Pregnancy can take a toll on your physical and mental health. It is normal to be a little stressed during this time, as this is a crucial phase of your life. However, if you feel extremely stressed all the time, it can cause health problems. When you are stressed, hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are released in your body. These prepare for you for a flight or fight response.
Eventually, these hormones dissipate, and you get back to normal. If the stress levels do not go down, it can cause complications such as premature birth, low birth weight and even impaired cognitive development in your newborn.
So, to keep your stress levels low and to lead a stress free life, here are some practical steps to help you tackle pregnancy stress
Get enough sleep
When your body does not get enough rest, you will feel exhausted. This can give birth to negative emotions which eventually leads to stress. So, when you feel tired, take a nap or rest for a while. Go to bed early and avoid late nights. Sleep is vital for your mental health and for a healthy pregnancy. Be sure to get 6 to 8 hours of sleep every day.
If you are having problems sleeping at night, try taking a short power nap for 20 minutes during the day. This will help you to relax, calm down and reduce pregnancy stress.
Focus on your breathing
If you are stressed, you tend to take shorter breaths, which decreases the oxygen content in your body. Due to the lack of oxygen, and shallow breathing, the stress levels in your body increase. So, when you feel stressed out, sit calmly or lie down. Then take at least five deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth.
Focus on your breathing while inhaling and exhaling. As you breathe out, try to release stressful thoughts and emotions. Make this a habit and practice this routine whenever you are feeling stressed or fall short of breath.
Eating properly is extremely important for you and the baby. Try to eat regular meals so that your blood sugar levels do not drop. A drop in sugar levels can make you feel tired and irritated. Another factor that causes pregnancy stress is dehydration. Dehydration can make you feel irritated, so make sure you are drinking six to eight glasses of water every day without fail.
For a healthy pregnancy, your diet must be balanced and packed with nutrients. This includes a balanced proportion of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, green vegetables, and a lot of fruits. You can have fruits for your breakfast and vegetables during lunch or midday meal.
Talk to your doctor about your diet and follow it religiously. It is recommended to not consume anything without consultation.
Exercise will help you stay fit and lift your mood. This is because it releases feel-good hormones in your brain such as endorphins. No need to hit the gym or join aerobics classes, but a simple walk or stroll will help you stay active. You can start with swimming, which will keep you active and well-toned without causing any stress to your joints.
Stretching is also a great way to battle pregnancy stress. When you feel anxious or stressed, gently stretch your arms, legs, back and neck. You can stretch your neck slowly towards the left or right. Hold the position for about twenty seconds. Then return to your normal position. Make sure to breathe deeply during stretching.
You can try pregnancy yoga too. Always talk to your doctor about the different exercises you can try out.
Talk about your worries
Whenever you feel stressed out and worried, try talking to someone. As having a child is the beginning of a new chapter in your life, worries about the baby’s well-being and your finances might arise. Understand that, feeling this way is perfectly normal. Talk to someone, your doctor, your partner or your midwife.
Be honest about how you are feeling as this will help you relieve stress. You might find that your partner may be having similar feelings. You can also share your feelings with other pregnant moms or new parents in local groups or a pregnancy yoga class. Exchanging similar thoughts and emotions will make you feel less worried and isolated.
Have some daily me-time
A great way to de-stress is to take out some time for yourself every day. This is the time to relax and do something you enjoy. Listen to some peppy music, watch your favourite movies, take a hot shower, read a book or just close your eyes and listen to an interesting podcast.
You can also practice some positive self-talk during your me-time. Try telling yourself something like “I am happy, healthy and ready to be an awesome mother!” or something else that makes you feel good. Whenever you feel your stress levels increasing, close your eyes and repeat your own positive dialogue.
If you are still curious about the ways to reduce pregnancy stress, then consult a Gynaecologist on DocsApp.
If your pregnancy stress is going out of hand, talk to your doctor or your midwife immediately. You could be suffering from anxiety or depression, so mention it during your routine checkups.