Pregnancy can be a very stressful time. Not only is a woman busy preparing for her bundle of joy, but is also adjusting to the changes her body is going through. It is important to remember that stress is bad for both mother and baby if you can’t get a handle on things. Especially when you’ve never experienced pregnancy or birth before, the nerves and stress can be really hindering to your health. Here is a list of tips on how to reduce stress during your first pregnancy and how to make it through feeling your best.
1. Have A Good Laugh
Spending some time doing what you love and laughing can help you greatly reduce your stress during pregnancy. Studies have shown that laughing helps reduce boost beta-endorphins. Beta-endorphins help alleviate both depression and stress. Not only does laughing help alleviate your stress and help you relax, but it also helps boost the immune system. Make time for fun and remember to live in the moment.
2. Take A Dip
You probably have already heard that exercise has a number of benefits for an expecting mother and baby. Stress relief is one of those benefits. Swimming is one of the exercises doctors and midwives recommend because it is easier on the joints than many other types of exercise. It also allows you to get a full body workout. Swimming will make it easier for you to avoid excessive weight gain and keep your body in shape. Make sure you check with your obstetrics provider or fetal care specialist before you start exercising.
3. Sleep More
It can be hard to sleep during pregnancy because of the extra weight, baby kicks, discomfort, and frequent trips to the bathroom. However, it will be easier for you to cope with stress when you are well-rested. When you frequently fight the urge to sleep, you put a strain on the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps you cope with stress.
If you are finding it hard to sleep, then there are a couple of tips and tricks that you can use. For example, many women find that it is easier for them to sleep when they turn the temperature on the thermostat down. You may also want to avoid eating anything at least two hours before you go to bed. Additionally, you may want to sleep with a body pillow. This will make it easier for you to get comfortable with that extra weight.
4. Keep a Pregnancy Journal
Even if you are not a writer, you may find that keeping a journal can help promote relaxation and reduce stress during pregnancy. You can write about the way you are feeling physically and mentally and take time to assess. Many people find that writing is an effective outlet for releasing stress. Not only is writing in a pregnancy journal relaxing, but also something you can share with your child. Make it a project and decorate your pregnancy journal with photos, mementos and more.
5. Have A Foot Soak
Swollen feet are a common symptom during pregnancy. The extra weight you carry during pregnancy can also cause your feet to become sore. You can alleviate swollen and sore feet by soaking them in warm water. You will need a shallow bucket or large pan. Fill the bucket or pan up with warm water and soak your feet in scented water for 20 to 30 minutes.
Even though swollen feet are normal during pregnancy, Dr. Gilbert Webb says this could be a sign of high blood pressure. Many women who suffer from high blood pressure during pregnancy are referred to a high risk obstetrician for treatment.
Pregnancy can be a difficult time and an all-around life-changing experience. Fortunately, you can reduce some of the stress by having a good laugh, swimming, sleeping more, and keeping a pregnancy journal. Take time to think about yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help. When you have a good support system, you can get help and advice whenever you need.
Guest Blog by Brooke Chaplan, Freelance Writer and Blogger
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.
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