They say that healthy mamas make healthy babies which is why it is essential for a pregnant woman to take care of her physical as well as emotional health. While pregnancy is a beautiful phase, it also comes with tons of stress, and if she is not careful, it can easily take a toll on her physical health too. Focusing on reducing stress during these nine months can help a woman enjoy her pregnancy even more, which is why we shared five tips on how to reduce stress during this period.
Why mental health is essential during pregnancy
While mental health is vital to everyone, it is even more critical during pregnancy. This is because extreme or prolonged periods of stress expose your baby to the risk of premature birth and low birth weight.
1. Identify what is stressing you
The primary way to deal with a problem is by identifying its cause. While it all starts in the brain, keep in mind that it is usually triggered by something. Maybe it’s because your clothes no longer fit due to weight gain, perhaps it’s because you can no longer do what you used to pre-pregnancy, the fear of childbirth, physical discomforts that come with the pregnancy package or emotional mood swings triggered by hormonal changes and many other culprits. Whatever the cause is, identify it beforehand then try out the things shown below.
2. Talk it out
We are born with the desire to communicate and socialize with others as it helps us create a connection with the world, and brings us comfort. Once you identify what’s eating you up, try and let it out by talking to someone. It could be your other half, your mother or close friend. Besides enabling you to ease your pain, talking it out and being honest helps you get solutions. For instance, if it is the case of your job stressing you out, talking it out with your spouse enables the two of you to come up with a solution for that as you can stop working until you are ready to do so again.
3. Release it through exercise
Another way to release endorphins is by sweating it out. Exercising boosts blood movement in the brain, hence calming down over excited neurotransmitters, which usually cause stress. However, you don’t have to go hard on yourself, a simple 20 minutes’ walk is enough exercise, plus seeing plants, hearing birds and other sights and sounds within your surroundings helps take your mind off any stress causing factors, leaving you refreshed. Also try fun activities such as swimming as they also help you exercise. If you are at work, try simple exercises like stretching your arms, neck and back to let it out.
4. Let your mind be active
It all starts in the mind, and as such, you should also tackle it from here. While talking it out and exercising helps, if you don’t want to sweat it out or let it out through talking then try exercising your mind instead. You can do so by indulging in activities which help you release endorphins such as
- Deep breathing exercises
- Massage therapy
- Yoga and meditation.
To make such activities even more effective, incorporate essential oils because, besides their delightful aromas, they also interact with your brain in a way that promotes healing and relaxation, thus kicking out stress. So, in order to maximize on essential oils during yoga or deep breathing exercise to relieve stress, check out essential oil diffuser reviews, to get a diffuser that suits you best.
5. Rest! Rest! And more rest!
Even to an average person, sleep is crucial as it helps your body replenish its energy reserves and promotes healing. It also allows your brain to rest, facilitating better blood circulation which is also beneficial as it helps release endorphins. Nine months is quite a short time to develop another whole human being which is why when you are pregnant, your body demands more rest than usual so as to accommodate the numerous changes that take place during this period. You also get tired quickly, a factor that causes you to be easily irritable and stressed. Getting eight hours of sleep and naps in between the day will help you cope with stress during this period as it allows your brain to restore neurotransmitters that usually get worn-out when you are awake.
Bonus point: Make a healthy diet your priority
Eating and drinking well are good for your physical and mental health. Studies show that some foods, help balance out chemicals in your brain, ensuring that everything works as it should, keeping you at bay. For instance, omega-3 fatty acids help reduce depression. Fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, contain nutrients which boost the hormones associated with better moods such as melatonin and serotonin. Therefore, ensure you take a balanced out diet to help ease stress. Also take lots of water to keep you hydrated, as dehydration has been directly linked to increased levels of the stress hormone known as cortisol.