Ten Ways To Reduce Stress During Pregnancy

Reduce stress during pregnancy with this list of pampering ideas to keep budding mommies relaxed.

Mothers, whether on their first time around or having their fourth and final child, all need to be able to relax. It is important to the health of both the mother her unborn because stress can lead to significant health risks. Reducing a pregnant mother's level of stress is not only her job, but is her partner's as well.

Friends and Family

While an abundance of overly eager, overly helpful group of friends and family could be annoying and defeat the purpose of relaxation, they are a great source to delegate some of the day to day tasks to. They're especially useful in the latter months when movement for the budding mother becomes a tad more difficult to manage. If there are a too many errands to run or the housework is backed up, be sure to inquire about their help. If you have other children and simply need a break from care giving, ask your friends and family for a break. Friends and family are almost as anxious as you are about seeing the new addition and want the baby to arrive as safely as possible, so they'll be more than happy to help out in whatever way they can.

Bubble Baths

Bubble baths become quite a chore toward the end of the third trimester, so take advantage as much as possible while you can. Select the soothing music of your choice, light a few candles, turn the lights down low, sprinkle your favorite bubble bath, oil, or bath salts into the tub, close your eyes, and enjoy the peaceful quiet of a long soak. There are only two things to be aware of while pregnant and bathing. The first is the temperature. Extremely hot baths can be dangerous to pregnant women because it can loosen interior tissues and relax the Kegal muscles in the extreme. That's not the kind of relaxation we're after. Secondly, if you've lost your mucous plug, sitting in water is also a medical no-no.



Leisure Time

Time spent doing enjoyable activities is truly beneficial for the mind as well as the body. Find a quiet space to do something you love. If you have an interest in art, writing, or reading, make time for it. Sketch something just for yourself. Write a story or poem. Curl up with a cup of cocoa and a good book. Rent a few movies, make some popcorn, and zone out in front of the screen. Just be sure to have a box of Kleenex handy for that odd hormonal imbalance shift. No matter what your interest is, indulge it.

Massages

As the pelvis expands to accommodate the baby and the back sways with the extra weight, muscles and joints become sore and stiff. One of the best ways to keep physically relaxed is to be massaged. Use an aromatheraphy oil blend to help influence the senses and ease the stress away. For partners: Careful consideration of her feet, legs, hips, and lower back is a must. If you're unaware of them, there are pressure points through out the body. Pick up a book at the local library or do a bit of research online to learn how to massage her. Playing soft music and talking in hushed tones, encouraging her to release the stress does work. However, don't feel offended if she falls asleep.

Exercise

Exercise has huge stress reducing qualities. Before doing anything too strenuous, be sure to consult your doctor, but some simple stretching exercises are a good place to start. Walking is another activity you can do in order to keep fit and reduce stress. Shortness of breath is pretty common among pregnant women, so if you feel like you've pushed yourself too far, take a rest then move at a slower pace. One more thing to keep in mind is that sex is an exertion as well. The good news is, sex doesn't stop at conception.

Planning

Don't allow yourself to be put on a stress spiral of depression because you're feeling overwhelmed with all the planning, medical care, and expenses to be taken care of. Organization, for both mother and partner, is the key to alleviating a lot of problematic situations. Remember that people are caught off guard and ill prepared for a baby every day all over the world and they manage to make it through without losing their sanity. Create a list of what needs to be done and a schedule of when it's absolutely necessary to be done by. If money is an issue, keep in contact with people who can help you make arrangements. If you are concerned about providing clothing, a crib, a stroller, a carseat, or other necessities for the baby, there are places to help and baby showers yet to come. Just breathe and confront each obstacle head on. Running away only increases problems.

Mini-Vacation

With the expenditures from having a baby, vacations are typically not feasible. However, you don't have to spend money to go on a short excursion. There are fun things to do all around you like going to a zoo, a museum, or a free concert. Here's a place to let your creativity flourish. A pretend bed and breakfast get away for you and your partner is a fabulous idea. Make the provisions a day or two in advance, so there's little to do but enjoy the goodies. Launder your sheets and leave special touches like mints on the pillows and the edges turned down, then stay in bed cuddling the entire morning long.

Sleep

Between the onset of morning sickness in the first trimester and the sore hips in the third comes an unwelcome guest: Sleep deprivation. A package of crackers on the bedside table to nibble on until the morning sickness passes is a good idea. A pillow positioned between knees and thighs will help keep your body aligned properly and aid in sleep. Try not to drink beverages in excessive amounts right before bed. It'll reduce your trips to the bathroom to a minimum. Also, take advantage of any spare time to nap. Even a little bit of sleep will help reduce your stress.

Nutrition

Water is highly important for more reasons than keeping your body hydrated. A common reason for headaches is a lack of water in the system. Your doctor should have prescribed vitamin supplements containing folic acid. The nutrients are important to decrease birth defects, but they're for you as well. The baby is tapping in on your resources, so maintaining a healthy diet is crucial. Be sure to reduce your intake of caffeine. If you're a coffee freak, no worries. A cup of java won't hurt, but not enough moderation is a bad thing. Believe it or not, there are stress reducing foods out there and they're all in the veggie and fruit section. So, be certain to consume the FDA recommended requirements.

Maternity/Paternity Leave

Usually, maternity leave is six weeks long and paternity is a minimum of two weeks, if your partner is lucky enough to have it as a part of their benefits package, that is. Companies are typically flexible about maternity leave and don't require you to take it only after the baby is born. If you need to take a couple weeks off before the baby is born, do so. The most trying period after giving birth is the first two weeks of adjustments. You'd still have a month of recuperation after giving birth to use. If your partner is able to take off time as well, the two of you could spend some time together and tidy up all the ends before the arrival of your baby. If not, use the time for some self-pampering.

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