Pregnancy is one of the most joyous times in a woman’s life, yet many women also experience stress and anxiety. This can be brought on by hormones. Or it can simply be brought on by worrying about the future.
If you are feeling stressed, worrying too much, or having trouble sleeping, you want to do as much as you can to reduce stress during pregnancy. High anxiety levels not only harm you, but they can harm your unborn baby.
In this article, we look at 10 ways to reduce stress during pregnancy.
1. Sleep and Rest
Sleeping is one of the most important things you can do to reduce stress. This is because sleeping literally recharges your brain and restores it.
While you are probably terribly busy, it’s important to nap when you need it and get enough sleep each evening. Resist the urge to stay awake. Listen to your body and give it sleep when it’s tired.
You may find that early in your pregnancy you are extra tired, and sleep comes easily. It may get harder and harder to sleep as your pregnancy progresses. Here are a few tips for reducing stress and getting enough sleep:
- Set your thermostat as low as you can afford.
- Don’t eat two hours before you go to sleep.
- Take a warm bath.
- Drink some herbal, caffeine-free tea and listen to calming music.
- Turn off all screens one hour before bedtime.
- Use a body pillow or several regular pillows to help you find a comfortable sleeping position.
Aim for about seven-nine hours of sleep each night. In addition, if you find you need a nap, don’t sleep for more than 30 minutes as this might make falling asleep more difficult at night.
The next thing you can do to reduce stress is to exercise daily. Not only is this good for your body, but it’s terrific for your brain.
When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These improve your mood while also helping to reduce stress. As an extra bonus, regular exercise can help you sleep better which in turn helps you reduce stress.
Exercise can simply be taking a brisk walk outside. Or it might be a trip to the gym or a session with your personal trainer. Whichever you choose, do be sure and speak with your doctor first.
Try to get 20-30 minutes of exercise each day. You’ll find it not only reduces stress, but it makes you feel great.
One other tip for exercising during pregnancy is to try prenatal yoga. You’ll find these classes readily available in most cities. Not only is prenatal yoga a form of exercise, but it also promotes stretching, focused breathing, and mindfulness. These all help to reduce stress as well.
You’ll find that prenatal yoga also helps improve sleep, minimize anxiety, build strength and flexibility, and alleviate lower back pain from pregnancy.
The best exercise during pregnancy is the exercise you want to do repeatedly. It’s the exercise you’re willing to stick with.
3. Eat Right
Recent studies have suggested that in women with histories of depression, pregnancy can trigger symptoms of depression. Many women display significant signs of depression during this time but believe that it is a normal part of hormonal change and because of this, don’t tell their doctor about their feelings. Any symptoms of depression should be reported to your healthcare professional immediately, because depression during pregnancy can cause unhealthy behaviors to both mother and baby, such as smoking or poor nutrition.
4. Talk to Someone
Do you have someone to lean on? Pregnancy is stressful by itself, but when you add it to the other daily pressures you face, stress can really take on a life of its own.
To reduce stress, you really want to have someone you can talk to. This might be your significant other, your parent or sibling, a friend, a group of friends, or a support group.
Find people you can relate to and ones who understand what you’re going through.
It can be really stressful the further you get in your pregnancy. You may start to worry about your baby’s health or how you will manage everything once the baby is born.
Having the right kind of support is vital to reducing stress. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially if your stress level seems unmanageable.
You’ll find you may need different people for various kinds of support. You may need emotional support from someone who loves you and understands your situation. You may need support from someone else who can help you with tangible things like setting up the nursery, buying a car seat, or going to prenatal yoga with you.
You can also likely find a pregnancy or parenting support group in your city. These support groups can be extremely helpful during and after pregnancy.
5. Get a Massage
You can definitely reduce stress with a massage.
Do look for someone who is well-versed in pregnancy massage. This person should know the best positions for your massage to help you alleviate stress. Do check with your doctor first.
When you have multiple concerns in your life, the pregnancy-related worries can feel much more difficult to deal with. It can create a snowball effect of anxiety and worry. But the good news is that you can tackle it in the same way. Take each issue one by one, beginning with the concerns you feel that you have control over.
6. Read a Book
This seems so simple but sitting on the sofa with a cup of tea and a delightful book can take you away from the stress of the world.
This might be a pregnancy-related book, but to really get the benefits pick out that novel you’ve been wanting to read.
7. Get in the Water
The natural buoyancy of water can also help reduce stress. Getting in a swimming pool takes all the pressure off your back and lets you get away from the world.
You can simply relax in the water, or you can even incorporate water exercise, too.
Meditation is another way to reduce stress. It may seem hard, but it actually isn’t.
Plus, when you’re really quiet, it can give you some alone time with your baby. You may notice the baby is kicking more or even calming down.
All you have to do is sit in a chair or on the floor. Put one hand on your heart and one on your stomach. Close your eyes and inhale deeply through your nose and then out through your mouth. Do this several times.
Visualize calm, and you’ll find you reduce stress almost immediately.
9. Keep a Journal
One way our families at Joy of Life® reduce stress is journaling. Keeping a journal is another positive way to reduce stress.
This journal is your private spot where you can write anything you want. Write about your worries and your anxieties. Jot down important things like the day you heard your baby’s heartbeat and how that felt.
Journaling is a great stress reliever, but it’s also nice to look back on the chronicle of your pregnancy.
10. Set Aside Me-Time Every Day
This is especially important if you work or have a family. To reduce stress, set aside some time for yourself each day.
This “me time” might just be 15 minutes, but that 15 minutes can alleviate the stress of the day and leave you feeling refreshed and recharged.
When you’re pregnant, your hormones seem to be in charge. Happy or sad, and everything in between is what you feel on a daily basis.
What’s more, stress is also something that sticks with many women during pregnancy. You’re stressed about your pregnancy, your body, getting ready for baby, life changes, work, and family.
You can, however, reduce stress and feel great every day by taking these 10 suggestions to help reduce stress during pregnancy.