Anxiety isn't good for any of us but it can be especially detrimental to pregnant women. For pregnant women extra stress can cause high blood pressure which can trigger preterm labor. Preterm labor can lead to a host of issues for baby: including intellectual and developmental delays, hearing and vision challenges and more. This March of Dimes article articulates many of which here. So, let's all calm down! Here are 31 ways how to reduce stress:
- Avoid information overload. DON'T Google everything! Find a trusted friend, educator that you can depend on for quality information. No, they won't have all the answers but they will be able to refer you to someone equally awesome when they get stumped.
- Find a support group. Connecting with other women is so important at this often scary, vulnerable time. Hear that they are feeling the same and learning from each other.
- Start saying "no" now. I know you're a helper. I get it, I do. But the best person you can help now is YOU. Practice saying "no" to whatever doesn't feel like the uber-best fit for you and your new family. Trust me; you'll get a lot of use out of this new habit down the road.
- Sit on a birth ball. I can't say enough about how much I love birth balls. They keep you moving, keep your hips fluid, get you off your feet, keep your pelvis in a good position. And they just feel good! Try it.
Take a warm bath. During my last trimester, I must have taken a warm bath 5 out of 7 nights a week. I listened to my breathing CD, took deep breathes, talked to Little Sun and slowly dripped warm water over my big belly. It felt great and allowed me to sleep better.
- Go for a walk. I didn't do a lot of exercise when I was pregnant but I did walk nightly. It helped me calm down from the craziness of a work day and kept me active and mobile,even when I didn't want to be. It felt good.
- Drink more water. A dehydrated body can lead you to confuse cravings with real hunger pangs. Also a dehydrated uterus is a crampy uterus which is an unhappy uterus. You want a happy uterus. Happy = healthy and feeling good!
- Hit the sack earlier. Rest now because it feels so good and because you won't have as much time. If I hear one more story about a pregnant woman heading out for a jam-packed day, with nary a nap in sight, I swear! Take it easy, please. Trust me on this one.
- Talk to a coach. Most of my Outside The Mom offerings are ones that I wanted. Wellness Coaching is no exception. One session (or a handful!) includes simply talking to someone who has been there before can bring much relief as well as education, resources and support.
- Journal. In Baby Body and Soul, Tracy Gaudet recommends journaling. It was really helpful to me to write down some of the anxieties that I was feeling about the pregnancy and what I still felt like I needed to sort out before I had her.
- Enjoy a chiropractic adjustment. For three-four months leading up to my daughter's birth and for over a year, I received regular chiropractic adjustments at Imagine Chiropractic. They felt great but also reminded me that I was doing good prep work for labor.
- Enroll in a childbirth class. Prep and information reduces stress now...and down the road. I have a seven week, Sunday afternoon class starting in September in Durham for couples and September online for survivors. I also have other local resources for childbirth here.
- Ask for help more often. Boy, do I wish that someone had strongly encouraged me to start asking for help when I was pregnant. You will need help. I did. We all do but it's hard to ask. Start that vulnerable act with someone you trust & see how that goes.
New moms, what would you add to this list? P.S. Your 13 comes up in a few weeks. I didn't forget about you!