If only you could flip a switch and turn off stress during your pregnancy! Unfortunately, we’re not only dealing with our normal stressors right now, but many of us are also facing additional stress due to COVID-19. On top of all that, pregnancy itself can cause a lot of anxiety… from pregnancy discomforts and physical changes to the tremendous responsibility of bringing a newborn into the family.
In the past, pregnancy was considered a delicate condition. You were supposed to stay off your feet and rest as much as possible. These days, we take pride in working and following our normal routines for as long as possible. We know that pregnancy is a natural and beautiful process… not an illness.
But we also need to remember that creating a new life requires a lot of energy. When you’re pregnant, your body is working harder than it has during any other time in your life. So, you need to do whatever you can to minimize stress and get more rest, not only for your own health but also for your growing baby.
Self-care during pregnancy should be a priority, not a luxury. Here are 10 tips and techniques you can implement while you’re pregnant to give your body the extra TLC it needs.
See a Prenatal Massage Therapist Regularly
Even if you couldn’t justify splurging on a massage before you got pregnant, now is the time to give it a try. Experts at the Yinova Center recommend seeing a prenatal massage therapist throughout your pregnancy to reduce stress, promote relaxation, and relieve fatigue and mental strain. It’s also a healthy way to combat the extra anxiety we’re all feeling right now.
If you’re still not sure it’s for you, you may also want to consider the additional benefits prenatal massage provides during labor and delivery. Studies show that women who see a prenatal massage therapist regularly throughout their pregnancies require fewer C-sections and epidurals, have shorter deliveries, and don’t request pain medication nearly as often.
Enjoy the Sunshine and Fresh Air
Spending some time outdoors is a great way to boost your mental health and mood. If you’re up to it, take a short walk in the sunshine and fresh air. Or, simply bring out a comfy chair, put your feet up, and relax for a little while. Of course, you’ll want to take precautions against sunburn if you’ll be out longer than 10 or 15 minutes.
Develop a Support System
Having a good support system during pregnancy is so important. Be sure to talk to your partner and those you are close to about the highs and lows you’re sure to experience. When you’re worried, talking it out with someone you trust can help you look at the problem from a new perspective and perhaps ease your mind.
If you don’t already have a good support system, consider signing up for a prenatal yoga class or joining a mom’s group to meet others at a similar stage in life.
Take a Break
There are going to be days where you feel like you need to just get away from everything for a little while. It’s perfectly ok to take a break and visit your local day spa for a little pampering. Have a manicure and pedicure or get a facial and bring along a friend for some extra girl time.
Put Yourself First
From the moment you find out you’re pregnant, everything and everyone around you will be focused on your baby’s impending arrival. That’s absolutely wonderful, but it can also be exhausting. Sometimes, you might need to put yourself first and do something that’s just for you. It will give you a chance to reset and lift your mood.
Try lunch with a friend or enjoy some retail therapy. Even better, head out of town with your partner for the weekend. It may be your last chance to be alone for a while.
Pay Attention to What Your Body is Telling You
Now is the time to learn to listen to your body’s signals. If your body says it’s time to take a break, do it. Lay down for a quick nap or pull up a chair and put your feet up. Don’t push yourself to keep going when you’re wiped out. That won’t do you or your baby any favors.
There will also be days when you feel energized and motivated, and it’s ok to take advantage of that. However, this isn’t the time to tackle major household projects. Focus on what’s really important and save the big stuff for after the baby is born. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if there’s something that’s really got to be done.
Get Some Exercise
If you’re feeling exhausted or a little down, you might not feel like working out, but you might be surprised to find how much it can energize you, lift your mood, and reduce stress. It also oxygenates the blood and improves circulation, which is great for your developing baby. Yoga, swimming, and walking are generally considered safe for moms-to-be but be sure to run it by your care provider first.
Knowledge Can Be Very Reassuring
You’re bound to have lots of questions, even if this isn’t your first baby. Every pregnancy is different! Have a running list of things you want to talk to your care provider about, so you don’t forget to bring them up during your next appointment.
Knowledge can really ease anxiety, so read lots of books and visit reputable websites to learn everything you can about pregnancy, birth, and caring for a newborn. It can also be very reassuring to talk to other women who already have children about what to expect.
Relax in a Warm Bath
Showers are great, but they’re often rushed. On the other hand, relaxing in a warm bath can be a spa-like getaway right at home. Just add some pregnancy-safe essential oils, bubble bath, soft music, and a few scented candles. Keep in mind that hot baths aren’t considered safe during pregnancy; keep the temperature comfortably warm.
Try Prenatal Yoga
Yoga is a wonderful way to calm the mind and reduce stress during any stage of life. During a prenatal yoga class, you will also learn relaxation techniques that be beneficial during labor and childbirth. And, the poses will help to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and ease pain in your lower back.
A Few Final Thoughts
Pregnancy can bring on a roller coaster of emotions, from extreme anxiety to overwhelming joy… all in the span of the same few minutes. Allow yourself to rest and enjoy the experience. Before you know it, you’ll be a mom with a brand-new baby in your arms!