhood is good but fixating too much can be unwholesome for health of both mother and baby. Learn how to lessen the stress during pregnancy
- Reach out to your spouse, family members and friends to help you cope with stress. Other moms to be can be a good support system. Interact frequently with people who are involved in your pregnancy.
- Take time out with your hubby and work on your relationship. These are going the last days when it will be just the two of you. Enjoy a few dates before duties of a parent take precedence.
- Exercise, meditate, yoga. Get active and bring positive change in your lifestyle and pregnancy. Meditation is a great help in stress during pregnancy. Join a Yoga group and exhale out your worries.Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful time of your life. Sit back and enjoy.
Manjula - Indian Hindu Baby
Moms to be can read more about the "best solutions to help reduce stress for pregnant women" here:
- How To Be Mindful… The Mom’s Guide
Camila - Eumom
When our editor, Lisa, was pregnant with twins her doctor told her she had a 70% chance of getting preeclampsia, a potentially life-threatening pregnancy complication, and stress was a major risk factor. This diagnosis came early in the second trimester when her doctor observed a limited blood flow to the placentas. Taking care of herself and having a stress-free pregnancy became her top priority and Lisa ended up making it to 38 weeks! Here's how she did it:
Start a Daily Meditation Practice: A quiet mind brings you deep peace and calm. Set the timer for 5 minutes, sit down with a quiet mind and practice being absent of all thoughts. You can teach yourself to tap into it for longer periods of time, eventually working up to a 30 minute meditation.You will experience incredible physical, mental and emotional benefits of being in the present and releasing stress. There are plenty of free resources available online so you can start this today. Start by searching YouTube for pregnancy Chakra meditations and yoga videos. Oh and be patient! Even though you will see instant results, meditation is a practice that develops over time.
Drink Goji Berry Juice:For centuries people have used goji berries, also known as wolfberries, to treat many health problems including diabetes and high blood pressure. It's known to have a calming affect that helps quality of sleep and feeling of well being. Rich in nutrients, the juice may act as a blood thinner and Lisa is convinced it helped her body maintain healthy blood flow to her growing babies. Goji berry could interact with some drugs so (as always with any supplement) talk with your doctor first. Find it in the refrigerated section at your local health food store.
Cut Back on Work: This is a hard pill to swallow. Before children work may be your primary source of identity and self-worth. It's hard to imagine not working and accomplishing in that arena. However, as Lisa's doctor told her, "Life is about choices" and no matter what your financial situation consider that getting your baby to term may be the first, most important thing right now. If your job is contributing to stress during pregnancy talk with your boss and find a way to alleviate it. The health of your newborn really does begin in the womb and you can avoid many, many obstacles for your baby (and you as their caretaker!) when you circumvent pre-mature delivery. If you are a great employee there will always be work out there for you. So don't hesitate to cut back or take time off work and de-stress.
Lisa Waddington - Dealicious Mom
Lots of Rest:
Don’t feel guilty about relaxing, in fact, take comfort in knowing that you are aiding your baby’s healthy growth and development.
Listen to your body and put your feet up as often as you can!
Gentle exercise can improve your mood and helps your body to relax.
Swimming and Pregnancy Yoga are great options, as they help with breathing and relaxation techniques.
Laughter is the number 1 way to get your body to relax. Watch your favorite comedy series or meet up with friends that make you laugh.
Happy Mommy = Happy Baby!
Hayley - Kids Safety Network
Pregnancy yoga: I enjoyed a weekly antenatal yoga class which was a great way to unwind after a busy week and really focus on connecting with my body and my baby again. Yoga forces you to breathe deeply and think about your body which has a tremendously relaxing effect.
Meditation downloads: YouTube can be a great source of inspiration when it comes to guided relaxation. When I struggled to sleep at night or if I was feeling stressed during the day I used to spend ten to twenty minutes listening to a guided relaxation to help me focus and calm down.
Warm baths: I really enjoyed taking long, indulgent baths when I was pregnant - after all, if you can't have the excuse to pamper when you're growing a human then when can you?! Add some (pregnancy-friendly) essential oils, light some candles and you've created the perfect sanctuary to unwind in.
Molly Forbes - Mother's Always Right
Being pregnant can be stressful because there's so much to plan for and do -- and yet you may not have the energy you're used to because you're growing a baby! Our top three ways to reduce stress when you're pregnant is to:
- Manage expectations. Everything doesn't need to be perfect for baby but you may be feeling lots of pressure to do so -- and you might have trouble finding the energy to do it all. Now is the time to start asking for help and accepting it. It's also good practice for when the baby gets here.
- Meditate. Just five to 10 minutes of deep breathing can calm pregnancy stress and make you feel better. If you have more time, consider taking a prenatal yoga class!
- Get all the sleep and take all the naps you can. You're tired. And that's okay! Listen to your body and rest as you need to, guilt-free.
Jennipher Walters - Fit Bottomed Mamas
As the managing editor of Mamapedia.com (and a new mother), I wanted to offer the following solutions to help reduce pregnancy stress:
An Evening Stroll: Take a stroll around the neighborhood with your significant other. A little physical activity is a great distraction from the anxiety that can accompany pregnancy and a great way to boost blood flow in your final weeks. This is also a good opportunity to get some one-on-one time with your partner before baby.
A Prenatal Massage: Sadly, a sore back and aching joints go hand-in-hand with pregnancy -- and stress doesn't help! Treating yourself to a prenatal massage is a great way to loosen up and quiet your mind during this intense time.
Go to the Movies: Not only does going to the movies become a luxury once your baby arrives, but it can also reduce pre-baby jitters. Shutting off your brain for a bit and sitting in the dark with a pack of M&M's can be surprisingly therapeutic -- especially if you pick a comedy.
Hope this is what you had in mind!
Jillian Gordon - Mama Pedia
Stress during pregnancy is incredibly common; your life and your body are going through massive changes, which can cause a degree of anxiety even in the most even-keeled of moms-to-be. My top three ways to calm that stress monster are:
- Meditate. Now, before you dismiss this as too “new-agey,” hear me out. When life gets especially busy—say when you’re painting the nursery, creating your baby registry, and taking birth classes all at the same time—taking a few minutes a day to center yourself and calm your mind is incredibly useful. Don’t worry if you aren’t familiar with the practice; just close your eyes, breathe deeply, and focus on your inhales and exhales.
- Walk. It can be tough (and even unsafe) to maintain your usual exercise routine during pregnancy, but walking is almost always healthy for both mama and baby. Go for a brisk stroll to get those endorphins flowing. Bonus points for doing it outdoors and getting some fresh air while you’re at it.
- Remember that less is more. Easier said than done, I know! But when the stress starts to mount, try to remind yourself that the nursery doesn’t have to be perfect, you don’t need to read the entire childbirth guidebook cover to cover, and it’s ok if you forget something in your hospital bag. Like I always say, moms can do anything—but not everything.
Katie McLaughlin - Pick Any Two
My favorite ways to reduce pregnancy stress are journaling, getting prenatal massages (absolutely worth the money) and laughing--it's fun to binge on pregnancy comedies like Knocked Up and Baby Mama. Just don't watch Rosemary's Baby or you'll get all stressed out again!
Amy Wruble - Carriage Before Marriage
Breathing - Slow down, take a few deep breaths and realize that it will all be OK.
Pregnancy yoga - I took pregnancy yoga once a week and it felt great for my body and was very relaxing too.
Cut your workload - I was tired a lot when I was pregnant and I NEEDED to nap sometimes. I had to reduce my workload and accept that taking care of body was my priority. So whether that means you may need to cut back on work hours, or let the housework slide a bit, or get help with cooking and cleaning, do what it takes to reduce your workload and respect your body's needs.
Scarlet Paolicchi - Family Focus Blog
Having high-risk pregnancies, stress was a daily problem for me. Worrying about everything that can go wrong isn't helpful, but hard to avoid. One way that helped me to relieve stress was to watch funny movies. I was on bedrest and had plenty of time to watch them. Funny movies will keep you laughing, instead of stressing out. Another way I relieved stress was with massage. Even if you can't afford a professional massage, your husband can do a very good job of massaging whatever feels tight or painful. The third thing I did to relieve stress was prayer/meditation. I needed help from God and He gave me peace.
Lisa Ehrman - Chronically Content
With each of my 3 pregnancies I kept a pregnancy journal. I wrote directly to my babies and told them how I was feeling. I continued the journals through their first year and still update them on their birthday each year. During pregnancy, it was a great outlet for me!
Another great way to de-stress is by using essential oils. Lavender oil is very calming but there are other options if the scent doesn't sit well with you. I liked to practice my breathing while diffusing the oil. Deep deliberate breaths got me though the toughest part of labor for me and I think this practice definitely helped!
Lastly, try to set aside some time to bond with your partner. Life can be very busy but date nights are important no matter what stage of life you are in! Put on your best maternity dress and have a romantic dinner with your significant other without distractions! You'll be glad you did!
Holly - Mommies with Cents
The three stress-busting methods I used in pregnancy to help me feel calmer and more relaxed were to listen to my body, resting when I needed it, and doing something fun when I had the energy. The second was to use some great smelling bump creams for a little bit of a home pamper, and lastly treating myself to a couple of pregnancy massages towards the end to help relieve aches and pains and calm me in preparation for the imminent arrival!
Lauren - Belle Du Brighton
Build a great support system of people who totally believe in you and your decisions - rather than people who know better and try to change your mind all the time. Find health care professionals who are open to your way of thinking and who aim to allow your pregnancy and birth be the way you want it!
Have lots of warm baths, read books, and have early nights, and if you can, go for a pregnancy massage!
Don't panic! remember millions of women give birth to babies every day! Its hard, the hardest thing you will probably ever do, but you can do it, you will do it! Visualise the birth you want, and take some time each day to breathe deeply, thinking through a calm and peaceful arrival of your baby.
Katherine Lockett - Mummyology
- Rejecting Perfectionism: I think the most stressful part about pregnancy is all the rules and constantly feeling like you're doing it wrong (this doesn't change when the baby arrives). I found talking to experienced moms, esp those that were moms before the deluge of info from the internet, really reassuring to get away from the constant obsessing over getting every detail perfect.
- Discourage Unwanted Advice: You also quickly realize everyone has advice for a pregnant woman. Whether it's critiquing what you're eating or your plans for the baby, everyone has an opinion that's very important to tell you. I never figured out how to completely avoid this, but after awhile I did start to cut these encounters short with a simple "Thank you!" Even if you are pregnant, you don't need to put up with people over-stepping boundaries.
- Avoid Over-scheduling: With pregnancy, your life is changing in ways you can't fully predict. Our modern tendency to plan and schedule in meticulous detail just doesn't work with pregnancy or babies. Try to start free up your schedule, allowing time to rest, be spontaneous and just enjoy this short moment of your life.
Larissa Pickens - Mommikin Jobs
- For our moms that know that they are having medical issues during the pregnancy, it is best to not think of the worse case scenario and avoid doing google searches for what may or may not happen. The best thing to do is to listen to what the doctors are telling you and prepare for the early delivery. Pack bags, get childcare for other children as you do not know how long you will be hospitalized for.
- For our healthy moms, a way to decrease stress is to take a moment in the part of the day where the house is quiet, enjoy a cup of tea( if allowed on your diet) and sit outside enjoying nature, weather permitting, or play soothing music if you have to be indoors of rain falling, ocean rolling, this sill help bearing pace and tranquility.
- Lastly another way to reduce stress is to obtain all the facts from the doctor before jumping to conclusions and listening to the thousand and one pieces of advice on child rearing that everyone has.
Rosie Moore - The Gift of Life
As a mom who has given birth to a singleton as well as triplets, my body has endured its fair share of pregnancy stress. Of course, the stress on my body was very different carrying one baby versus carrying three. The intensity of the uncomfortable and often painful pregnancy related symptoms carrying triplets in my five foot, two inch body was exponential. Here are three methods that were effective in relieving pregnancy stress from my body and my mind.
- Get out of the house! It is easy to become a hermit when you have gained fifty pounds, are bloated from water retention, and are protruding out of your midsection like an overfilled water balloon. Nevertheless, do not sit at home and lay on your couch watching reruns of A Baby Story all day. Get out and go to lunch with friends. Get a pedicure with your sister. Go do a little therapy shopping with your mom and maybe she’ll even buy you a new comfortable robe to lounge around in since that is the only thing that may fit in the upcoming months. Nothing takes your mind off of pregnancy stress quite like a little social interaction.
- Get a massage. Maybe you have a first-class husband who is willing to offer back and foot rubs in exchange for carrying growing his and your baby in your belly for nine months. During both pregnancies, my husband was kind enough to offer me candlelit massages, which not only relieved the stress I was feeling in my mind, but also alleviated some of the aches and pains in my body. When I would visit my mom, she would give me amazing foot rubs. The feet are filled with pressure points that receive that are known to receive stress, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, depression, and much more.
- Take baths. Both pregnancies, bathing in nice bubbling hot water was a stress relief for me. Baths proved the only time during the entire day that the weight of my body felt light and I could float without the pressure of a baby or babies bearing down on my back and legs. I grab my favorite book and turn on classical music and drift away to another dimension where I wouldn’t have to think about the stress of childbirth and motherhood.I am now able to look back on both of my pregnancies as a powerful time in my life where my body was able to perform an almost supernatural feet by way of strength and determination. Of course pregnancy can be stressful at time, but there are ways to turn that stress on its head and create a more peaceful experience. When you look back on your pregnancy, you should feel proud of yourself and your body.
Megan Woolsey - Multiples Illuminated
She is co-writer and publisher of two anthologies about multiples called Multiples Illuminated. She lives in Northern California with a very supportive husband, a set of triplets, and their big sister. Megan is published in many national publications, and is an essayist in two anthologies. To learn more about the Multiples Illuminated community which supports moms and dads of multiples, please visit MultiplesIlluminated.com. For a list of Megan’s work, go to MeganWoolsey.com.
Get Some Fresh Air: If you want to lift your mood, it’s surprising what a breath of fresh air and sunshine can do.Aim for at least one trip outside each day if at all possible.Exercise and sunshine can both enhance your mood so if you’re feeling tetchy, pop out and take a stroll.
Get Yourself Wet: Water is healing and calming.Having a shower is a great way to soothe aching limbs.Better still, take a long bath with candles and gentle music to relax you further. Add some aromatherapy oils to the water but choose the oils safe for use when pregnant.
Rest: Pure rest is one of the best ways for expectant mothers to overcome stress.Try resting before you are exhausted and need to rest. You’ll feel more refreshed and benefit in the long run.
Mary Kellow - Supreme Mom
- Laugh. Laughter is the most potent stress-relieving activity that there is. It improves mood, relases tension in your body and help you sleep better at night. Watch a comedy movie, read a hilarious book or talk to a friend who cracks you up.
- Put your hand on your belly and say out loud, "In this moment, we are ok." It helps bring you to the present moment and is a great reminder to take it one moment at a time.
- Listen to your body. The stress response in your body is triggered not just by emotions but also my physical strain. If you're tired, rest. If you're hungry, eat. If you're lonely, reach out for support. Listen to what your body needs and give it exactly that.
Parijat Deshpande, High-Risk Pregnancy expert at parijatdeshpande.com
1- Ask for what you need
I worked in a high-stress environment during pregnancy, but was not afraid to ask for what I needed to make things easier. I experienced intense rib pain that made it difficult to sit at a desk for long periods of time. I asked my boss if we could move an extra couch into my office, so I could lean back when needed. Allowing me to take 5-10 minute breaks throughout the day is much better than having me quit, so he obliged. But he wouldn't have known what I needed if I didn't ask!
2- Stay active
Exercise has always been a big part of my lifestyle and it was crucial for staying sane and healthy during pregnancy. My capabilities changed as my belly grew, but I modified my workouts so I was able to continue safely. Yoga and walking were my two picks -- I practiced yoga through my 9th month!
3- Sleep in
Ok, so this isn't do-able every day. But sometimes your body needs a little extra sleep. I asked my husband (and sometimes he volunteered!) to let me sleep a couple extra hours on the weekends. It makes a huge difference!
Stacey Garska Rodriguez - The Soccer Mom Blog
Tips for Moms to Prevent and Reduce Stress (Infographic)
You can download here.
There are stress factors that are normal. Eliminating those circumstances is impossible. There are ways to prevent and reduce other stressors in your life.
Eat a Healthy Diet
One of the best ways to reduce stress is to eat a healthy diet. Pregnant women need to remember to eat throughout the day. Three meals are ideal, with healthy snacks spread throughout. Reach for some healthy choices.
Green leafy vegetables, like spinach, help to produce serotonin and dopamine. Both of these are mood-regulating hormones.
Turkey is a source of tryptophan, which is an amino acid that converts into serotonin. It is one of the reasons why Thanksgiving dinner tends to be so pleasant.
Wild-Caught Salmon is a natural source of omega-3 fats, excellent for the development of your baby’s brain. Omega-3 is also known to reduce anxiety, working as an anti-depressant that prevents signs of depression without side effects.
Blueberries are a yummy choice with antioxidants that help the production of dopamine.
Dark Chocolate is a delicious treat with health benefits. Anandamide is a chemical that blocks the feelings of pain and depression. Eating chocolate when you are feeling down isn’t such a bad idea after all.
Eating a balanced diet is hard, especially if you have morning sickness. It is necessary for mothers to take prenatal vitamins. They ensure mothers get all of the essential vitamins, like Vitamin D and fiber, which regulate moods and helps your baby grow.
Reduce the Workload
One of the number one stressors for mothers is work. Overachievers tend to take their job home with them or stay late to get caught up.
Pregnancy isn’t the time to be a super overachiever!
Staying late sounds okay, but it reduces the time for you to relax and cuts into the necessary amount of sleep that you require.
If your job is very demanding, it is important to find ways to limit it. Set specific times each day when you will mentally log out and take care of yourself.
Once the baby is born, you will need to take a step back to care for your child properly. Start the process now before he arrives.
Jobs that require you to spend time on your feet mean you should purchase the right shoes. The wrong shoes can lead to further back and hip pain.
Practice Healthy Sleep Habits
Sleep is paramount during pregnancy. An average adult needs seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
During pregnancy, you may require nine to 10 hours every day.
The first trimester tends to pack a punch; you may realize that you need a daily nap. If increasing your nightly sleep count is hard, try to schedule a daily nap. That can be hard with older children; try to offer a regular movie time with blankets and pillows to catch a few more hours of sleep.
Getting the proper amount of sleep during the first and third trimester is the hardest. Here are some tips.
Plan and schedule your sleep times.
Cut down on a number of liquids you drink at night. You do have to drink a lot during the day, but try to stop an hour before sleep. Frequent urination takes up valuable sleep time.
Sleep on your left side to help improve blood flow to the fetus.
Purchase a pregnancy sleep pillow that goes between your legs to reduce pressure on your hips.
Add one daytime nap to help feel more energized.
Save Your Sanity: Depend on Those you Trust
Pregnancy is a stressful time in a woman’s life. It is important to have a great support system to see you through it.
Talk to your friends and spouse about Your feelings.
Schedule time to go out for dates and dinner with friends.
Make time for your hobbies!
You should pencil in reading time each day if it helps you to relax. You could select a few new recipes to try if baking is a fun and relaxing hobby.
Pregnancy is a great time to focus on what makes you happy. It is fine to tell other people no to their request if it won’t make you happy.
Exercise Decreases Stress
One of the best ways to reduce stress is by exercising.
Thirty minutes of mild exercise several days a week is helpful for pregnant women.
Exercising reduces the cortisol levels, the hormone that leads to anxiety. You could also practice meditation to help clear your mind and reduce stress.
Many women practice prenatal yoga. It encourages safe methods of stretching, mental centering and focused breathing. Doctors encourage pregnant women to practice prenatal yoga. This video offers great advice.
Here are some great benefits of it.
- Decreased lower back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and nausea
- Increases strength, flexibility, and endurance of muscles, leading to a potentially better birth.
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Improves sleep
There are some appropriate guidelines that you should follow if you plan to practice prenatal yoga.
Speak to your OBGYN.
Set realistic goals. Plan to exercise several days a week for no longer than 30 minutes.
Pace yourself. Don’t push yourself too hard, especially if you are new to yoga. During yoga, you should be able to speak normally.
Stay hydrated and practice in a cool environment.
Bend from your hips, not your back, to avoid pressure on baby.
Participate in Massage Classes
It is important for you to find a massage therapist certified for prenatal massages. There are certain techniques not encouraged during pregnancy, so they should be educated.
Massage therapy can help to reduce anxiety, decrease depression symptoms, relieve muscle aches, and improves labor outcome.
One of the most commonly used forms of massage is Swedish massages. They aim to relax muscle tension and improve blood circulation by applying pressure to specific muscle groups.
Many doctors encourage the use of Swedish massage because it helps the skeletal and circulatory changes caused by hormonal shifts during pregnancy.
You may have heard that foot massages are a no-no during pregnancy because it can lead to the uterus contracting.
There are acupressure points in the leg, ankles, and feet connected to the reproductive system. Some experts don’t believe these acupressure points are strong enough to encourage labor.
However, if you decide to ask your spouse to give you one, be sure to check the points before asking!
Seek Medical Help
Sometimes, your stress levels are higher than you can manage yourself. You may be worried that you are depressed.
If you think that you are, it is crucial for you to speak to your medical provider.
There are times when antidepressants are necessary during pregnancy. Your doctor can help you learn to cope with the stress or prescribe medication to help reduce your depression.
Depression is dangerous, pregnant or not.
It requires medical attention. Moms shouldn’t wait too long to get medical treatment. Speak to your doctor at the next appointment.
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Managing Stress While Pregnant
High levels of stress can be damaging to your body and your child. It is important for all mothers to seek medical advice if they think their stress levels are too high or if they are suffering from depression. If you feel that your stress is high, follow some of the great tips listed above!
We hope that this source of information was helpful for you! It was a great list of everything you should know to help manage your stress during pregnancy.
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Awesome article, thanks for writing this by heart. I’ll share this with my readers. Keep up your great work Serena.
Thanks for being a part of it, Mary!
Thanks for this wonderful information for moms. I enjoyed being a part of it.
Thanks for contributing, Lisa!
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