If you are on bed rest during pregnancy, you know it is anything but a vacation. From worrying about your baby to feeling lonely and isolated from your friends and family, bed rest can take a tremendous toll on your stress levels.
Additionally, because you are on bed rest, you may not be able to rely on your typical stress management strategies like exercising or cooking a nice meal, because your prescribed activity limitations won’t allow it.
However, stress management is extremely important during pregnancy as stress and anxiety can negatively impact your health, your baby’s health and increase your risk of additional pregnancy complications, such as preterm birth.
The good news is that there are several simple but powerful strategies you can practice, even while on bed rest, to help relieve your body of tension, quiet your mind and find inner peace, no matter what pregnancy complications may be facing.
Relax your body
Starting from the tip of your head, work your way down to your toes and consciously relax every part of your body. Don’t forget small body parts like your forehead or your fingers, which can hold a significant amount of physical tension.
Challenge your thoughts
It’s very easy to get caught up in the “what ifs” and worry about all of the things that can go wrong. Spend some time imaging all of the things that can go right. Thinking of positive outcomes is a powerful way to reduce stress.
Make a plan
If you are a planner and love to-do lists, the uncertainties of a high-risk pregnancy can be very difficult to cope with. Create a pregnancy wellness plan so you have a list of resources and support no matter what ups and downs you face with the health of your pregnancy. Download a free template on how to get started with your high risk pregnancy wellness plan.
Though a high-risk pregnancy is no laughing matter, one of the most potent and powerful stress reducing activities you can do, no matter your physical limitations on bed rest, is to laugh. Laughing reduces tension in the body, lowers your blood pressure and blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Find a funny video on Youtube, follow a hilarious Instagram account, watch a comedy special, or talk to a funny friend and find a way to laugh at least 2-3 times per day.
Especially when there are so many unknowns during a high-risk pregnancy, it’s understandable you will worry about what could happen. Practice focusing on what’s happening right here, right now. The simplest way to start, is by focusing on your breathing and how it feels to take air in and breathe air out. This will help you feel calmer, especially during those moments you feel overwhelmed by your pregnancy complications.
If you have tried to manage your stress by yourself but you’re still struggling with nonstop chatter in your mind, having trouble sleeping and just generally feeling jittery and off, reach out for support from your friends and family or from a trusted professional who specializes in high-risk pregnancies. You deserve it.
Parijat Deshpande, MS, CWC, CSMC is a Perinatal Wellness Counselor who works with women experiencing stress and anxiety during their high-risk pregnancy. Combining her professional expertise in clinical psychology and women’s wellness with her personal experience with a very high-risk pregnancy, Parijat guides moms to manage their overwhelm so they can feel calmer, more confident and more hopeful and have a healthier pregnancy. Parijat offers emotional, health and wellness support through private virtual sessions with women during their high-risk pregnancy and during the postpartum period. For more information visit www.parijatdeshpande.com