Ways to deal with stress during pregnancy

Ways to deal with stress during pregnancy

Pregnancy may bring stress to many first-time mothers-to-be or if you have a certain underlying health condition or if it was an IVF conception.

Backaches, sleep problems, breathlessness, morning sickness, fatigue etc. are common woes of pregnancy, worsened by the changing hormones. Planning for birth and how you will take care of the baby, restrictions on diet and activities can also add to the stress.
It would, however, please you to know that not all stress is detrimental to you or the pregnancy. Here are a few tips to deal with unnerving emotional issues and overcome stress during the precious 9 months.

Firstly, be aware of your worries and their causes. For this, you can use a journal to note down your daily thoughts and later, when you feel calm, figure out a solution.

★ Plan out time for yourself every day. Some peace and quiet time to yourself can help you disconnect from the stressors in the surroundings. It would help you arrange your thoughts for the next day as well. Use this time for some guided imagery. Many mental healthcare apps may be downloaded that have such relaxing and new-age techniques.

★ Another quick way to reduce stress is to use breathing techniques. They increase the blood oxygen which reduces stress. When stressed, sit straight or lie down and take at least 5 deep breaths. Observe the rhythm of your breathing. You’ll soon feel relaxed.

★ If you feel that your muscles are getting sore. A good way to deal with it is light stretching exercise. Gently stretch your hands, legs, and neck. Rotate your joints. Stretching releases endorphins that help you feel better. Unmotivated to stretch? Get some good massages. Massages can help with better blood flow and relaxation of muscles which combat stress.

★ You can also use an easy tense and relax exercise to feel better. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Take a few deep breaths to get started and continue breathing deeply as you progress. Tense the muscles in your feet for three seconds, then relax. Next, tense the muscles at the back of your lower leg (your calves), hold for a count of three, and then relax. Slowly move up your body tensing and relaxing each muscle group in turn.

★ If you are already doing the necessary exercises maybe it is time for you to get a good rest. Quick 20-30 min naps can help you feel better.

★ Stress can be due to pent-up feelings which need to be let out. Talk to your friends and family about what is bothering you. Express yourself and your mind will feel lighter. If you are unable to find a person to talk to, approach a counsellor.

★ Lastly, keep a positive attitude. Employ positive self-talk and self-compassion. Being kind to oneself is very important during this time. Understand that you are doing all you can and remember you have the support you need.

In case stress is still a persistent problem and is causing issues in the personal, professional or social life, seek therapeutic help. Professional help is recommended if you are going through any negative or traumatic life over an extended period. Do not shy away from taking help during this journey, remember that you aren’t alone.

Dr. Preeti Singh

Clinical Psychologist, Chief Medical Officer, Lissun - A Mental Health Startup

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