This article is all about stress and pregnancy, what causes it and some simple tips to help you reduce it and have a stress free pregnancy.
Most of us experience varying levels of stress on a daily basis, when a woman is faced with coping with everyday stress and pregnancy.
In addition, she also has to come to terms with changes in her body and her emotions, together with how her pregnancy will affect her family, financial and work situation.
Managing Stress During Pregnancy
For many it can be difficult to adequately manage stress and pregnancy while remaining in control of situations that until now have been easy to cope with.
Although stress and pregnancy can add additional worry, stress does not have to be all bad and we all need a little bit of stress in order to perform well.
Learning to manage stress effectively provides us with the drive we need to meet new challenges.
For a pregnant woman coping with stress and pregnancy means understanding and embracing the changes, being prepared, taking good care of herself (inside and out), feeling energised rather than drained, not being afraid to ask for help and making the necessary adjustments, in order to continue functioning well at home and at work.
When stress and pregnancy does become a worry then physical or emotional stress builds up to uncomfortable levels and this can be dangerous.
In the short term, this can cause anxiety, headache, backache, fatigue, sleeplessness, or poor appetite.
Long term stress and pregnancy can contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, lowered resistance to infectious disease, and risk to the foetus.
Stress and Pregnancy – What can you expect?
Most pregnant women will experience nausea, frequent urination, swelling, backache and fatigue.
Hormonal changes may contribute to mood swings and there will be some anxiety about the health of her unborn child, her ability to cope with labour and birth, and her ability to be a good mother.
… And how can you cope?
The good news is that for most women stress is unlikely to cause problems in pregnancy.
A pregnant woman can cope with stress and pregnancy by:
* Recognizing that the symptoms are temporary
* Identify the personal and work-related sources of stress
* Eat a healthy diet and not skip meals
* Get plenty of sleep
* Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and drugs
* Take gentle regular exercise (with your doctors consent)
* Form a good support network
* Set aside some time every day to practise relaxation
Diet & Stress
It is necessary to understand the importance of a healthy diet, regular meals, the benefits of regular relaxation, and the other points mentioned in order to better cope with stress and pregnancy.
A good diet is essential not just for you, but also for the nutrition of your unborn baby.
Sources of stress relief
Many childbirth educators offer childbirth preparation classes that can help reduce stress during pregnancy and can advise on relaxation and staying healthy during pregnancy.
A good relaxation CD will not only prove useful to alleviate stress during pregnancy and make you feel better, but can also be very beneficial in preparing you to relax your mind and your muscles during labour and birth.
Women who are still concerned about coping with stress and pregnancy should talk with their GP or healthcare provider.
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