As much as the instagram “highlight reel” would love to leave you with the belief that pregnant women have endless bliss, and nothing else on their minds but decorating the nursery and organizing their little ones closet, it just is not the real you may feel more irritable, weepy, anxious, angry and agitated at times. When you are stressed your body has an increase in Cortisol (the stress hormone) and goes into fight or flight mode. In fight or flight mode your heart rate increases, your blood pressure goes up and your body prepares to “run” or “fight” by sending extra energy to your muscles. This response is normal and perfectly fine if you can bring yourself back to baseline, but if the stress is chronic and ongoing, it can create ongoing health problems. For many Mama’s, pregnancy can be filled with anxieties and stress. If you are pregnant you have more than likely experienced some form of stress, either mild or major. There are so many variables to consider when it comes to our pregnancy journeys. It is important to remember that everyone’s situation is different and even within your own pregnancies you will likely have different pregnancy experiences.
Different Kinds of Stress:
There are multiple levels of stress to consider, ranging from mild stress to traumatic events. Experts have suggested that mild stress can actually be a positive, when it is handled effectively. It can give you a burst of energy to get certain things accomplished, all while letting you develop tools to manage that stress. An example of this kind of stress is meeting deadlines at work. Major stresses can include things not in your control such as natural disasters, catastrophic events, relationship issues, death in the family, etc. These stressors, if not managed can lead to problems both in pregnancy and postpartum for Mama and Baby. It is definitely difficult to categorize what is a mild stressor and what is a major stressor, as it is all relative to Mama’s personal experience. Other stressor’s that can commonly be experienced during pregnancy are: The fear of miscarriage, worry about birth and caring for a baby, managing discomforts of pregnancy, maternity leave logistics, and unordinary life events. An important thing to remember is that if the stress is on-going, it is really important to seek help in managing it.
Tips for Managing Stress
Rest Adequate rest and relaxation is going to be very important for you and your developing baby. Sleep also helps to bring down the stress hormones and allows you to manage your emotions more readily. This may mean turning down extra invites or activities as needed or it may mean using up that extra vacation time you have built up at work so you can care for yourself.
Regular exercise Pregnancy appropriate exercise is highly recommended. Exercise increases your endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling in your body. It also helps to distract you from what is stressing you out, and gives your mind a “break”. Not to mention it is fantastic for your over-all health. Prenatal Yoga or prenatal specific exercise and walking are good choices.
Identify your Triggers What is stressing you out? Why is it stressing you out? Can you avoid certain situations, people or activities that will trigger your anxiety? Saying no to people can be so liberating! You need to protect yourself, and knowing what is at the root of your stress and anxiety can be so helpful.
Find your Support System Who do you turn to for support, lean into them. It may be your partner, friends, family or it could be your counsellor, health care provider, or Mama Coach! Find like-minded people to surround yourself with that you can rely on to help you out. Sometimes just knowing there is someone you can talk to that will listen can make a huge difference. You are not alone, and it is important to talk about what is stressing you out. Reach out to your physician, it is important that he or she is aware of how you are feeling, as it can have physical affects on you, and there are ways to help you manage if needed.
Educate yourself Knowledge is Power. When we know what to expect we can be prepared, and then anxiety tends to be lower. Please reach out Mama’s, we are here for you! Sign up for a prenatal class so you are prepared and know what to expect through your third trimester, labour, delivery, immediate postpartum period for Mama and Baby and how to feed and care for your newborn. Sign up for one of our Prenatal Classes and have your Mama Coach’s support until your baby is born.
If you are looking for support through your pregnancy please contact your local Mama Coach, we are here to help make motherhood easier! You are never alone Mama.