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How to Reduce Prenatal Stress

October 30, 2019
Madeline Elston

Pregnancy is a miracle of life, but it can also be a struggle for women who may (or may not!) be predisposed to heightened anxiety and stress. These feelings do not have to overwhelm you; with some basic self-care routines, you can reduce your prenatal stress and take back control of your pregnancy. We will list here for you some solutions to common problems that contribute to prenatal stress: new physical pain from pregnancy, personal stressors, and emotional isolation.

Manage physical pain in your body

Exercise to build strength for carrying new added weight. Walking daily or exercising any way you choose has the added benefit of lowering cortisol (the anxiety hormone) in the brain.

Find a sleeping position that works for you. With a changing body, you may need to find new ways to support the back and bump. Try the tips in this video.

Take baths or swim regularly. Being in water helps relieve the gravitational pull down on your joints and back. This is the reason it’s popular for women in labor to spend time in hot tubs or pools to get relief from labor pains.

Feel secure about life plans

Woman's arm as she works through financial paperwork
Keeping your financial life organized can help relieve underlying reasons for stress.

Lay out budget with new added family member in mind. Make a long-term saving plan. Get everything in order now so that you have one less thing to stress over when the baby comes. (Well, maybe you’ll still stress about money, but you’ll have a strong, thought-out plan in mind to ease those feelings of self-doubt and worry).

Take care of yourself. Build and nurture a good relationship with yourself and any partners or close family who affect your life and mood on a daily basis. Many find that meditation or therapy and counseling can make these processes easier and more effective for long-term stability and happiness. Headspace is a popular, free choice for guided meditation. You can also use this tool by PsychologyToday to view available therapists in your area.

Get support from mothers who have been through it

Stress and anxiety can be isolating to the mind. Even when surrounded by loved ones and support, it may feel like no one can truly understand your thoughts or help you through your feelings. Reach out for help from those who know exactly what you’re going through. Soon-to-be mothers connect online through a popular sub-Reddit page dedicated to pregnancy or local Facebook groups. You can also seek counsel from mothers, aunts, coworkers, or neighbors (anyone, really). Find someone you trust and let them know how you’re feeling.

Baby shoes next to baby clothing on a bed
Current mothers or other pregnant women can be a great resource for coping with prenatal issues.

If you remember one thing from today, know this: you are not alone. Pregnancy is often portrayed as a glowing, perfect experience of butterflies and spiritual peace. The gritty truth is not so shiny, and women suffer psychologically for no good reason thinking they are the only woman who felt stressed, anxious, or afraid while pregnant. In reality, lots of women feel stressed from time to time, and that’s okay. By facing this reality head on with positivity and love, you can make your pregnancy a better, more fulfilling life experience.

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