5 Ways to Destress When You’re Pregnant
Pregnancy is a very intense time! As you look forward to experiencing each baby milestone, it’s easy to be overcome by excitement and hope. However, pregnancy puts demands on the body. Physical and emotional changes are daunting and can bring about a lot of stress.
When we’re under stress, our body releases cortisol. This stress hormone is responsible for the “fight or flight response”. And too much of it contributes to negative effects on the body. It makes us feel tired, depressed, and even prone to illness.
We all get stressed from time to time, but too much of it can affect our unborn baby. A study by the Imperial College London showed that “high levels of cortisol during pregnancy may affect her unborn baby as early as 17 weeks after conception, with potentially harmful effects on brain and development.” There is also other research that shows that babies of moms with high maternal stress had IQ that was about 10 points below average, and that the kids displayed anxiety and attention deficit problems as well.
Mommies, we need to kick stress away! The reasons that bring you on edge may be many and absolutely valid, but here are a few ways to help you destress during this amazing chapter of your mommy life.
1. Watch what you eat.
Eating for two means you need to get important nutrients, vitamins, and minerals into your body through the food that you eat. Thriving on processed, high sugar, and high salt food contribute to high cortisol levels and other hormonal imbalances. Stick to an anti-inflammatory diet that is low in processed foods, high in antioxidants, fiber, and essential nutrients. This will help you stay in a positive mood no matter what mommy stress may come your way.
2. Prioritize ME time.
When you’re pregnant, many things are not in your control. You can feel fine one moment, then experience morning sickness the next. Accept that these things will happen and counter stressful moments with activities that will calm your mind. Massage, meditation, and even acupuncture are tried and tested ways to clear your thoughts. Plus, you’ll be releasing much-needed endorphins that will help you combat anxiety.
3. Move it Talk to your doctor about the exercises you can do. Staying physically active during pregnancy helps prepare your body for labor and delivery. Research also shows that exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress and balance hormones.
Did you know that exercise temporarily increases the body’s adrenaline and cortisol production? Not to worry though. Regular exercise teaches your body to lower cortisol levels easily, helping you manage stress better.
4. Catch those zzzz’s
Sleep is a very important tool in preventing stress. We know it may be elusive when that huge bump makes it uncomfortable to lay down. But doctors agree that getting enough sleep helps us manage cortisol production. Nap when you’re tired and get the right amount of sleep each night.
5. Talk to somebody
If stress is overwhelming, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about your feelings. There is no shame in getting help or even talking to a psychiatrist or counselor. After all, you’re doing this for you and your baby.
No words can express a mother’s joy when she meets her baby for the first time. During that magic moment, all the little setbacks and worries fade away. It’s you and your baby. Don’t feel guilty about anxious feelings while you’re pregnant. Give yourself the permission to feel good, relax, and enjoy every stage of your pregnancy. You and your baby deserve it!