I am pregnant and I am stressed. I know I need to do something about it, because my stress is affecting my baby. Taking time to relax during pregnancy is as important as good diet. So I’ve carved out some time and looked into:
A how is stress affecting me and my baby – to motivate myself to find time to relax regularly
B what are pregnancy friendly relaxation methods
Here’s results of my thinking about and researching effects of stress in pregnancy, as well as ways to relax during pregnancy.
Why you should find time to relax during pregnancy
There’s so many things pregnant women are told to do or not to do. Finding time to relax is one of the more pleasant things pregnant women should do. Relaxing is nice, but there’s a few good reasons why it’s not a luxury, but a necessity, just like eating healthy food.
long term stress affects unborn babies’ IQ, weakens immune system and may lead to food intolerances – this is what I’ve learnt from BBC’s fascinating series Countdown to Life – The Extraordinary Making of You (available on iPlayer until end of October)
teeth and gums are particularly vulnerable during pregnancy (I wrote about this here); when we are stressed we involuntarily clench our teeth during sleep, which can cause pain and actually pushes the teeth back in
some studies suggest that babies of stressed mothers may have more health problems or be more likely to be bullied at school; NHS has detailed articles dissecting these reports (former, latter), worth a read if you have some time
How to relax during pregnancy
Regardless of your mobility, how pregnant you are and how much time you have to spare there is a relaxation technique for you. When I was pregnant with Little F I was fit. I cycled until the end of 1st trimester and had regular sessions of pilates and yoga. I also found time for naps. Now that I have a toddler I have far less time. I am also not as mobile, because of an issue with sacroiliac joint (it’s a joint between pelvis and spine, mine tends to painfully pop out because pregnancy hormones are turning my joints into jelly). We also don’t have a bath, so a warm soak is not an option.
Here’s what I can do to relax:
take a nap, while my toddler sleeps
put on relaxing music (or sounds of nature or waves), get myself comfortable, close my eyes, breath deep and for 10 minutes try to empty my mind (thoughts come but I let them float by) – sounds simple, but it’s very effective
have a guided meditation session; there’s plenty to choose from on youtube; it’s a very personal choice what works for you, I’m still on the look out for my favourite
write 750-words without controlling what I write – free-writing; it’s great to clear my mind and get ideas going for the blog
If you’d like to know more about benefits of some of these relaxation methods read my more in-depth post here.
Tai Chi and Qigong are also great, because of their low impact postures, but you need to find a good teacher to choose the right postures for you while pregnant.
Other ways to relax during pregnancy
Of course you don’t have to do any of the above. If the best way for your to relax is to read a good book, watch a box-set or have a good old chat with your friend, than this is what you should do. The key is to find something relaxing and do it on regular basis to keep your stress levels under wraps.
What is/was your favourite way of relaxing during pregnancy? I’d love to hear from you so do leave me a comment or get in touch via social media.