Stay Active Every Day
Exercise releases endorphins that will lift your mood. You dont have to do aerobics classes or hit the gym. Just try to make staying active part of your everyday life. For example, you could go for a walk or do some office exercises. This can reduce stress and its good for your unborn baby, too. Find out more about exercises you can do when youre pregnant.
Concentrate On Your Breathing
Stress can have a major effect on your breathing. It can cause you to take shorter, shallower breaths which decrease the oxygen in your body. This shallow breathing, in turn, can cause your stress levels to rise as your body reacts to the lack of oxygen. Yes, its a vicious cycle, but you can take control by focusing on your breathing and meditating.When you feel yourself getting stressed, sit or lie down, close your eyes, and take at least five deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth while paying attention to the rise and fall of your chest. As you breathe, try to relax and let your stress slip away.
Ask For And Accept Help
Wanting to know how to stay stress-free during early pregnancy, or really any stage of pregnancy? Ask for help help with dinner, dishes, errands, or whatever. And dont feel bad asking. Your loved ones want to help you, but some may not know how to ask or what to help with. So if someone does offer their help, dont tell them no.
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How To Treat Stress Naturally During Pregnancy
- Discover your triggers Is there anything specific that makes you anxious? Pay attention to what is happening when you feel most stressed out.
- Get Some Rest Exhaustion or irregular sleeping habits can lead to increased negative emotions, including stress. Be sure that you are allowing yourself plenty of sleep.
- Eat healthily A well-balanced diet can help reduce stress, as well as keeping you and your baby healthy.
- Exercise Thirty minutes of mild to moderate exercise several days a week is enormously beneficial. It can also help lower cortisol levels, which is the hormone that causes anxiety.
- Meditation Meditating can help clear your mind and lower your stress levels.
- Therapy If your stress levels become unbearable, you may want to seek a therapist, to discuss possible underlying issues beneath your anxiety, as well as healthy ways to cope with your feelings.
Dealing With The Challenges Of Pregnancy
Lets face it: Pregnancy is uncomfortable. But with people on all sides telling you how wonderful it is to be pregnant, you may feel guilty admitting you feel stressed about all the physical changes involved. If you feel this way, youre not alone. Many women admit to feeling deeply ambivalent about the changes in their lives during pregnancy. Often these concerns yield to happiness when the baby arrives, but until then, some women feel like their lives and bodies are suddenly out of their control.
From morning sickness to hemorrhoids, major mood swings, intense fatigue, and dozens of pounds of weight gain, pregnancy changes let you know that youre no longer the boss of your body. And each new symptom may trigger a certain anxiety: Is this normal? Is my baby safe? Will I ever go back to the way I used to be?
Pregnancy also can trigger stressful relationship and family issues. Having a baby brings a third person into your romantic relationshipa third person whose needs take priority over everyone elses. In addition, a new baby invites more frequent visits from family, which may prompt discussions surrounding religion, finances, and even where to live.
Its completely normal to have mixed feelings about these life changes. Many people feel lovingly about a child, but also scared and unhappy about the changes involved. Take heart, thoughthere are ways to make the time during pregnancy easier. Two keys to managing stress and worry during pregnancy are:
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Therapy For Pregnancy Stress
Therapy can be a beneficial treatment option for women dealing with pregnancy stress. Therapy involves meeting with a psychologist, social worker, counselor, or therapist either individually or in a group. It provides you with an opportunity to talk about how you are feeling and learn healthier ways to cope with your emotions.
Cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy are two types of therapy that are effective for treating depression during pregnancy.14 CBT helps you identify when you are having unhealthy or irrational thoughts and teaches you how to change them. IPT focuses on helping you improve your relationships, which in turn helps you improve your emotional state. Some therapists may also utilize other approaches, like psychodynamic or solution-focused therapy, to help pregnant women better cope with stress.
Being Unmotivated At Work
If youre feeling particularly unenthusiastic about being at the office these days, youre not alone. Not being motivated at workeven if you previously loved your jobis relatively common among pregnant people. You obviously have a lot on your mind when it comes to the baby, and spreadsheets and client calls commonly take a backseat.
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When To Get Help
It is normal to have some unease and worry during pregnancy, Dr. Chisholm says. Major changes are happening in your body and your life is about to become much different. But there is a difference between expected worrying and overwhelming anxiety that seems to take over your life.
“If your worry is all-consuming and you are consumed with a sense of panic or you are having trouble concentrating or sleeping, that is not normal,” she says. “It is important to discuss any symptoms you are having with your provider. They will help you figure out what you need.”
According to Brawley, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to feel when anxious. But, there are some common symptoms that may be related to anxiety. You may experience several symptoms or all of them. Share your specific symptoms with a healthcare provider.
Ways To Reduce Stress While Trying To Conceive
Did you know that 1 out of 6 couples has a problem getting or staying pregnant?
It is hard to be positive and not to be worried when you face negative test results month after month. It is common to feel disappointed, angry, guilty and stressed out. You may also feel like you are on an emotional roller coaster. A growing body of evidence suggests that stress may tip off womens hormones so that fertility test results show up negative.
Studies show that women who worry a lot are up to 20% less likely to get pregnant or carry pregnancy full-term.
Below are some suggestions for reducing stress when attempting to conceive.
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How Can Stress Affect My Baby And Me
Some people might also experience:
- obsessive thoughts
- eating problems
- trouble relaxing or winding down
Chronic stress could also cause problems for your baby. These can include effects on your unborn babys growth and the length of gestation . They can also increase the risk of problems in your babys future physical and mental development, as well as behavioural issues in childhood.
The Role Of Maternal Sensitive Interaction Behavior For Infant Stress Regulation
To pacify stressful experiences and to regulate their own affects, infants only have a limited repertoire of self-regulatory behaviors during the first months of life, such as hand-to-mouth-movements and non-nutritive sucking. Therefore, infants depend on the co-regulation of their caregivers, playing an important role in the development of stress regulation in infants . Empirical findings highlight the importance of specific patterns of motherchild interaction for infants affect regulation. For dyadic co-regulation, sensitive reactions of the caregivers are of special importance for the development of affect regulation in the infant as well as for behavioral and physiological reactions . Sensitive and responsive parents are described as paying attention toward the infants signals and reacting promptly and appropriate to them. If the caregiver cannot respond adequately to the childs emotions and interpersonal regulation fails, infants engage in self-directed stress regulation and develop lower tolerance to negative affect and lower stress regulation competencies .
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Can Stress During Pregnancy Hurt My Baby
Regular, everyday stress during pregnancy, such as stressing to make a work deadline or finish the babys nursery, wont hurt your baby.
But extreme , chronic and long-term stress can, in some cases, increase the risk of:
- Developmental delays in the baby
Babies born too soon or too small can face more complications than full-term, normal-weight newborns.
Extreme Anxieties Depression Support Groups
Being overly anxious and stressed all the time is unusual and only affects a very few pregnant women, but can cause problems. If you talk to your midwife or GP, they will help you, by referring you to a support group, counsellor or a psychotherapist.
Please get help when you are pregnant, as all the support can be set up for when you have given birth.
If you are taking medication for depression, talk to your midwife or GP if you are worried about any affects it has on your baby, but dont suddenly stop your medication.
Massage and aromatherapy can be very useful to alleviate stress and anxieties. Massage during pregnancy will not only benefit you, but your partner as well. This will make them feel part of the whole pregnancy and make you feel that you are not doing this on your own.
- Watch Creating Secure Infant Attachment Helping Your Baby Get the Best Possible Start in Life
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Labor Is Freaking You Out
First, remember that every pregnant woman is nervous about delivering her baby . Watters suggests this meditation exercise to help you get in tune with your body:
Get in a comfortable position, either seated or lying down on your side. Tense one area of your body for 2-3 seconds and then let that area relax. Move from your toes up to your face, tensing and relaxing each area.
This will come in very handy when you’re in labor, because it’ll help you learn how to relax all areas of your body, conserve energy, and make the work of birthing your baby easier. The breathing exercises can also help you focus and relax. Visualizing an easy and smooth delivery can be very powerful, reassuring and relaxing when that anxiety arises.
Effects Of Stress During Pregnancy
While some stress is normal and healthy, too much stress or unchecked stress can affect your health, your pregnancy and even your baby.
For instance, if you have high levels of stress, you may turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms, like drinking alcohol, smoking, drugs or unhealthy eating.
Too much stress can also lead to anxiety and/or depression mental health conditions that could impact your pregnancy and your general well-being.
High levels of stress can also exacerbate any chronic conditions you have, as well as make you more susceptible to illnesses. And if your stress levels remain high for a long time say throughout your pregnancy and beyond it could possibly lead to high blood pressure and heart disease.
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What Are The Effects Of Untreated Anxiety On The Fetus
When thinking about management of anxiety, it is important to consider both the risks of treatment as well as the harms of untreated anxiety. Although less studied than depression, research suggests that anxiety may negatively affect both the mother and the fetus. Anxiety increases the risk for preterm birth, low birthweight, earlier gestational age, and a smaller head circumference .
What Causes Stress During Pregnancy
Here are some common causes during pregnancy:
- You may be dealing with the discomforts of pregnancy, like morning sickness, constipation, being tired or having a backache.
- Your hormones are changing, which can cause your mood swings that make it harder to handle stress.
- You may be worried about labor and birth or how to take care of your baby.
- If you work, you may have to prepare your team for when you take maternity leave.
- You may worry about how you eat, drink and feel and how these things affect your baby.
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Symptoms Of Stress During Pregnancy
Pregnant or not, a body under stress experiences physical and chemical changes. Some of the most common symptoms of stress during pregnancy include the following:
- An increase in cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine levels, whether youre aware of it or not
- An increase in heart rate or heart palpitations
- A feeling of worry, frustration, anger or sadness
- Loss of interest in being around other people
- Excessive need to be around other people, or feeling scared to be alone
Where To Get Help With Managing Stress In Pregnancy
If you dont feel like youre coping with stress, see your GP. GPs can give you general advice or refer you to a psychologist or counsellor for professional help and support. You can also talk to a midwife or doctor when you have your antenatal appointments. Most hospitals now have programs to help with issues like stress.
You can also contact:
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Additional Resources For Dealing With Stress While Pregnant
For more information about dealing with stress during pregnancy, see the following organizations:
Stress during pregnancy is common, with around 78% of pregnant women reporting low to moderate stress and 6% reporting high levels of stress.1 Pregnancy stress is a concern because it is linked to certain complications and can have negative effects on the unborn baby. Fortunately, you can take action to reduce your stress during pregnancy, which can help prevent these problems and improve your overall well-being.
How Are Problems Treated
Treatment for mental health problems may include:
- Prescription medicine. Always talk to a doctor before you start taking or stop taking any medicines during your pregnancy. If you take any kind of medicine for a mental health issue and are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, tell your doctor. Don’t stop taking it unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines may cause problems for a growing baby, but stopping your medicine may make things worse. Your doctor can make a treatment plan that is best for you and your baby.
- Talk therapy. Talking one-on-one with a therapist can be a great way to manage stress, deal with depression, and ease anxiety during pregnancy. Finding a support group where you can share your concerns with other mothers who know what you’re going through also can help. Talking with a social worker or counselor can help you deal with money issues, worries over raising a child, or other stresses in your life.
- Other approaches. Many women find comfort in activities like yoga, exercise, and meditation. If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, talking to a friend, family member, or faith leader can help you feel better.
Many moms feel anxious or depressed at some point in their pregnancy, and some may even need treatment for it. But a mental health problem doesn’t have to be a problem for you or your baby. Get the help you need to feel better, and you’ll be doing the best thing for you both.
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You’re Already Stressed And It’s Not Even 9 Am
Brain going a mile a minute? Take a 5-minute break.
Learn to identify the moment when your stress level becomes overwhelming and at that moment, bring your awareness to your breath, says Sara Trapani, Registered Yoga Teacher, Bard College, Omega Institute. It’s as simple as noticing the natural pattern of your breath as it draws in and out through your nose. Close your eyes and take at least five, full breaths. As you breathe, notice the rising and falling of your chest, and relax your face and jaw. Practice this anytime, anywhereit will calm your nervous system and create an instant sense of grounding and regained control.
How Can You Reduce Stress During Pregnancy
Here are some ways to help you reduce stress:
- Talk to you provider about your pregnancy discomforts and know they are temporary.
- Eat healthy foods, get plenty of sleep and exercise .
- Cut back on activities you dont need to do or ask your partner to help with chores.
- Try relaxation activities, like prenatal yoga or meditation.
- Take a childbirth education class so you know what to expect during pregnancy and when your baby arrives. Practice the breathing and relaxation methods you learn in your class.
- If youre working, plan ahead to help you and your employer get ready for your time away from work. Use any time off you may have to get extra time to relax.
The people around you may help with stress relief too. Here are some ways to reduce stress with the help of others:
- Have a good support network, which may include your partner, family and friends. Or ask your provider about resources in the community that may be helpful.
- Figure out whats making you stressed and talk to your support network about it
- If you think you may have depression or anxiety talk to your provider right away.
- Ask for help from people you trust. Accept help when they offer. For example, you may need help cleaning the house, or you may want someone to go with you to your prenatal visits.
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