Learn How to Reduce Stress During Pregnancy
By Contributing Author, Ainsley Lawrence
Pregnancy is an amazing experience, but it can also be a difficult and stressful time.
Bodily changes, an influx of hormones, and a lot of lifestyle changes go into having a healthy and happy pregnancy. While it’s always good to practice natural choices in staying healthy, it’s extra beneficial during pregnancy when your health is also affecting the baby.
Though many tips for having a natural and healthy pregnancy may seem obvious, it’s often easier said than done. Things like sleep, exercise, healthy eating, natural alternatives, and relaxation are all beneficial even if you’re not pregnant, but during pregnancy it may make things a lot easier on your body and your mind.
Natural choices are often better for the body, and they tend to be the only choices when you’re pregnant and unable to utilize any alternatives.
Sleep When You Need It
It’s almost humorous to suggest to pregnant moms that one great natural tip to have a healthy pregnancy is to sleep when you need it. It might feel like you need sleep all the time, which is not plausible for many moms. However, it is one of the best ways to ensure you have a healthy pregnancy.
Growing a baby is hard, and it can cause extreme exhaustion.
Sometimes, even when you are able to squeeze in a nap between work and life, it’s hard to fall asleep because sleeping while pregnant is so uncomfortable for some. Just remember, sleep as much as you are able when you feel like you need it. If sleep is hard, try some sleep tips:
- Drink tea: Pregnancy tea can aid with sleep naturally, which is a big help when you’re tired but sleep isn’t so easy.
- Buy a pregnancy pillow: Finding a comfortable position to sleep might be hard, and a pregnancy pillow might make it easier.
- Pee before bed: If your much needed sleep is interrupted by your bladder, be sure you pee before bed time or napping.
- Buy a new mattress: Sometimes the cause of getting fewer winks during the night is your mattress itself. Waking up with aches and pains, not being able to sleep through the night, and a noisy bed are all indicators that it’s probably time to replace your mattress.
Find an Exercise that Works for You
Pregnancy is hard on the body in many ways, and it can feel like a marathon. One way to make things easier on the body throughout pregnancy is to exercise. This doesn’t have to mean a high-impact or difficult daily workout, especially if you didn’t do that before pregnancy. It just means finding an exercise that works for your body now.
Not only does exercise keep your body healthy by moving more, it’s also a holistic way to keep your weight down, improve your mood, and decrease your risk of postpartum depression. It even helps with sleep. If you’re trying to find an exercise that works for you, try:
- Prenatal yoga
Each option is low-impact and easier on the body than many alternatives, though each body and fitness level is different.
Focus on Eating Healthy Foods
Natural foods are a lot better than processed foods for everyone, but it can be especially beneficial for pregnant women looking to have a healthy pregnancy. It’s often tempting to eat unhealthy food, especially when cravings kick in, but the body operates best with foods that are good for you.
Focus on fruits, veggies, protein, and water — while avoiding the foods that are unsafe in pregnancy, like raw meats or fish high in mercury. If you want to eat well but you are on a budget, remember to eat what’s in season, make meal plans so you’re not wasting food, and to buy what you can in bulk. Eating better foods that are less processed improves your energy, your gut health, and your cholesterol.
Research Natural Alternatives
Being pregnant means you have to follow a whole new set of rules. This means you can’t use many medications, clean with certain cleaning products, or use certain beauty products. This is why it’s good to research natural alternatives to many products you’re used to using while you’re pregnant.
Being pregnant doesn’t mean you have to suffer through a cold, it just means searching for a natural alternative instead, which may lead to a healthier pregnancy.
For example, those with chronic pain may try cloves as a natural pain reliever — though it’s always best to check with your doctor first. Replace your cleaning chemicals with natural alternatives, try baths and tea when you’re sick, and look for natural alternatives to problematic beauty products.
Work on Relaxation Techniques
A healthy pregnancy isn’t just about having a healthy body, it’s also about having a healthy mind. Pregnancy might feel stressful and scary, so it’s important to pay attention to your mental health. Even after pregnancy, postpartum depression is very serious. Thankfully, sleeping, eating well, and exercising often do wonders for your ability to relax and beat the stress. If you’re looking for other natural ways to reduce stress, try a few things to see what works best for you:
- Meditation: Meditation teaches relaxing breathing techniques and mindfulness which free the mind and relax the body.
- Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy uses essential oils as a natural way to relax the body. Just be sure to talk to your doctor beforehand as some oils aren’t tested for safety during pregnancy.
- Massage: Massage is a natural way to allow you to relax while also easing your body of any aches and pains.
- Journaling: Sometimes just writing down your feelings, keeping a gratitude journal, or writing to your baby will help you relax when pregnancy gets stressful.
- Counseling: If you’re having a lot of issues being able to relax, a counselor is a great tool for you to learn some relaxation techniques that may positively impact your mental health.
Pregnancy can be hard, but there are plenty of ways to get through it in a healthy and natural way by making holistic decisions whenever you are able. This means choosing light exercise over sitting too often, or eating fruit when you’re craving sugar instead of eating another processed cookie.
The key is to listen to your body, and to prioritize natural choices when possible. It’s not just about keeping your body healthy, but keeping your baby’s body healthy as well. It’s also about your mind, and making sure you’re in a positive headspace through your pregnancy experience.
Make natural choices whenever you can, and you will be on the right path to have a healthy and happy pregnancy.