It’s no secret that pregnancy sometimes comes with stressors. Seeing your belly grow and feeling those kicks bring a sense of joy and excitement but some of us often feel an overall sense of apprehension at the arrival of our new bundle.
Whether it’s the physical changes your body goes through or trepidation about the next doctor appointments, a degree of worry is normal during pregnancy.
Keeping stress levels down however, is particularly important as studies have shown that feeling relaxed has positive effects, both on fetal behavior and on obstetric and neonatal outcomes.
Since emotions run high during the 40 weeks of pregnancy, we’ve created this easy to follow guide to staying relaxed and finding your inner calm.
- Listen to your body. Our bodies have an important job so taking care of it is the number one priority. Keeping light exercise up is healthy, but make sure not to overdo it. With all the regular medical appointments, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with information – try not to Google every symptom. If something doesn’t feel quite right, talk to your doctor straight away. Listening to your body means you’re doing what’s best for you and your baby.
- Listen to your needs. Early pregnancy brings with it an overwhelming desire to sleep – this exhaustion is a result of an increase in progesterone which makes you feel lethargic. Our bodies are clever and give us this sensation for a reason – sleep and rest are so important during pregnancy that lack of good quality and quantity have been associated with lower birth rates and other complications. The best way to ensure plenty of rest is to make it a priority and make time for it in your day.
- Focus on things you can control / change. Blood tests, placenta position, whether baby is head down or not – these are all pregnancy factors that are out of our control. Although worrying about them is perfectly normal, giving them less brain space will help you gain a sense of control. Aspects such as diet, exercise, rest, happiness and relaxation are in our control and we should aim to focus our attention on these in order to avoid stress and to remain calm and focussed on the positive aspects of the pregnancy.
- Keep moving. We’re not talking about running a marathon or lifting weights, but some light exercise such as swimming releases happy hormones, leaving you calm and energised. As well as relieving common discomforts such as back pain, regular (moderate) exercise has also been linked to a reduced risk of gestational diabetes.
- Focus on your baby. Doing things to actively connect with your baby can bring a sense of enjoyment and meaning to your pregnancy. Talking to your baby or playing music to them is a great way to focus on your bump, and using HeraBEAT US to listen to your baby’s heartbeat brings a new and exciting way to connect.
- Involve a partner. Pregnancy can feel like a lifetime, but having someone to share the experience with, can alleviate feelings of anxiety and bring calm by sharing moments of joy. Getting a partner or close friend involved in the pregnancy will ensure you’re not feeling alone and also gives you an opportunity to share special moments with others.