I’d love to share with you the secrets to a stress free pregnancy, but that is beyond the powers of a computer/keyboard. What I can offer you is a few ways to reduce stress during your pregnancy and some understanding on why it is so important.
A lot of research has been done over the past few years on why stress is problematic during pregnancy. The sciencey answer looks at how excessive stress has the ability to impact babies genomes as they are developing in utero. There is also research that suggests that stress can bring on preterm labor. As if growing a human wasn’t stressful enough, now you have the added stress of knowing that stress is less than ideal for that tiny human you are growing!
So what can we do about it? How do you take away the stressors that are inevitable during pregnancy?
First, realize that two paragraphs above I italicizes excessive stress. Some stress isn’t necessarily bad for your precious growing baby. Some stress during pregnancy will have the super power effect of allowing baby to respond to stressors more adeptly even into adulthood. Pretty cool, huh?
So how do we keep our stressors from becoming excessive; manage it or skip it.
Managing stress can easily be done with techniques you have learned throughout life (minus alcohol/smoking/drugs and other obvious no-no’s). Another helpful technique is through relaxation excercises. If you have the option of signing up for prenatal yoga, go for it! If prenatal massage is available, by all means splurge and pay for a few sessions. If those are not options for you (definitely were not for me!) look into buying a prenatal yoga DVD or having your partner give you a massage.
Meditation is also another convenient, cost effective way at managing stress. Dedicating a few moments each day for quiet reflection can dramatically reduce stress. If you are going through a particularly stressful time in your life and are having difficulty quieting your mind, head over to iTunes and purchase a guided imagery for pregnancy track to help you quiet your mind or simply google “guided imagery scripts” and have your partner read them at the end of the day in a calm, soothing voice (that wasn’t likely in my house, but may work for you!).
I think, for me during my second pregnancy, the biggest advantage I had was knowing the importance of refraining from highly stressful situations. That is where the skip it comes from. We know that there are events that will heighten our stress levels. It could be traveling with small children to visit distant relatives, starting new careers, or redecorating your home. Before you undertake a stressful endeavor, ask yourself, “Can this wait until after baby arrives?” Sometimes the answer will be no, that’s fine, just be kind to yourself and ask for help if you can. BUT, I would wager that a lot of times, the answer is yes.
If all else fails, you can always take the Scarlet approach to stressors and commit to worry about it tomorrow, or even better, after baby arrives.
More information on topics discussed below:
Stress and genomes: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4251062/
Guided Imagery on YouTube: https://youtu.be/4BLlbmwMVto
Prenatal Massage: http://www.webmd.com/baby/pregnancy-and-massage#1