Are you counting down the days in your calendar? Feeling frustrated with the challenge of finding a comfortable position? Getting a little upset that your favorite jeans don’t fit the same anymore?
If you said yes to any of these, chances are you're feeling a tad bit stressed out.
One thing to remember is that you’re not alone. There are billions of other mothers and mothers-to-be going through the motions, similar to you.
Even though stress during pregnancy is completely normal (and common), it can get in the way of a lot of things. Not only is it an inconvenience and a mood-killer, but it’s also unhealthy for you and your baby.
Let’s talk about it …
We know that there are some very obvious stressors that rise to the surface when expecting a child:
- The common discomforts that arise during different stages of your pregnancy, such as abdominal pain, heartburn, cramping, frequent urination, and fatigue.
- Trying to prepare for a healthy pregnancy and balancing your very own pregnancy diet throughout the journey
- The fear of delivering your baby and going through labor
- Navigating through physical transitions as you go through body changes
Even if you’re the most excited you can possibly be now that you’re pregnant, you’ll still find yourself getting stressed, just like the majority of mothers out there. Too much stress can take a toll on your wellbeing, and also your baby.
Symptoms of Stress During Pregnancy
You may be used to feeling stressed in your normal everyday life. Things like your day job, your relationships, paying the bills, and just simple daily tasks may have already exposed you to the effects of stress.
The stress that comes from a pregnancy may be somewhat of a new territory, however. You may not know what it looks like and how to spot the signs that would indicate you’re feeling stressed.
Your body will experience physical and chemical changes when you undergo stress, whether you’re pregnant or not.
To help you pinpoint these changes, here are some common symptoms of stress during pregnancy:
- An increase of cortisol levels
- Heart rate increases, or more severely, heart palpitations
- The tendency to grind your teeth together
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Excessive fatigue and exhaustion
- Headaches and backaches
- Feeling worried, anxious, and sporadic
- Lack of social drive, not wanting to be around others
- Dependency on others around you and avoiding being alone
Effects of Stress During Pregnancy
You’re going through many changes during this time -- Your family, your body, and your emotions are all changing. You may be the type of person who embraces all these changes that come your way. On the flip side, these changes may trigger some of your emotions and add stress to your life.
High levels of stress can actually affect you if it continues for a long time. It may lead to health problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
In relation to your pregnancy, high stress levels can increase the chances of having a premature baby or giving birth to a low-birthweight baby. If your baby if born too soon or too underweight, they are at great risk of developing health problems down the line.
Additionally, if you tend to get very overwhelmed by stress and fail to treat it, you may resort to dangerous ways to deal with the stress. Falling back on excessive drinking, smoking marijuana, and unhealthy eating tend to be coping mechanisms for many pregnant women.
Too much stress can lead to anxiety and depression, which affects your mental health and wellbeing. The most important part is for you to have a positive mindset during your pregnancy journey so that you can embrace every moment and enjoy every milestone that you encounter.
Tips For Dealing With Stress During Pregnancy
To ease your mind once again, stress during pregnancy is completely normal and common! Experiencing stress during this time isn’t a problem -- That is, if you deal with it appropriately and find ways to manage it.
Now, take a breathe and brush up on some ways to manage your stress:
- Have a support system: You may feel alone in this since you are the sole person carrying your child. But remember that you have friends and family members around you who love and support you. Having people around you who are there to lend a helping hand, or are just there for you to talk to will make all the difference. Remember, it takes a village to raise a child.
- Sit back and relax: You need to learn when it’s time for you to take a step back from all your tasks and responsibilities, and just get your zen on. Taking the time to treat your mental health is extremely important. Meditating, exercising, staying active, yoga, and just doing something you enjoy will get your energy up and keep you positive.
- Eat right: Fuel your body and fill up with healthy and energizing nutrients. Maintaining a healthy diet will have a huge impact on your mood and will help to fend off stress during your pregnancy.
- Stay positive and stay hopeful: Stop and smell the roses (or should we say, the babies). Remember that you are a powerful and strong woman growing a mini-you in your belly. Every time your mind begins to race with everything you need to do and all the challenges that come your way, take a moment to count your blessings and think about things that make you happy.