Life can often feel stressful enough without adding in the added anxiety of pregnancy.
In this post we take a look at how to deal with stress during pregnancy and offer you some top tips for managing when you feel like it’s all getting too much (we’ve all been there).
Why Stress Is Bad For You And Bad For Baby
By now you’ve probably read a 101 articles on stress and you’ll have no doubts that it’s bad for both your mental and physical health, but did you know that it could have an effect on baby too?
A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry asked women to answer questions based on their stress levels.
Researchers then interviewed the children when they turned 30 to see if any diagnoses of personality disorder were noted. In total 40 severe cases were found in the subjects.
The one thing they all had in common was a parent with prolonged high levels of stress during pregnancy.
Thankfully such extreme cases of prolonged high level stress are rare but it does highlight how damaging it can be to your unborn baby.
We spoke to 6 experts to get their top tips to help you deal with stress during pregnancy.
How To Deal With Stress: 6 Amazing Tips
Take a break
The first step towards dealing with any additional stress caused by pregnancy is to become aware of when stress levels are rising. Once you find yourself becoming more overwhelmed then the first thing to do is take a break.
“Taking a break and physically putting some distance between whatever is getting you worked up is a crucial step in dealing with stress. When you move away from the negativity you buy yourself time and distance to think and to calm yourself down” says Joanne Luke, Registered Yoga Teacher.
Luke continues “once you have space, you can put some of the additional tips below into action.”
If you need a little tender loving care there’s massage.
Ask your partner for a back, neck and shoulder massage or if they’re unwilling then try one of these 3 best back massager for pregnancy, after only a few minutes you should be able to feel yourself drift away and the stress of the day just life.
Not only is this a great way to stay calm but it’s also a brilliant bond strengthening experience between you and your partner.
Listen to Calming Music
There’s a reason that the spar always puts on calming music or natural sounds – they can help to reduce your heart rate and slow your breathing.
Take a deep breath through your nose and let it out through your mouth, feel your body lighten as you slowly exhale.
It shouldn’t take long before you feel yourself becoming more relaxed.
Stretching is a great way to relieve tension. Next time you feel yourself getting stressed, try these great exercises below holding each one for 15 to 20 seconds.
There’s power in positivity.
If you feel yourself struggling with the whole pregnancy thing then take a break, stretch, breath and give yourself some mental cheerleading by thinking or saying things like, “You’re health, strong and doing this for bump”.
“It can be useful to remind yourself that stress during pregnancy is normal as your hormones can be all over the place but it’s not normal to put yourself and your unborn baby through prolonged periods of stress.” says Luke.
Okay so you may feel that meditation isn’t for you, that you’re not quite “spiritual” enough to do it.
We’ve got some good news for you, there doesn’t have to anything spiritual about meditation.
In fact, meditation during pregnancy is not only a fantastic technique to help you relax but it can also be a very powerful tool for getting you through labor.
“After meditating, everything feels clearer, worries that I have either fade into insignificance or I have clarity on what I need to do to solve problems.” says Jaquie Wills, Doula from South London.
Wills continues “I often teach meditation to my ladies, it really is a powerful tool to have in your hospital delivery bag.”
The Bottom Line
So while long term stress can be bad for both you and baby, hopefully you’re now a little wiser about how to deal with stress during pregnancy and have some great techniques to try next time you find yourself getting worked up.
Ellen Fetters, is a former Children's and Young People's Nursing Practice with an BSc from the University of Sunderland. After completing her SCPHN - HV she then worked as a Health Visitor within the local community.
In 2017 Ellen left nursing to launch Parenting Click, an online parenting resource aimed at creating happier families through better parenting.
She lives with her husband, beautiful baby girl, and two darling dogs. She spends her free time writing, running and learning how to become a better parent.