Written by Lisa Allen, MD
Being pregnant is no cakewalk. The emotions involved tend to range from happiness and joy to anxiety and even fear. However, one of these emotions can do more harm than any of the others combined: stress.
It is normal to experience stress during pregnancy – in fact, it is nearly impossible to not feel this way – but the amount of stress a pregnant mother has and how she handles it does have a direct impact on her unborn baby. This is why it’s so important to approach stress in the right way.
Is stress going to happen while you’re pregnant? Of course! It is normal? Yes! But the key is to know how to relax and release those stressful emotions so that you can get back on track emotionally and not put your baby at risk.
Because being pregnant completely changes your lifestyle, the ways you used to de-stress before may not be the best for the health of your little one. Below are ways that new mothers can find relaxation while keeping their baby out of harm’s way.
Getting physical and engaging your body and mind through exercise is a great way to get your mind off the source(s) of your stress. Of course you’ll want to choose exercises that are pregnancy-friendly, such as yoga, brisk walks and swimming.
Even if you don’t feel like doing anything, sitting and letting your stress fester won’t do you much good so it’s better to channel that frustration into something positive. Exercise will keep your body fit and your mind sharp.
Fans of day spas don’t have to keep themselves from this luxury while pregnant. New mothers that want someone else to take their worries away should make an appointment at their local day spa. Make sure the spa offers services tailored for expectant mothers. Stay away from harmful treatments like hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms. Massages are going to be your best bet. Aromatherapy is also an option but be aware that certain essential oils can be harmful to unborn babies. Manicures, pedicures and facials are other ways to indulge and brush off any stressful feelings.
Venting is sometimes necessary to “get it all out.” Talking about the source of your stress with a trusted friend, family member or your significant other is ideal for sorting your thoughts and letting loose.
Let the person you plan on talking to know that you simply need to vent and say what is on your mind. This will prep them to listen to you instead of interrupting with their ideas for solutions, which sometimes end up causing more stress than before.
However, if you think getting feedback from another person would be helpful, open things up after you’re done venting to see what the other person has to say. Insight from someone on the outside can be ideal for helping you put things in perspective.
Having an anxiety attack? Got a lot of thoughts rumbling around in your head and you’re not sure what to do with it? Are your body aches getting the best of you and putting you in a cranky mood? Sleep it off!
Expectant mothers have to deal with a lot of wear and tear from pregnancy, which means you’ll need more rest than usual. Listen to your body and if it’s calling for a cat nap for an hour or two or an early bedtime, do as it says.
Taking a nice shower or bath beforehand will relax your muscles and ensure a blissful sleep.