Pregnancy is a time when a woman goes through multiple changes in her life. These changes are not just physical, but emotional and psychological too. Entering a new phase of life can come with its set of apprehensions and fears about the uncertain. This can lead to stress. Considering that pregnancy can make you experience every conceivable feeling in a deeper way, stress can also hit expectant mothers hard. It is important that you know how to manage stress during pregnancy.
Women may experience stress related to the baby, their body, preparing for the baby’s arrival, life changes, or anything else. Even while these feelings are common, persistent or extreme stress during pregnancy is bad for both you and your unborn child, says Dr Aruna Kalra, senior gynaecologist and obstetrician at CK Birla Hospital.
There are multiple side effects of stress during pregnancy. “High levels of ongoing stress can actually exacerbate pregnancy-related symptoms (such as difficulty in sleeping, bodily aches, etc.), as well as worsen more serious conditions such as depression, troubles with weight (either gaining too much or not enough), and even high blood pressure,” adds the expert.
Tips to manage stress during pregnancy
According to Dr Kalra, here are some stress management techniques for pregnant women.
1. Pay attention to your breathing
Breathing patterns can be significantly impacted by stress. Your breathing may become shallower and shorter as a result, which will reduce the amount of oxygen in your body. As a result of your body reacting to the shortage of oxygen through this shallow breathing, your stress levels may increase. Yes, it’s a vicious cycle, but you can break free by meditating and paying attention to your breathing.
For breathing right during pregnancy, sit or lie down, close your eyes, and take at least five deep breaths whenever you begin to feel agitated. Pay attention to the rise and fall of your chest as you inhale with your nose and exhale through your mouth. Try to unwind while you breathe and let your worry melt away.
2. Get lots of sleep to reduce stress
When you don’t get enough sleep, you quickly lose energy in both your body and mind. Stress may result from this since it may produce more unpleasant feelings and thoughts.
You are advised to take a nap sometime during the day if you have trouble sleeping at night. Your body and mind may unwind with even a brief 20-minute power nap.
Also read: What’s the best position for a good night’s sleep during pregnancy? An ob-gyn tells you all about it
3. Stretch for quick relief
Your muscles may tense and constrict as a result of the hormones released during times of stress. During pregnancy, stretching is an excellent technique to combat this tightness and reduce tension.
Spend a few minutes during your busy day stretching your neck, back, arms, and legs if you notice that you are becoming tense or agitated. By turning your head so that your left ear is closer to your left shoulder, you can stretch your neck. Hold this posture for 20 seconds, pausing when you feel a stretch. Make sure to take deep breaths to aid in relaxing your muscles.
4. Drink peppermint tea
If you are trying to manage stress during pregnancy, try this! Menthol, an ingredient found in peppermint leaves, has calming and muscle-relaxing properties. Additionally, peppermint relieves bloating and gastrointestinal problems including nausea and vomiting. A safe, all-natural technique to reduce stress when pregnant is to sip peppermint tea. To combat stress and stomach issues wherever you are, have some peppermint tea bags in your handbag.