How to manage stress during pregnancy: 4 tips from a gynecologist

Pregnancy is a time when a woman goes through multiple changes in her life. These changes are not only physical, but also emotional and psychological. Entering a new phase of life can come with its set of apprehensions and fears about the uncertain. This can cause stress. Considering that pregnancy can cause you to experience every imaginable feeling in a deeper way, stress can hit mothers-to-be hard as well. It is important that you know how to manage stress during pregnancy.

Women may experience stress related to the baby, their bodies, preparing for the baby, life changes, or anything else. Even if these feelings are common, persistent or extreme stress during pregnancy is bad for both you and your unborn baby, says Dr. Aruna Kalra, senior obstetrician-gynecologist at CK Birla Hospital.

There are multiple side effects of stress during pregnancy. “Continuous high levels of stress can actually exacerbate pregnancy-related symptoms (like difficulty sleeping, body aches, etc.), as well as worsen more serious conditions like depression, weight problems (either gaining too much or not enough), and even high blood pressure”, adds the expert.

Pregnancy can cause a whirlwind of emotions. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Tips for managing stress during pregnancy

According to Dr. Kalra, here are some stress management techniques for pregnant women.

1. Pay attention to your breathing

Breathing patterns can be significantly affected by stress. As a result, your breathing may become shallower and shorter, which will reduce the amount of oxygen in your body. As a result of your body reacting to oxygen shortage through this shallow breathing, your stress levels can increase. Yes, it’s a vicious cycle, but you can break free by meditating and paying attention to your breath.

To breathe well during pregnancy, sit or lie down, close your eyes, and take at least five deep breaths whenever you start to feel agitated. Pay attention to the rise and fall of your chest as you breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to relax while you breathe and let your worry go away.

2. Get plenty of sleep to reduce stress

When you don’t get enough sleep, you quickly lose energy in both your body and mind. Stress can result from this, as it can produce more unpleasant feelings and thoughts.

Taking a nap at some point during the day is recommended if you have trouble sleeping at night. Your body and mind can relax even with a short 20-minute nap.

Also read: What is the best position for a good night’s sleep during pregnancy? An OB-GYN tells you everything

sleep during pregnancy
Get enough sleep during pregnancy. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Stretch for quick relief

Your muscles can tighten and contract as a result of hormones released during times of stress. During pregnancy, stretching is an excellent technique to combat this tightness and reduce tension.

Take a few minutes during your busy day to stretch your neck, back, arms, and legs if you notice yourself getting tense or agitated. By turning your head so that your left ear is closer to your left shoulder, you can stretch your neck. Hold this pose for 20 seconds, stopping when you feel a stretch. Be sure to take deep breaths to help relax your muscles.

4. Drink mint tea

If you’re trying to manage stress during pregnancy, try this! Menthol, an ingredient found in peppermint leaves, has calming and muscle-relaxing properties. Additionally, peppermint relieves bloating and gastrointestinal problems, such as nausea and vomiting. A safe and all-natural technique to reduce stress during pregnancy is to drink peppermint tea. To combat stress and stomach problems wherever you are, keep a few mint tea bags in your bag.

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