Pregnancy is without a doubt an exciting time; a time full of changes. Trying to conceive is a big adventure all in itself, but ditching birth control, starting to use an ovulation calendar, and waiting for that positive pregnancy test can be a bit scary as well. From the time you noticed an implantation bleeding onwards, pregnancy signs and symptoms are a worry to many women. And of course, preparing for a baby is likely to bring some anxiety as well as joy.
Spending your whole pregnancy in zen-mode is a little ambitious, but there are many things expectant mothers can do to prevent stress, or relieve it. Of course, every person has different needs – but here are ten things you can keep in mind to help you have a more laid-back pregnancy.
1. Don’t listen to advice. When you are expecting a baby (or should I say, from the time anyone finds out you are thinking about how to get pregnant?) everyone and their grandmother has some special advice for you. Whether it’s about what foods to avoid, where and how to give birth, or what crib to buy… don’t listen to anyone’s advice, unless you truly want to. Smiling, nodding, and forgetting is the most non-confrontational approach.
2. Choose your healthcare provider well. Prenatal care, and labor and delivery itself, are important aspects of your pregnancy. Your healthcare provider, whether you choose an OB/GYN or a midwife, has the potential to impact your stress levels in a big way. It is important to pick a provider you are comfortable with for that reason. Interview several OBs or midwives before picking one, make sure you are on the right wavelength, and find a new one of you disagree with their recommendations. Your healthcare provider doesn’t have to be your new best friend, but they should be respectful and take time to answer your questions.
3. Listen to your intuition. If you feel there is something wrong, there might well be. Similarly, if you feel you are overdoing things at work, don’t ignore those feelings and go on anyway. Seek medical attention when you have symptoms that worry you, but also trust that everything is just fine in the absence of that “inner voice” telling you to be concerned.
4. Exercise regularly. Prenatal exercise is important for your physical health, but it has the added bonus of also being a wonderful stress reliever. Pick something you actually enjoy, otherwise it won’t reduce stress! Of course, consult your physician first!
5. Enjoy nice food without guilt. Weight gain is one of the areas that many expectant mothers worry about. Enjoying tasty but nutritional and healthy meals should not make you feel guilty, and neither should the occasional fast foods to satisfy cravings.
6. Plan ahead. Having a baby requires a lot of planning – buying baby gear, decorating a nursery, deciding where to give birth and how to organize your life after the baby arrives are all stressful. If you plan ahead, by starting the decision-making process early on in your pregnancy, you will save yourself a lot of hassle later on.
7. Enjoy pregnancy. Morning sickness, heartburn and insomnia are all unpleasant pregnancy ailments that can make you lose sight of the big picture. But let’s face it; carrying an all new human being inside your body is amazing. Those kicks are unlike anything else. Remember how magical, and how temporary, pregnancy really is. And enjoy it.
8. Talk to your partner. Relationships can suffer during a pregnancy, because you are both coming to terms with the changes in your life and may be reacting to them differently – no matter how much you love each other, and how much you want this baby. Don’t bottle up any feelings you have, and continue talking to your partner.
9. Don’t overstretch yourself. It is easy to think that you can do anything, from working full-time to going stroller shopping and then painting your nursery. You might just be able to do that, but it will sure cause you stress. Don’t overstretch yourself, and don’t think everything has to be perfect.
10. Don’t forget alone time. Realistically speaking, no pregnant woman will ever spend time totally alone. But making the effort to unwind, and taking time out to clear your mind can be an excellent stress reliever. Taking a long bath, going for a walk, or reading a good book are some suggestions.
Do you have any suggestions for a stress-free pregnancy? Please comment below!
Also, make sure you check out the Snoogle for expecting mothers for a great night sleep.