HOW TO MANAGE STRESS AND ANXIETY DURING PREGNANCY
Newly married Teniola and her husband planned to wait two years before having kids and this was because they needed to save more in other to make proper arrangements for their arrival but nine months after their wedding Teniola discovered she was pregnant. ‘It’ just nine months’ Teniola screamed ‘i still have fifteen months to go’. Don’t get Teniola wrong, it didn’t mean she was unhappy about the news; it just came unplanned.
Twenty weeks into the pregnancy, Teniola knew something was wrong because her heart rate was faster than usual. She began to worry about a lot of things like being a good mum to her baby, the labour experience, pain and every twinge she felt became a major concern for her.
Teniola was having pregnancy stress and anxiety and was put on bed rest and vitamins by her doctor. The truth is stress during pregnancy is more than just an inconvenience; it is actually unhealthy for the mother and the unborn baby. Research has shown that one in eight babies born prematurely, is as a result of stress.
Although It’s normal to be a bit stressed about the changes that are happening in your life and to your body during pregnancy, it is also important to note that when you are stressed day in, day out then seeing a doctor is important.
Stressed moms are also more vulnerable to developing postnatal depression. While continuous stress and anxiety can affect your baby because the stress hormone cortisol can cross the placenta and influence the building blocks of your baby’s emotional development.
But not to worry, being stressed doesn’t mean you can’t have a healthy baby. It is only necessary to manage it properly.
If you are looking for ways to reduce stress and anxiety during pregnancy here are five positive steps to take:
- Surround Yourself With People who Love and Support You: They could be your family members or very close friends. Ask them to help out with things that increase your stress level; it could be house chores, or you just ask them to stay around so you don’t feel lonely.
- Take Good Care of Yourself: Eat well, avoid alcohol, don’t take medications not prescribed by the doctor, sleep well and do moderate exercise.
- Focus on Your Baby: Communicate with your baby; sing to her/him, chat and laugh. Fact is from the 23rd week, your baby begins to hear you and this helps you bond.
- Talk to a Midwife or Another Mother: Talking about what you are going through can help as well. It even creates room for other people to share their experiences with you and how they dealt with it.
- Finally, Prepare for Birth and Family.