14 Vital Tips to Cope with Stress During Pregnancy
In today’s day and age, we have come far away from what ancient texts describe. According to Ayurveda, the most important time for a woman is when she is creating a miracle. It is a unique process. She needs extra support, a calm atmosphere, and caring people around her.
From the first moment you see a plus sign on the stick, to the first smile of your new born, it is a very special and memorable journey designed only for you to experience. So sit back and enjoy!
Common Stress Points:
There are many factors which create anxiety and worries during a woman’s pregnancy. But always remembering that, you create your own world, and you are powerful to make the right choices, is most important.
Ayurveda emphasizes on preparing a woman mentally and physically to have a jovial pregnancy and avoid complications in delivery. Furthermore, as your little one grows month-by-month, challenges of an ever-changing body and hormones increases. To cope with all these changes, you need support of friends and family. Addressing these desires and the mothers growing needs is crucial. Surrounding her with a caring and loving atmosphere is imperative to a positive experience.
However, in the current days, we think twice. To be parents, we also have to be prepared financially, have healthcare choices to make: doctor v/s midwife; natural v/s induced labor. Playing catch up with all of the current information and new eye-catching products in the market increases our stress level.
To fulfill all these needs we jump out of bed to drive miles and kilometers to reach our work place. When there, we go through office work, mental pressure, and the peer pressure of not filling into a Hollywood pregnancy body. We indulge in gossip and eat whatever we can get our hands on, drive back tired, all the while neglecting a proper timely diet, then watch a whole lot of TV and hop into bed.
As a result we complain about gaining unnecessary weight, pregnancy diabetes as a result, increased water retention, the list goes on. When issues spring up later in our kids’ lives, we talk about how our kids do not listen to us, how they have a mind of their own and how they experiment at a younger age.
Implications of Stress:
Ayurveda explains that every thought created through a pregnancy is also absorbed by the baby. The thoughts we create in our mind manifests into reality sooner or later. Therefore, we have to take responsibility of neglecting our state of being in the NOW.
For instance, a farmer checks the quality of seeds before sowing. The quality of seeds is important to get a healthy and nutritious crop. Similarly, what we create as thoughts in our mind is reflecting a spot light on our future. This is why we need to make sure to take responsibility for what we do in the now, as it manifests into reality. Our thoughts, before and after conception, plays a very vital role.
Pregnancy is a fascinating journey and includes all kinds of changes. Rather than getting our mind in the habit of being stuck in gathering materialistic requirements, we all need to enjoy!
How to Cope with Stress:
Noted below are some simple yet effective ways that you can understand and manage the stress as they emerge:
1) Take Control: Choose to be powerful and make up your mind to take suggestions from your loved ones. But remember; only YOU have the right to determine how you feel about your pregnancy and how to cope with it. Other than your medical care provider and their suggestions, only YOU and YOU alone are the best person to know what your needs are. Never let anyone take you on a storyline of how it is culturally or pass comments to make you feel guilty about your choices. Practice saying “no.”
2) Wake up Calmly: Make sure to wake up in a gentle way instead of jumping out of the bed. Remember, there is tiny one growing within you who is not yet used to alarm sounds amidst the deep cozy space within your belly.
Science has proof that our uterus and the amniotic fluid reduce external noise less than 10 decibels and the baby will not hear it much. But, if you wake up suddenly, your heart beats faster and shocks you and your little one. A pregnant body is pumping twice the amount of blood than normal. So waking up like you did before you got pregnant is not advised for your body and your little one. It is a much healthier practice to wake up calmly, as you will need that training as you get bigger. Just remember, it is better to go in 5-10 mins late to work, as nine-months is not reflection of your entire career.
Having just five extra minutes to sit up on the bed before you start your morning actually calms your mind for an entire day. Sometimes, we take ourselves seriously than others do. I found that hurrying or worrying does not take us back in time. No one ever gave me noble prize for being tensed and stressed to reach a certain place.
3) Relax your Mind: It has been shown by many researchers that by learning to elevate a state of deep physical rest on command, both your body and your mind benefits in more ways than one. Feeling light and relaxed are the right paths to having a calm baby. Heart rate, blood pressure, stress hormone levels, and muscle tension will drop. The mind experiences a remarkable change achieving a deep state of meditation. Sleep gets natural and easier and your perception of stress changes drastically. This is called the Relaxation Response. Such techniques can be learnt through meditation and prenatal yoga. It is the best investment you can make for your health and your progressing pregnancy. Benefits of learning these techniques and yoga will show results when you have a calm baby in your arms.
As a yoga instructor, I taught until the end of my eight month. I enjoyed all the benefits of meditation. I do not recall a single night where I have been woken up in my sleep by the baby’s kicks. This was usual in my previous pregnancy and I credit it to yoga and meditation. Yoga helps to increase your intuition and to stick to choices you make. Try deep-breathing exercises, yoga, or stretching. Start regular exercises such as swimming or walking.
Find a nearby yoga studio or prenatal yoga practitioner. You will be thankful you did it.
4) Maintain a Diary: Get in the habit of writing. The process of specifically identifying thoughts and feelings and putting them into written form is an excellent way in getting to know yourself and what you are experiencing. It helps to resolve any kind of feelings that are troublesome. You can be your own healer! Talk to yourself. Make sure not to get into a critical and judgmental mode of mind. Just being an observer will bring out all kinds of issues and you will experience discomfort on a physical, as well as emotional level. Staying less critical and judgmental of yourself will give you better insight of yourself and will often relieve the pain of previously disturbing thoughts or feelings. Talk to yourself and let go of unwanted issues, those of which you cannot control.
Check and validate your emotions. This process is called “cognitive restructuring.” Our own behavior and thoughts are reflected from those with whom we deal with in the world. Often, we make negative assumptions about ourselves based on another’s response or reaction and hopelessly feel bad about interactions we have had about ourselves. This process of negative thinking occurs spontaneously and can often be overwhelming. But, if you can begin to identify these repetitive negative thoughts and write them down to make sure you have a clear understanding of them, you can then begin the process of checking what thoughts you create and determine whether your thoughts or the emotions it evokes are reasonable. Whenever you get one of these types of thoughts, instead of seeing what caused it, focus on how you it can be solved. Ask yourself if spending energy on the issue is worth the time rather than focusing on your little one’s growth. This will train your mind to break the cycle of automatic negative feelings sparked by common events in your life.
For instance, brooding over bad weather is an external issue you have no control over. Small things matter when you are creating a miracle. Keep in mind your baby listens to everything. During my ultrasound, I found my son holding his toe, which was hilarious, because for that entire month for every yoga class I taught, we were working on vashistasana where you hold your toe.
5) Pack your Tiffin with Goodies: Make sure you carry something healthy. If you cannot cook, eat raw. Eat things which are not boxed or packaged. Aside from bananas, there is a whole selection of other things you can eat. Raw nuts, hemp seeds for calcium, cacao nibs to increase your iron, avocado for folic acid, etc. Remember to snack throughout your day because during your pregnancy, the body needs more nutritious food than any suggested food pyramid. Remember, healthy food is a healthy mind and body. However, craving is a kind of deficiency. Write down what you feel like eating for a whole week, then find out the common substance you are craving. If it is sugar, add more fruits in your diet, if it is fat, add more nuts in your diet.
I had an alkaline diet and as a result, did not have water retention. Luckily I did not have any swelling throughout. However, you cannot live on lettuce. Adding dark leafy greens and all kinds of juicy fruits and vegetables will aid into a healthy baby. You will experience no constipation, no significant weight gain and a decrease in sugar craving. Again, make sure to consult your physician if you have any individual issues.
6) Stop Abusing your Senses: News channels make money by scaring people. If you look back 5 years from today, today’s news is similar to what happened years ago. It will also remain the same even after 10 years. Remember, what you consume your baby does, too. Avoid television as much as possible. Also, if a coworker is complaining or gossiping, remember that you have many things of your own to consider than to dwell on others’ lives. Have a positive outlook for yourself and your life. Pregnancy is already a lot on the body. Unnecessary and unwanted exposure of eyes and ears results on our own physical and emotional wellbeing.
7) Be Comfortable with your Body: It is okay to be pregnant. It is not a disease. People have done this for generations and generations without all the chemicals found in pills. Use herbal remedies as much as you can and get a million blood test and urine test. As a friendly reminder, sometimes, clinics do it to get paid from the insurance. You can always opt out of this test, if you think it is not necessary. People love scaring moms, as they are vulnerable during their pregnancy. Our emotional bank is overly generous at even the smallest things. Don’t compare yourself to anyone. You are less likely to have a random disease just because it runs in your family or because one of your ancestors had it. Chances of you having it are zero. When compared, you don’t have their eating habits and you don’t live like they did. No form can conclude a few diseases without proof of how your ancestor lived.
Having a beautiful baby starts at your thoughts. Even if the pregnancy was not your choice, just giving all your genuine energy from your mind, body and spirit brings out a beautiful baby. Imagine a healthy baby and focus on deep breathing, practice guided meditation. Your body will change back to normal if you show all the love you can.
8) Enjoy every moment: From small kicks to small heart beats, to even your dreams waiting for the little one. Instead of feeding your mind with how you look, accept the fact that the body changes before you can fit back into your normal clothes. Accept who you are in the now, it is best possible way to enjoy your new body. Show love to your physical changes and enjoy trying a new maternity collection, temporarily. More curves to dress up!
Nature has given us a body to go through motherhood in its natural process. Instead of consuming our mind on how to get back in shape, enjoy your precious little one. Make sure you have enough nourishment and rest. Eat healthy! Your body will get back to its shape naturally.
9) Slow Down: Get sloppy and lazy on Chores. Take a back seat and use that time to put your feet up, nap, or read a book. Take advantage of vacations and use up sick days. Spending a day — or even an afternoon — resting at home will help you get through a tough week. Making money paying the mortgage, doing your laundry, or cleaning your dishes can wait. Our mind has gotten into the habit of looking for reasons to be miserable. We are almost addicted to pain and sadness. We have gone to the extent of watching emotional serials on television to feel miserable for characters on television, if we have nothing in our life.
10) Stop being a Hero: This includes work pressure. This is not the right time to compete with your colleague for the next project. If you feel overwhelmed with work, ask your boss to pass your work to someone else. Work with a minimum schedule keeping in mind your current capacity. Taking up a new project can wait. This is not the time to go on guilt trips or expect to work 110% for that promotion. Professions such as law, medicine, and corporate life often make demands that are simply impossible for a pregnant woman to fulfill. Have an open discussion with your boss about what you can and cannot reasonably do and make adjustments accordingly.
Communicating with your employer can resolve a lot of stress. Your employer wants you to work as long as you can into your pregnancy and sometimes bosses know how it is to go through a pregnancy along with a work schedule. Many times, you yourself know when you are most productive. Talking about this to your boss, you will have a much better chance of working things out than getting frustrated or hating your work. This way, you will be able to contribute more to your organization than by following your former rigid schedule. It is okay if you want to work from home when you are wide awake at night and don’t know what to do. So let your needs be known to your employer.
11) Talk to Nature: Please enjoy walks in nature. Nature has the capacity to take away depression or stress. If you have a partner, loved ones or friends, enjoys walks with them.
Talk about all your worries. This gives you a relief and takes worries out of your mind. Only nature can clean your mind of thoughts which are useless.
12) Sleep more! Sleep whenever your body needs and wants, including your office desk. Just a 5 minute cat nap is not a big deal! Ultimately, it is about you and your health. Your body is working overtime to nourish your growing baby and needs.
13) Enjoy time with your partner: Sometimes women are self-absorbed in many things that we don’t care to know how the man feels. Be sensitive to the concerns and anxieties your spouse might have, especially if this is your first pregnancy. They are already going through the entire emotional ridealong with you. In addition to their own financial concern, which most men have, biologically their mind is to protect and provide the needs and necessities of the nest.
Men can surprise you! Keep lines of communication open with those you love, especially your spouse. Your spouse, parents, and friends, unless they are currently pregnant themselves, will not know exactly what you are experiencing and cannot anticipate what your wants and needs will be. Let them know. Tell them how you are feeling and how they can help.
14) Collect Data: Gathering all information about the process of labor is fine, but don’t stand on a thin line of fearing what could happen to you. This creates anxiety and fear. Focus instead on how you are feeling and what’s happening to you now. Stop your trips on google. You will have a different outlook towards your mother without google. Join a group and only hangout with people who enjoy your company and make you laugh, instead of those who whine. Don’t compare! Life is unique. You cannot be a parent without some discomfort. Limit “information overload.” Reading pregnancy books, surfing pregnancy Websites, and listening to your friends’ pregnancy stories are fine, but don’t brood on all the scary things that might (but probably won’t) happen during your pregnancy. Make slowing down a priority, and get used to the idea of asking your friends and loved ones for help.
Life brings great experience so be sure to have open arms to hug every moment. Take a million pictures and you will definitely love the journey.
Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.