Original article from Belly Belly

Pregnant women tend to worry often – it’s quite common to experience periods of stress during pregnancy. There might be worries about weight gain, diet, money, relationship issues, or the impending birth. Some women are worried about all the work that has to be done before maternity leave begins. Others are worried about bonding with their baby, breastfeeding and whether they’ll be able to soothe their crying newborn. It’s natural to feel worried during pregnancy, and some level of stress seems almost inevitable. You’re busy organizing every detail for the newest member of your family, whilst also dealing with a level of exhaustion you previously didn’t know existed. Is Stress During Pregnancy Bad For My Baby? Once stressed, pregnant women then start to worry about whether stress will be bad for the baby. Like you needed another thing to worry about! Unfortunately, experts do believe that stress can have a negative impact on the baby. Low birth weight and preterm delivery have both been linked with prolonged bouts of stress during pregnancy. While some stresses may be unavoidable, there are steps you can take to reduce your stress levels throughout the pregnancy. Below are 10 tips to help reduce your stress levels.

#1: Get Five Minutes Peace You’re so busy getting everything organised, it’s easy to forget to get some you time. Growing a new life is tiring business, so make sure you take some time to relax. An epsom salt bath at the end of the day is a great way to clear your mind. See our article about epsom salt baths during pregnancy. The magnesium in the epsom salts will help with those aches and pains you’re no doubt experiencing. You might like to some essential oils, such as lavender, to help you feel calm.

#2 – Get A Massage! Hmmm – massage is a great way to relieve stress whilst also easing any physical discomfort. After a massage, you should be left feeling relaxed and stress-free. Most masseurs offer prenatal massages specially tailored to the needs of pregnant women. It’s important to tell the masseur you are pregnant when you book the massage.

#3 – Get Some Light Exercise Light exercise will help you to feel less stressed. Taking a walk, going for a swim or taking a yoga class will help you to unwind after a busy week. The breathing techniques taught during a yoga class will also help you to combat stress on a daily basis.

#4 – Stick Some Pins In It! Acupuncture has been proven to reduce stress levels. Acupuncture encourages the release of endorphins which help you to feel relaxed, and improves blood circulation.

#5 – Breathe… Yes, Really! Some women find meditation an effective way of keeping stress at bay. Clearing your mind, even for just 15 minutes a day, can help to prevent the physical effects of stress. Some people prefer to meditate first thing in the morning, but others use it as a way to unwind after work. Once you’ve learned the technique, you can practice it in your everyday life as a sure way to combat stress throughout the day. Download an app like Calm or Headspace, and drift away.

#6 – Talk To Someone Are you okay? As soon as you announce your pregnancy, the whole world becomes much more interested in how you’re feeling. It can feel like the whole nine months is spent reassuring friends and family that you’re feeling well. If you’re feeling stressed, talk to someone. You’ll have no shortage of people asking, so make the most of it. Talking about your worries can provide instant relief, and you might even get some offers of help. If you don’t have someone you can confide in, a professional who specialises in pre-natal counselling or psychology is a great idea. You’ll feel so much better getting it all out, knowing that someone is listening and giving you support.

#7 – Sharing Is Caring Is your to-do list getting longer instead of shorter? Starting to feel worried it might not all get it done in time? It’s time to start delegating. You’ve got soon to be grandparents desperate for baby-related duties, maybe it’s time to start dishing them out. Look at your to do list, and pick the jobs you’re happy to subcontract, and then find a willing friend or family member to help out.

#8 – Get Some Zzzzz’s It sounds obvious, but sleep is a really important tool in fighting and preventing stress. Ok, it’s easier said than done, especially when you have a huge bump and a long to do list, but try your best. If you feel tired during the day, take a nap. You need to catch sleep while you can. Try using extra pillows to prop yourself up in bed and see if that helps you to sleep more easily. Low iron can also result in fatigue and stress, so if you’re dreadfully tired, it might be worth getting your iron checked by your doctor or midwife, because iron is very important during pregnancy and breastfeeding. If you’re having trouble sleeping, speak to your naturopath or acupuncturist who can help with some gentle, effective solutions.

#9 – Start Saying No It’s three days before you start your maternity leave, and your boss asks if you can write a 40 page report – say no. There are some stresses you can’t control, and others you can. Knowing your limits is a really important way of preventing stress. If you don’t have the time – or energy – to organise a friend’s birthday party, redecorate your bedroom or take on extra work, you need to be honest.

#10 – Its Not Long Now! It’s easy to get bogged down in the little details and lose track of the bigger picture. Remember, soon you will meet your baby for the first time, and all of these little worries you had while pregnant will seem unimportant. Keep your mind on what you’re working towards, and look forward to the end of your pregnancy. If you are suffering from severe stress, which includes symptoms such as weight loss and insomnia, please speak to your healthcare provider.