Pregnancy is the time of life that brings hope and joy to a woman. An awaited period, which is supposed to be the happiest in life for a woman, is not always full of sunshine. Normally, pregnant women go through a lot of anxiety and stress due to all the confusion that pregnancy brings.
It is not hard to understand why ladies go through such stress during pregnancy. The sudden lifestyle changes added with physical abnormalities, lack of preparedness for pregnancy, overwhelming hormones, and everything about pregnancy can confuse pregnant women. Even though some stress levels can be expected, it is always better to minimize them with some effort.
Some women experience less stressful pregnancy, whereas, for some, it can extend to the level of depression. Those in the middle of this spectrum can also use some ways to treat their stress to some extent. As stress harms the to-be-mother and the child in her womb, minimizing stress should become a top priority for a healthy pregnancy.
Below are some ways that you can use to make your pregnancy stress-free and help in your child’s growth as well as your health.
1. Make some changes in your lifestyle
You must understand that there will be some changes when you are pregnant. So, you should prepare for the changes beforehand and shorten your to-do lists. You need to consider that neither your body nor your mind will be able to cope with work as you get further in your pregnancy.
So, in the initial phase of your pregnancy, make a schedule attainable throughout the time. The schedule should be made to get plenty of rest and time for yourself. There should be no physical or mental pressure during pregnancy, so work accordingly in your schedule. The main point is to make significant changes in your lifestyle to allow you a well-rested and stress-free pregnancy.
2. Eat healthy and nutritious
During pregnancy, your body goes through many physical and mental changes. Your body also prepares to grow a life inside you, meaning the food you intake has to be sufficient for you and your baby. There is a need for you to eat food that is highly nutritious and healthy for your baby. Make sure you drink a lot of water.
While good food helps to make you energized and healthy, it is also very helpful in reducing stress. It calms your nerves, knowing that your baby is also getting enough nutrition to grow healthy. So, never compromise with your balanced diet, as it helps you minimize your stress in a significant way.
3. Exercise Regularly
As your pregnancy makes your body expand and prepares to grow a person inside you, you must be helping it with some regular exercises. While exercising, always try to include some stretches which help not only your body but also your mind to calm down.
It has already been proven that regular exercise is essential for minimizing stress as it lessens the stress-causing hormone cortisol in our body. Around thirty minutes of mild to moderate exercise can be beneficial if done several days a week.
4. Pamper yourself
You will be a mother very soon, so why not add to your happiness by pampering yourself? Take time for yourself, take a soothing bubble bath, find yourself in a garden among flowers, or maybe take a nice book to your bed and read it. Whatever way you feel happy and content, take time and do it but always consider your health.
While going out and partying all night during pregnancy is not recommended, you should still make time for your small pleasures. These small things can be really helpful for pregnant women to value themselves and enjoy the joyous time of pregnancy with minimized stress.
5. Find stress triggers and let go of them
Take a closer look at your surroundings and even your mind. There must be something that triggers your stress. It may be something sensitive, like the thought of having a painful delivery, or something very small, like seeing a jar with an open lid.
As you find what triggers your stress, cope with it. Tell others how you feel and how other home members can help you with it. Ask your partner or friends who are already moms about your anxiety and how they coped with it. After everything is done, take a deep breath and think less. This can be very useful for you to enjoy your pregnancy stress-free.
Taking some minutes a day to meditate is very helpful in overcoming stress. Meditation lets you calm down and have a fresh mind towards a new day. While it is known that meditation is beneficial for mental health and works therapeutically, it can positively impact a woman and her baby.
Meditating can be a soothing experience for a pregnant lady, which directly helps her be calm and stress-free all day.
7. Talk to others
It is always a good idea to talk to others, preferably new mothers, doctors, friends, and other pregnant ladies, about the things that are bothering you. During pregnancy, there occur some vast changes as well as some subtle changes which may be triggering stress in you.
By talking about it with others, you know whether all these changes are normal, if it happened to them, and how they coped with it. Understanding the situation helps you to calm your nerves and lessen your anxiety. So, to live a stress-free pregnancy, try and open up to your trust-able friends and let your stress out.
8. Have a sound sleep
During pregnancy, all the chaos and confusions make us care less about our sleep. We tend to render for every little thing that taunts us; meanwhile, we lose time for our sound sleep. Waking up due to slight headaches, nausea, food cravings, whatever it is, we let the need for sound sleep go unnoticed.
Sleeping a good long sleep during the night is essential to let your body rest and rejuvenate for a new morning. Your body needs sleep even more than before as it works overtime for your baby’s growth along with you. So, make sleep your priority during pregnancy and also include naps during days if possible.
9. Learn all about pregnancy and childbirth
It is best for a pregnant lady to know more and more about pregnancy as well as childbirth. Being well informed about pregnancy’s different physical and mental effects during the time makes it easy for a pregnant woman to cope with her condition and lessens surprise elements.
It also helps to know how childbirth begins and ends, what needs to be done beforehand and after childbirth and what happens during that time. Learning about all the processes that are supposed to take place lessens anxiety levels and helps women to have a stress-free pregnancy.
So, you need to read books and articles and talk to doctors to learn about pregnancy and childbirth. You might also want to check the old wives’ tales to have fun.
10. Financial matters
Financing your pregnancy and motherhood is something a woman needs to plan in the earlier phase of her pregnancy. It is hard for any pregnant woman to do any hard physical work during the third trimester of her pregnancy, and the cost of your food and doctor’s bill can raise during this time. So, it’s better to take care of your finances for the near future at the right time.
Also, be prepared for the extra costs of your baby after you deliver. Planning and taking care of your finances beforehand minimizes the anxiety and surprise elements that may cause stress.
11. Listen to yourself
Pregnancy is a very emotional phase of life that prepares you to be a mother. The flooding hormones, anticipations, changes, everything can trigger many emotions within you, and sometimes the same emotions trigger your stress. The best thing you can do is, sit, listen to what your emotions are telling you and validate your emotions. Your emotions may be baseless, but you must know it is normal.
Better yet, write down your feelings on paper to get an insight about yourself. This makes you get a clear picture of what is going on with yourself, and you can work on reducing the negative feelings. This way, your stress will also be minimized.
12. Learn relaxation techniques
During pregnancy, the best gift you can give yourself and your baby is by relaxing and stressing less. Many relaxation techniques help reduce stress, such as taking long breaths, stretching, getting a massage, spa therapy, and many more.
You can use these techniques at any favorable time and relax by teaching yourself about them. Relaxing calms you down, reduces anxiety, and lessens stress which is helpful not just for you but also for the development of the baby inside you.
13. Make friends with other to-be-moms
When you become a friend with another to-be-mom, you can exchange all of your emotions, the difficulties you are facing, and the expectations you have from this pregnancy. Sharing your feelings and thoughts with someone in the same condition can make you feel good.
Meanwhile, you also learn about their experiences, and when something like that happens, you can cope with it easily. This helping hand is a beautiful way to lower your stress level during pregnancy and works for both sides.
14. Take pregnancy classes
Taking pregnancy classes can be fruitful in reducing stress as you can meet many pregnant ladies and tutors who can help you enjoy your pregnancy. They also prepare you for childbirth and make you mentally strong for the process.
With everyone around you talking about pregnancy and childbirth, you can feel at ease to let out things that have been stressing you. When you know that similar things are happening to others as well, and when you are taught about the coping mechanisms for the same, you can always reduce your stress and enjoy a joyful pregnancy.
15. Talk to your partner
Being pregnant and giving birth to a child is not a one-sided thing. You and your partner need to work on it and enjoy the gift of pregnancy together. You need to talk to your partner regularly about how you feel and what you expect him or her to do for your ease.
Talking to your partner can make you feel like you are not alone in this journey, and with him or her by your side, your anxiety and stress can also be reduced. So make your pregnancy a couple’s thing rather than your individual from time to time.
16. Take time to enjoy your pregnancy
During your pregnancy, don’t make your lifestyle similar to before. A lot of work pressure, parties, meetings, and pretty much everything in your daily life can hamper you from working on your pregnancy. So, you can take a break from these as much as possible and take time to enjoy the best of your pregnancy.
Read yourself nice stories & quotes related to pregnancy and motherhood, watch movies that make you happy, and be with people who appreciate you. Take good care of your body and treat yourself very specially. When you start enjoying being pregnant, stress eventually lessens.
17. Seek professional help
Even when you are using all of the above ways to treat your stress and yet, your anxiety and stress never seem to reduce, try using professional help. The professionals are there to help you, and you should take advantage of their expertise to reduce your stress.
You can take sessions regarding your requirements, and with a professional by your side, you can always feel your stress level reducing.
There have been many cases where stress during pregnancy has caused depression in women. With the above-mentioned ways, you can help reduce stress and anxiety. And if not, you can always take your problem to a professional.
If there are other ways you have used to reduce stress during pregnancy, please add them to the comment box because it can help many other women going through stressful pregnancy.
Dr. Mashiach has completed his MD at the Sackler School of Medicine, TAU; specialization in gynecology at the Lis Maternity and Women’s Hospital, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center; fellowship in Endoscopy at the Polyclinique de I’Hotel-Dieu, Universite d’Auvergne, Clermont, France.
He is a Senior Physician, Director of the Department of Gynecology, which provides routine and preventative care services to its patients and a full range of gynecological surgical procedures for adequately managing its patients with benign gynecologic disorders.
He offers advanced care in all gynecological subspecialties such as Urogynecology, Colposcopy, Fetal Loss Clinic, and Post Menopausal Clinic.