Feeling stressed during pregnancy is completely normal – your body is changing and your hormones are all over the place due to some pretty seismic life shits about to happen. So if you are reading this at the point of overload just know that you are not alone.
It’s widely known that you should avoid smoking and drinking and certain foods when it comes to taking care of your health during pregnancy but there is also a wealth of evidence to suggest that managing your stress is just as important to lower the risk of future health problems for you and your baby.
Although babies don’t consciously feel the effects of stress until after 24 weeks, the developing foetus and pregnancy itself can be affected. Excessive stress in the first trimester can lead to a premature birth and affect the developing brain at any stage.
When we are under pressure, the body produces the stress hormone cortisol. Whilst a certain amount of cortisol is actually important for our normal functioning and helping us deal with stressful situations, as with anything in life there needs to be a balance, especially when it comes to hormones and pregnancy. Here are five simple but effective things you can do to help keep those hormones and stress levels under control when you’re expecting…
With the wealth of mum and baby classes to attend, books to read and new apps to try, being mindful can become another thing on your already busy schedule. Meditation can be just as easy as breathing, though. When you feel your stress levels rising, just take a moment to fill your lungs for a count of five and then release the breath for a count of five. It really helps to re-centre and re-balance.
The power of oils
It’s important to make sure you are using an oil blend that has developed specifically for pregnancy – click here to view the range. Aromatherapy can help you to achieve calm in stressful situations. Add a few drops to a vaporiser for a calming and relaxing atmosphere around your home or carry a bottle in your bag on your commute. Waft the scent under your nose to give you an instant mood and energy boost and combat morning sickness.
Rest rest rest
It can be hard to get a good night’s sleep during pregnancy, but it’s imperative for mental health and it also supports a healthy pregnancy and hormone regulation. Having a bedtime ritual can help you drift off. Start with a few drops of the Routine in the Womb Pure Essential Oil, a warm bath, a good book, and a hot drink.
Nature is your friend
Take inspiration from one of this year’s biggest wellness trends, forest bathing, and get outside in nature. The practice is inspired by the Japanese therapy ‘shinrin-yoku’: a form of meditation in the natural world based on the biophilia hypothesis. Even just taking a short walk along the river or in your local park will have a huge impact on your stress levels instantly and help you handle things with a clearer mind.
Utilising support networks
Last but certainly not least, having a support network is one of the best things you can do for yourself during your pregnancy. Talking about what is worrying you can help to put things into perspective. Meet other mums at the same stage of pregnancy as you at an antenatal or exercise class. We can guarantee that some of them will be feeling the same things and may even be able to advise you on what has been working for them.
If your stress levels have risen to the point where you feel overwhelmed though, speak to your midwife or GP. They would rather hear the smallest of worries than for you to suffer in silence which is not good for mum or baby. These medical professions have been trained in all things pregnancy so will be more than able to provide you with advice and coping strategies.