During pregnancy, women go through many body changes, which can be stressful. When coupled with work, taking care of toddlers, family, among other responsibilities, it’s easy to be on edge all the time.
Additionally, not knowing how to cope with stress is even more nerve-wracking, especially when it continues for a long time. Studies show maternal stress increases the risk of giving birth to an underweight baby, pre-term delivery, and developing high blood pressure. Here are seven ways you can find inner peace during pregnancy.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Inadequate sleep affects your ability to cope with stress and increases the probability of experiencing anxiety and depression. Expectant women particularly need more sleep during the first and third trimesters as the body is always exhausted. 7-9 hours of sleep helps their body relax and get adequate rest.
Research shows expectant mothers who sleep less than six hours are 4.5 times likely to get a C-section and have extended hours of labor compared to those who sleep more than 7 hours. As such, expectant women should reschedule their routines to not only sleep earl,y but also get enough sleep.
2. Pay Attention to Your Feelings
Expectant women experience many hormonal changes that create a range of stressful emotions. Most women suppress these feelings allowing them to pile up for a long time. This should not be the case; instead, pay attention to those feelings and talk about them with someone who cares about you.
Such interventions help deal with stress, improve how you relate with people, and make better decisions. Also, consider performing deep breathing exercises every day or engage in your favorite pastime, e.g., listening to music, journaling, painting, shopping for a maternity dress, or drawing.
3. Engage in Gentle Exercises
Exercise triggers the release of feel-good hormones hence relieving stress. It’s safe to perform a range of exercises during pregnancy as long as you avoid contact sports and, most important, check with your doctor for better exercise advice.
Pregnancy yoga is one such exercise that boosts your emotional well-being while teaching you how to relax, breath, and meditate. Swimming is another safe sport for expectant women. It keeps the body well-toned without exerting excessive pressure on your joints.
4. Ask for Help
You need a network of family and friends to help with regular chores and provide the love and emotional support you need. If work is getting too overwhelming, inquire if there’s an employee assistance program that provides support to expectant moms.
You may also need to ask for professional help if you have problems falling asleep, have lost interest in normally enjoyable activities, are sad or crying most of the time. They may be symptoms of depression.
5. Prepare for the Birth
Another possible cause of stress is not knowing what to expect during birth. Adequate preparation calms your nerves down as your body and mind are prepared emotionally, physically, financially, and mentally.
It would help if you talked to your doctor or midwife to assist you in developing a birth plan that outlines your preferences. Being flexible helps you remain calm when the birth plan does not work out as imagined.
If you find vaginal birth too overwhelming and prefer a C-section, your midwife may offer support on how to handle anxiety. She may also recommend visiting a trained therapist to help you work through any issues and ease into the idea of natural birth.
6. Schedule Time for Yourself
Most women have a challenging time saying no to people’s requests. This is the time to be selfish and treat yourself to a pedicure, shopping, a lunch out, or other fun activity. Arrange for regular leisure time for yourself or meet up with friends to perform those things that help you relax.
Finances are the most common causes of stress for many expectant women. Planning for the next few years beforehand goes a long way in relieving stress. You don’t have to pay a professional financial adviser, an appointment with the bank should provide you with free financial advice.
Don’t allow maternal stress to take a toll on your body or mind. These seven tips should help you relieve stress and have inner peace throughout the pregnancy. Keeping a healthy and stress-free mind is critical to delivering a healthy baby.