How to manage stress during pregnancy
Pregnancy can be a very stressful time. For a healthy pregnancy journey, it might be useful to know a few tricks that help you manage stress.
Your brain comes hard-wired with an alarm system for your protection. In other words, when your brain perceives a threat, it signals your body to release a burst of hormones — such as cortisol and adrenaline — that increase your heart rate and blood pressure. This “fight-or-flight” response fuels you to deal with the threat and is perceived as stress.
To reduce that stress, you need to tell your body that there is nothing life-threatening to worry about — breathing and relaxing techniques are excellent at doing precisely that.
Here are some tips you can use to more effectively manage the stress:
Practice deep breathing: The ability to breathe deeply is a powerful weapon against stress and one of your body’s strongest self-healing mechanisms. When you breathe deeply, the air coming in through your nose fully fills your lungs, and you will notice that your lower belly rises. Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. This type of breathing also slows the heartbeat and can lower or stabilize blood pressure. When you first start, breathe deeply for 5 minutes. Gradually increase it until your deep breathing sessions are about 15 to 20 minutes long.
Use mindfulness meditation
Mindfulness meditation isn’t about letting your thoughts wander. But it isn’t about trying to empty your mind, either. Instead, the practice involves paying close attention to the present moment — especially our own thoughts, emotions, and sensations — whatever it is that’s happening. In other words, by trying to be fully present, you can practice mindfulness meditation wherever you are — and if where you are at that point is not dangerous, then your body should naturally be able to relax.
Prioritize: It’s important to focus on your priorities and make sure that your schedule isn’t too overwhelming. Don’t feel pressured to make plans for things that aren’t important. The most important things are you and Your Child.
Ask for help: You don’t have to do everything yourself. Be it your partner, family, or friends, most people are always more than happy to help you out when you ask for help.
Exercise: Your brain produces endorphins when you exercise. These chemicals serve to promote a feeling of happiness and can do a great deal towards relieving stress.
Dr. Wanwadee Sapmee Panyakat (OB-GYN) (9 February 2022)