In recent years, conversations that regard mental health have been on the increase. However, the majority of individuals will prefer to suffer in silence rather than share on issues they are struggling with. All over the world, people are growing aware of the problem and are starting to take up action. The Royals, Prince William, and Harry, together with their wives, are an excellent example. In early 2019, they launched a text line that would help those struggling with depression and other mental health-related issues. When in a crisis and need someone to talk to, it comes in handy.
This also applies to pregnant women. For them, it’s twice the risk involved because when struggling with anxiety-related problems, the baby is also in danger. The good news is that there are numerous resources they can use to get better. Not only is there an abundance of knowledge but also items that keep women comfortable. Take, for instance, postpartum pads, they may seem like a trivial issue, but without them, it would get so uncomfortable after birth, causing anxiety.
Several factors would cause stress during pregnancy. Factors that may cause chronic stress, feelings of depression, and anxiety during pregnancy are associated with:
- Unwanted pregnancies – not every childbirth is planned.
- Uncertainties (prenatal period related concern) – the chance that not everything might go as you hope, or the dangers that surround us, can be overwhelming for some mothers.
- External factors – we have very little control over nature. Events such as hurricanes, terror attacks, and earthquakes.
- Life happenings such as losing a loved one, illness, divorce, etc.
There’s a long list of reasons for depression and stress during pregnancy. However, the steps one takes towards getting better are taken into consideration. Note, the impact of maternal stress during pregnancy is most devastating on the fetus when the stress is left unchecked. Here are 8 ways of how to reduce stress during pregnancy.
1. Early Detection of Stress During Pregnancy
Among the factors that increase mental health cases in today’s society is a late diagnosis. Many individuals don’t know when to get help, while some prefer to suffer in silence. Well, timely detection is valuable because it guarantees diagnosis and treatment at an early stage, which speeds up the healing process. Soon-to-be mothers are no exception; they need to be aware of the symptoms of stress. Knowing the signs to look out for is a critical part of the process, and there are classes they can take to help with that. They will also get to learn what is the stress test during pregnancy. Such knowledge will be quite invaluable. Like any other illness, early detection of depression and other mental health problems helps speed up the healing process because then the damage is not that destructive.
2. Create a Support System
The gestation period is one that women should never be alone. That is why having a support system in place is crucial. Surround yourself with people you can trust to help you even after the delivery period with raising the baby. Talk with your partner, relatives, and close friends. There are many ways they can help, which include:
- ? Talking to alleviate feelings of anxiety.
- ? Accepting their help with handling daily chores – they may not do all the work instead of you, but they can free much of your time.
- ? Getting to appointments.
Talking with other women in a similar situation or who have been there also helps. Your medical practitioner can tell you what the best probiotics you can use during motherhood and offer information about community groups that you can join for support.
3. Stay Healthy
Invest in a healthy diet, have light exercise and meditation routines. They not only help you to be physically fit but also mentally and emotionally balanced. Having such programs incorporated into your daytime is an excellent way of how to reduce stress during pregnancy. Various studies done have shown that combining both exercise and meditation helps reduce anxiety while also positively influencing brain development. Both of them are lifelong skills that require consistency and will be advantageous even after delivery. Don’t forget to include sufficient rest and needed sleep as they will also keep you in shape while alleviating your anxiety.
4. It’s All Temporary!
The discomforts during and after delivery are a passing cloud. They may cause stress during pregnancy, but remember that all goes. Instead, find ways of coping. Know that everything you’re feeling is temporary! Talk to your doctor about the discomforts you’re experiencing; they will offer a guide for you to get through.
Over past years, life coaches have taught us ways we can trick the brain into believing and doing what we want. Take, for instance, Mel Robbins and her, 5 Second Rule that helps one accomplish tasks from the moment they wake up. She also speaks on how the brain is wired to protect us and the steps we can take to making it believe what we want it to. Expectant mothers can use the same tricks to ease discomfort.
5. Excessive Participating Causes Depression and Stress During Pregnancy
Accept that you cannot perform your duties as you previously did. When expecting a child, it will be useful to cut back on some activities. Focus only on the necessary stuff, the things that you cannot delegate. If you are employed, be sure to talk with your employer about your duties, especially when they are physically and mentally demanding.
You have to limit some activities regardless of how simple they may seem. Anxiety is never planned, and one can never know where it comes from and, therefore, deal with the source appropriately. Instead, let others help you eliminate your strain. The delegation will be a key skill during the period.
6. Stay Away from Anxiety Causers
All expectant women know to stay away from alcohol and other drugs that may harm them or the baby. The same principle needs to be applied to the causes of stress during pregnancy. Well, if some activity, person, food, or thing causes you to feel depressed or anxious — stay away from them for the sake of your well-being. Some depression causers you should stay away from are: overworking, people who cause you discomfort, uncomfortable surroundings, some foods, and violence, among others.
7. Develop an Anxiety Management Program
Create a way that you can manage depression not just when being pregnant but also in your maternal years. Stress during pregnancy is manageable with a monitoring system in place. Most people think that anxiety goes away after delivery, but the truth is that it only gets worse. A good program makes the detection and handling of any future anxiety easier. You can have a program that helps you adopt manageable ways of coping with stress. For instance, your program can focus on foods, exercise and meditation routines for distressing, steps of handling strenuous moments, and so on.
8. Think Positive
You don’t have to harbor negative emotions, whatever the reason or circumstance. Positive thinking has immense power. During the pregnancy period, women will undergo beautiful changes. A positive attitude is critical for women to focus on new moments. Anxiety and other negative feelings take a toll on the emotional, physical, and mental well-being of an expectant mother. Staying optimistic will come in handy throughout the period.
Stress during pregnancy can cause severe damage, but it’s also manageable. Women don’t have to suffer in silence anymore. They say sharing is caring and that a problem shared is half solved. Well, getting to share your worries with your trust circle can help with overcoming challenging situations. So, what are some ways that you have adopted or the one that worked for you to aid in reducing stress during pregnancy?
Beatrice Callan is a psychiatrist with over five years’ experience. When not in the office, she provides home care services. She’s a health and fitness enthusiast and believer in holistic living. In her free time, she writes blogs on how to live life to the fullest. She’s also a meditation and exercise lover.