Stress and Pregnancy
Our lives can be unpredictable, busy, and frankly, overwhelming. This universal experience gives fuel for many grocery check-out magazine articles claiming to have the latest methods to “help you let go”, “de-stress”, and “achieve the perfectly balanced life”.
In pregnancy, you may have additional concerns for your mental health, understanding that how you feel may affect your growing baby. For that reason, we’ve compiled a few easy suggestions for reducing and managing stress during pregnancy.
6 Ways to Reduce Stress During Pregnancy
1. Eat healthy and drink plenty of water.
Your diet can impact your emotions in a big way! Choosing fresh fruits, vegetables, and proteins (especially nuts) can help regulate your blood sugar, help you maintain a healthy weight for your baby, and help you manage constipation (which is especially common in the beginning of pregnancy).
Water goals for pregnancy is at least 8-10 glasses per day. If you’re having trouble drinking the recommended amounts, consider adding fruit or natural flavoring to your water to help you stay properly hydrated.
2. Low-impact exercise.
Getting outside for a quick walk on your lunch break or a swim after work will release mood-lifting endorphins, elevating your mood and stabilizing blood sugar. If you already had an exercise routine before pregnancy, in most cases, you can continue with your routine, with possible slight modifications in your last trimester. Always consult your provider before starting a new exercise routine in pregnancy.
3. Catch some Z’s.
This one can be tough, especially if you’re dealing with insomnia in pregnancy. Starting with a good bedtime routine (shower, moisturize with a calming-scented body butter, read a few pages of a good book) may help with your symptoms. But be sure to reach out to your provider if you are still unable to sleep at least 7-8 hours per night.
As you reach the end of your third trimester, pregnancy changes are designed to prepare you for attending to your newborn’s night needs in the first few months, so napping may be a more reasonable way to rest each day. Listen to your body and let your midwife or obstetrician know if you have concerns.
For some, this is a great time to reflect on how your life is changing and how you feel about those changes. For others, journaling is a safe space to express some harder-to-admit emotions. It’s a journey unique to each woman and checking in with how you feel during this time is important.
5. Have good conversations.
I include this suggestion with a caveat; For some reason, pregnant women are targets to hear every scary birth-related story that the random woman in the check-out lane feels obligated to tell you. Please feel free to intervene if this is the case for you!
Otherwise, this is a time for honest conversations with your partner/friends/family/provider about your experience with pregnancy (and theirs!), fears, and excitements.
There are communities designed around this shared experience, so if you do not have a physical person to speak with, there are many online forums to join. If you go this route, please be aware of well-meant medical advice that is not actually based in evidence.
6. Talk to your provider.
Lastly, we are here for you! We chose this profession because we care about you, your baby, and want to be available to you. Please ask your Obstetrics, Gynecology & Midwifery team if you have any questions or concerns about how to reduce stress during pregnancy. We love to support you during this exciting time in your life!