Stress is a normal part of everyday life. For a pregnant woman, the normal stresses of life are still there, but the added stresses of her pregnancy are there too. This can make it difficult to deal with the stresses and sometimes it may seem like there isn’t any way to deal with all the stress. Properly coping with stress is necessary for anyone, but it is especially important for a pregnant woman.
Risks of Stress During Pregnancy
Extreme stress or constant stress may play a part in premature delivery and low birth weight babies. The risks, however, don’t stop with the health impacts on the baby. The pregnant woman is at risk for health complications, such as high blood pressure and an increased heart rate.
Coping with Stress
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all method to cope with stress during pregnancy. Each woman has to figure out what methods work best for her. There are, however, some suggestions that may help you find some coping methods.
When you are starting to feel stressed, take a minute to take a few deep breaths. Deep breathing helps to slow your body down and it helps you to relax.
I am a work from home pregnant mom who has two toddlers. My children don’t go to daycare, so they are with me 24 hours a day. Yes, this can lead to some stressful times, especially when I am working and they are being adventurous. Deep breathing is my chosen method to dealing with these little everyday stresses. When my boys start acting up, I put them in time out or in bed and then take three minutes to calm down. Once the three minutes is over, I go get the boys and calmly explain why they can’t do what they were doing. So far, it seems to work.
If you are in the midst of a stressful day and can get away for 30 minutes to an hour, head to a quiet corner and meditate. I am a Christian, so I meditate on the Bible and God’s promise that He will never place more on me than I can handle. There are some days that I meditate on peaceful thoughts. Be sure that you choose something to meditate on that calms you down.
I like to visualize myself on a warm beach with my baby. I picture a day that is warm but not too sunny. The baby and I just enjoy spending time with each other and snuggling with the peaceful sound of the waves crashing. This scenario calms me down within a few minutes. When you are visualizing, choose somewhere peaceful and imagine your calm baby with you.
At the end of a stressful day, I like to head for the bathtub with a lighthearted book. I wait until after my children are in bed and I let my husband know that I don’t want to be bothered unless there is an actual emergency. If you choose to do this, invest in a tub pillow so that you are comfortable. Find a scented body wash and lotion that you enjoy and save them for only the days you are taking your distressing bath. I use a lavender-vanilla scent that I find calming. I also have a cherry blossom scent that I enjoy.
Warning: If you are stressed out to the point where you feel like hurting yourself or someone else, contact a mental health professional or your primary care physician immediately.