Stress Management 101

AngelaRD, LDN, CBS

Pregnancy can be one of the most exciting times in our lives; yet, it can also be one of the most stressful. From physical changes like your growing belly to feeling anxious about labor and delivery to worrying about how life will change with a newborn, stress can impact us at any point during pregnancy.

While stress is very common during pregnancy, too much of it can make it more difficult to eat properly and get the right amount of sleep and rest that you and your baby need.

The best way to manage pregnancy related stress is to build your toolbox with stress busting coping techniques. See the What To Do section for tips on ways to keep stress levels low and nip it in the bud when it rears its head.

What to Do

  • Eat well- It’s far too easy to give into all of those indulgent pregnancy cravings but having a more optimal diet can keep your mood more even keeled by delivering a healthy, steady stream of nutrients to you and your baby.
  • Drink up– Not drinking enough water can leave you feeling low on energy and sluggish, making it more difficult to power through your busy day. Make sure to get at least 10 (8oz) cups daily to stay hydrated.
  • Exercise- Being physically active is a natural stress buster. Try yoga, it can be a good way to unwind and take your mind off of other things that are preoccupying your thoughts.
  • Meditate- Take a few minutes each day to just sit and collect your thoughts. Sometimes the quiet can be the refresh you need to release some tension.
  • Journal- Express yourself in writing. Write down things that may be sources of stress and possible solutions or outcomes. Seeing things in writing can help provide clarity.
  • Get outdoors- Spending time outdoors has been shown to elevate mood and have a positive impact on stress levels. Take advantage of when the weather is nice and plan more outdoor activities, even if it’s just eating lunch outside or going on a 10-minute stroll.
  • Rethink your to do list- With a newborn on the way, your to-do list is probably overwhelming and never-ending. Instead of looking at the big picture of everything that needs to get done, write down 1 or 2 things that you would like to accomplish each day. It will make it seem more manageable and give you the motivation you need to stay ahead!
  • ●       Take care of you-With so much time and effort preparing for your new addition, it’s easy to forget about yourself. Growing a baby is hard work and places extra demands on your body and mind. When life is getting overwhelming, take time to do something YOU enjoy. Whether it’s reading a book or getting a prenatal massage, doing an activity that you like can be just the refresh and reset that you need.
  • Reframe your thoughts- It’s all too easy to see the glass half empty when you are feeling stressed, but don’t let it get you down.  Having a more positive outlook can make it easier to power through tense periods.
  • Just breathe- Has anyone ever told you to just “take a deep breath?” It’s great advice! Deep breathing exercises can relax your mind and can calm you down when you need it most. Try this: Close your eyes, inhale through your nose to the count of 5, and exhale slowly to the count of five. Repeat this 4 times.
  • Build a support system-Having people you can talk to and lean on can make all the difference. Talking to other pregnant mamas to whom you may relate may be soothing knowing that others may be having similar feelings. If you feel like you are at your max, ask for help!