We made it!
This is the fourth post in the 4-part Stress in Your High-Risk Pregnancy series.
Up until now we’ve discussed the most important thing you need to know about stress during pregnancy you need to know about stress to, how stress affect your baby even in utero and what your doctor isn’t telling you about preterm birth.
Now we get to the final piece that will put it all together and help you have a healthier pregnancy and healthier baby.
Does this sound familiar?
Even before you got pregnant you knew you would do prenatal yoga every day and go for walks with other moms-to-be so you could stay active for your baby.
As soon as you saw the word “pregnant” on your pregnancy test, you knew now was the time to take good care of yourself. Sleep on time, eat healthy and stay stress free.
But then you were blindsided by your pregnancy complication.
The dynamic cervix, the preterm contractions, a leak in your amniotic sac, whatever your complication, it just came out of nowhere.
Suddenly, all of your plans went out the window and were replaced with hours on end of worrying and feeling helpless.
It left you feeling frozen in fear of what could happen to your baby.
Can you relate?
Here’s where moms diverge off the healthy pregnancy path
Stress and anxiety take over your mind, body and soul, even if you are completely committed to managing your stress and having a healthy pregnancy.
Though you planned to take a short walk or eat healthier, a twinge that’s a little too painful sends your mind into a tailspin, worrying if that’s the start of preterm labor.
You completely forget about the mindfulness app you were downloading and you trade in that time for another session with Dr. Google.
But you have far more control over the health of your pregnancy than you might initially realize. (Tweet that!)
What you need are strategies that are simple and easy to do, but are also powerful at helping you feel calmer, so you can override the waves of fear that come and go.
5 simple strategies to lower your stress when you want a healthy pregnancy but your mind is spinning
Tip #1: Laugh
Not just a smirk once in awhile or a polite chuckle to convince yourself and others you’re ok.
Aim for 3-4 belly aching laughs per day. If you need help, watch a hilarious Vine video, read some jokes or talk to your funniest friend.
Laughter lowers blood pressure, relieves muscle tension and improves your immune response to help you fight off infections, which is particularly important during pregnancy.
All of these benefits of laughter not only help you feel better but positively impact your baby’s physical, emotional and neurological development in the womb.
Tip #2: Find the colors of the rainbow
Whether you’re in the waiting room of your doctor’s office, on bed rest alone at home wishing you could shut off your brain, or at work unable to concentrate because you keep thinking about your “borderline” test result, you can do this simple but powerful exercise anywhere.
Look around you, wherever you are, and find one example of each color of the rainbow. After you try it once, repeat the exercise as many times as it takes until you feel your body relax.
Research has shown that this exercise relieves the part of your brain that burns out when your stress levels are high for an extended period of time.
Tip #3: Do a body scan
Your body is always telling you what’s going on and what it needs. At least 3-4 times per day, take 5 minutes to take a deep breath, close your eyes, and scan your body from head to toe.
How do you feel? Identify places where you feel aches or pains. Take note of how dry your mouth is. Notice where you feel tense.
Our bodies do not run on unlimited reserves and this is especially true when you are pregnant. (Tweet that!)
Pay attention to what your body is telling you and then give it what it needs to refuel, so you can continue to fight for your baby.
Tip #4: Take a trip down memory lane
Close your eyes and visualize your most favorite moment when you were blissfully happy. This could be a childhood memory, something from your teen years or an event that happened just yesterday.
Fully immerse yourself in that moment and remember how you felt, engaging all of your senses.
This will help you relax because your body will respond to your emotion of being happy.
Tip #5: Practice mindful breathing
Pay attention to your breath and how your body moves and changes in response to your inhales and exhales.
For deeper muscle relaxation, breathe out through your mouth for double the length of time you breathed in.
Bonus tip: Start small and schedule it in
With the uncertainties that come with a high-risk pregnancy, it’s important to set up some predictability to manage your anxiety.
Choose one of these five strategies to start with and put a reminder on your phone to do the exercise at the same time every day.
That way, no matter where you are - whether you’re in the waiting room of your doctor’s office, in the hospital after a scary night, or home alone when everyone else is at work - you don't have to remember one more thing to do.
Make stress management as easy as possible to give yourself the best chance at having a healthier pregnancy and healthier baby. (Tweet that!)
Every pregnancy and every mom is different.
If you’ve tried these strategies and you haven’t felt the relief you were hoping for, or you just want some more accountability to make sure you build stress management into your pregnancy plan, let’s talk.
The Labor of Love VIP Session is perfect for you to get a comprehensive, personalized plan to lower your risk of pregnancy complications and have a healthier pregnancy and give your baby a healthier start to life.
If you’re sick of generic advice and are ready for customized support to get you through your high-risk pregnancy with less anxiety and more hope, complete the Labor of Love VIP Session application and schedule a complimentary consultation today.
You don’t have to figure this out on your own. I’m here for you.
Which of these strategies will you try first? Have you tried any of them already? What was your experience like? Do you have any other strategies that you love?
Leave your comment below. I would love to hear from you!