How to Relieve Stress Naturally During Pregnancy

Life can be stressful. It’s a natural emotion and impacts all of us on a daily basis. When you throw pregnancy into the equation, it can become harder to manage.

But don’t worry; pregnancy creates new stressors for all of us. It’s normal to worry about becoming parents, new life changes and whether or not your baby is healthy1.

A little stress is fine. However, when you allow it to consume your life day-in and day-out, you need to find a better way to manage1.

What is Stress?

Stress is a part of life that affects everyone’s emotional (and sometimes even physical) well being2. It is caused by the release of the stress hormone cortisol and can either be positive, neutral or negative.

During pregnancy, there are a number of things that can cause an increase in anxiety. Some of these include fluctuating hormone levels, physical discomfort and uncertainty about the future5. All of which are normal, but stress levels do need to be kept under control for the safety of the baby.

Too much stress during pregnancy can cause cortisol to cross the placenta and have a negative influence on a baby’s emotional development3. It is also correlated with preterm birth and lower birth weights4. This is why it is crucial to manage your levels of stress.

For some safe and effective natural stress relievers, check out the following list!

1. Talk it Out
Humans are born with the innate desire to communicate. It has the ability to bring us together, comfort us and allows us to learn new things. If you are feeling stressed during pregnancy, pick up the phone or sit down with your partner! Sometimes all it takes is hearing a familiar voice to put things into a more reassuring perspective6.

Being honest and open in your relationships allows you to walk through what is causing you stress and can help both partners feel more at ease2. Just saying something out loud allows it to get off of your chest and feel more relaxed.

You can also have a conversation with your doctor or midwife if you are worried about anything regarding the baby. They are professionals and experienced in pregnancy – so their answers will be reassuring.

2. Have a Healthy Diet
Food nourishes your body and mind. That’s why one of the best stress remedies is simply making sure that you are eating well. Having a healthy diet can help balance the chemicals in your brain that keep you happy and relaxed.

For instance, omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce depression and tryptophan can actually boost your mood2. It literally raises melatonin and seratonin2 – which explains why people are usually so happy, and tired, after a big Thanksgiving meal!

You can find these nourishing vitamins and minerals in healthy food such as nuts, chicken, eggs and even cheese. In addition, make sure you’re always well hydrated! Dehydration can cause irritability and higher levels of cortisol2.

3. Get Moving
Exercise also has the ability to boost your mood. It releases endorphins that are linked to happiness. An added benefit: it will improve your overall health and keep you toned during pregnancy.

Research shows that it is perfectly safe to exercise during pregnancy – just start slow2. Some great suggestions are swimming, walking or yoga.

Yoga has tons of benefits including improving deep breathing, relaxation and meditative sequences2. It increases your flexibility and can help relieve aches and pains associated with pregnancy. Find a class near your or check out some great YouTube videos.

4. Meditate
Going hand-in-hand with yoga is meditation and positive visualization. Both of which can actually help lower the stress hormone cortisol2. Practicing mindfulness in your daily life can help you achieve a stronger approach to mental health. It allows you to appreciate each moment for what it is, without stressing about how to change it.

These can take a little longer to master, but with time and patience you will gain an overall feeling of peace and serenity. Check out some helpful tips on meditation for beginners.

5.Rest and Relaxation
During pregnancy, there are a lot of things that need to get done. Between your own physical and mental health and the growing lists of things to do before the baby comes, it can be a bit overwhelming.

To avoid a stressful breakdown, take some time to simply relax. If you feel tired, take a nap or head to bed early. Remember, your body is working twice as hard in order to grow and nourish a new life2!

Taking the time to take a few deep breaths throughout the day will keep your anxiety at bay. Shallow breathing actually increases stress while deep breathing helps to oxygenate your blood, center yourself and clear your mind6.

If you’re having trouble relaxing on your own, give yourself the gift of a professional massage or pedicure. You will leave feeling replenished and ready to tackle whatever comes next.

6.Listen to Music
Listening to relaxing music has been shown to have a calming affect on the body and mind. It has been shown to lower blood pressure and even reduces cortisol levels6.

For the strongest results, listen to calming music. You can choose from classical songs or soothing ocean or nature sounds in order to get the stress reducing results.

7. Get Organized
Between all of the things to buy, plan and prepare, things can get a little overwhelming. A strong way to overcome the anxiety that is associated with this is to simply get organized.

Creating lists can help you break down big objects into smaller tasks, which allows things to be viewed in a much more manageable way7. It also keeps you organized with what you have done and what you still need to do.

8. Prepare
After you’ve gotten organized, start preparing. Join a birthing class, talk to your doctor about creating a birth plan or start putting together your new baby’s nursery.

Crossing things off of your ever-growing lists will give you a sense of accomplishment. It will also help you maintain a calm and relaxed attitude.

9. Laugh
It is no secret that laughter is the best medicine and this holds true during pregnancy. Scientifically speaking, laughter releases chemicals in the brain that improve your mood and overall disposition7.

You can find humor in the little things, watch a gut-busting comedy or reminisce with your girlfriends about laugh-out-loud memories. Whatever you choose, make sure to spend some time getting your daily dose of laughter in. You’ll be feeling less stressed in no time.

10. Keep a journal
Our final suggestion to help combat stress is to keep a journal. Write down what you’re feeling and why you think you’re feeling that way. It will help you look at your stressors more objectively and release bottled up emotions7.

Conclusion

If you are feeling stressed during your pregnancy, try out some of these natural remedies. If you’re ever feeling exceptionally stressed and are having a hard time dealing with it, try talking to a professional. They are trained to assess your anxiety and help work towards a solution. As with everything that you do during your pregnancy, make sure to discuss all of your options and changes in nutrition with your doctor. You can also find more great pregnancy tips, info, and product reviews on our website.

If you have any other natural remedies for stress that have worked for you, share them with us on our Facebook page!

 

 

SOURCES:

The post How to Relieve Stress Naturally During Pregnancy appeared first on Breast Pump Blog | Breastfeeding Blog.