5 Ways To Reduce Stress During Pregnancy
It is natural to feel some stress during pregnancy. In addition to the enormous physical changes that occur during pregnancy, many women work throughout pregnancy, care for other children, and maintain a household. Stress can lead to headaches, poor mood, and disrupted sleep, none of which contribute to a happy, healthy mom. Chronic high levels of stress can even lead to a lowered immune system and high blood pressure. Fortunately, there are many fun, healthy ways for women to reduce stress during pregnancy, many of which can transition well into the postpartum period.
Gentle exercise provides a number of benefits for pregnant women. Taking a ten to fifteen minute stroll every morning and evening not only regulates blood sugar and pressure, but also helps to release mood-boosting endorphins, decreasing stress.
Other gentle exercises like prenatal yoga and swimming are extremely helpful. Not only do they keep mom and baby healthy, but they also provide a gentle, relaxing environment. These particular low-impact exercises also help to soothe pregnancy aches and prepare the body for birth.
Recognizing the need for exercise throughout pregnancy, many clothing manufacturers produce maternity-appropriate fitness attire that looks and feels great. Common options include maternity swimwear, maternity yoga pants, and maternity tank tops. These pieces are made with extra length and width in the midsection to provide comfortable mobility during exercise.
Nutrition plays a huge role in every aspect of human life. Eating good, healthy food not only reduces the odds of pregnancy problems or illness, it also improves brain function. People who lead healthy, active lives that include a diet rich in vegetables and low in processed foods experience less depression, anxiety, and stress.
In pregnancy, health is about quality rather than quantity. Pregnant women need only a few hundred additional calories per day to maintain a healthy singleton pregnancy. However, these calories, as well as all others, should come from natural, protein-dense foods. Empty calories like soda, sugar, and many processed foods are best avoided.
Lack of sleep plays a contributing role in many cases of stress and depression, both before, during, and after pregnancy. Though it may be difficult to sleep when tormented by morning sickness, leg cramps, and an ever-expanding waistline, it is extremely important to get as much rest as possible.
For most, the first twelve weeks of pregnancy are marked with intense fatigue. During this vital time, the body is going through intense changes. It should come as no surprise that creating a human life can be a bit taxing. Waking up later or going to bed earlier help. Caffeine should be avoided, especially in the four hours before bedtime. Creating a rest-friendly environment by turning off the TV, dimming the lights, and listening to relaxing music also helps.
Learn to Say “No”
It is important during pregnancy to be cautious of taking on too much. If ever there were a time to put less important activities on the back burner, this is it. Reduce obligations to include only those that are critical and do not be afraid to ask for help. Stretching one’s self too thin is a hotspot for creating unnecessary stress and anxiety.
Take a Babymoon
Particularly for couples who are pregnant for the first time, late pregnancy offers a chance for one last hurrah before the baby comes. Many partners take this time to go on a babymoon, a romantic trip to celebrate each other’s love before it expands to include a tiny third wheel. Not only will taking time out for a vacation help to reduce stress, it also gives partners a chance to reconnect before undergoing a huge life change.
Nicole S. Wilson is passionate about supporting the needs of pregnant women. She is the owner of Mermaid Maternity®, a maternity swimwear brand designed to help pregnant women feel comfortable and confident in their maternity bathing suits. Her functional and flattering maternity swimsuit line can be found at MermaidMaternity.net.
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Things break all the time. Day breaks, waves break, voices break. Promises break. Hearts break. Every expectant parent will tell you that they don’t want a perfect baby, just a healthy one. Charlotte and Sean O’Keefe would have asked for a healthy baby, too, if they’d been given the choice. Instead, their lives are made up of sleepless nights, mounting bills, the pitying stares of “luckier” parents, and maybe worst of all, the what-ifs. What if their child had been born healthy? But it’s all worth it because Willow is, well, funny as it seems, perfect. She’s smart as a whip, on her way to being as pretty as her mother, kind, brave, and for a five-year-old an unexpectedly deep source of wisdom. Willow is Willow, in sickness and in health. Everything changes, though, after a series of events forces Charlotte and her husband to confront the most serious what-ifs of all. What if Charlotte should have known earlier of Willow’s illness? What if things could have been different? What if
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