Naturopath Stephanie Hamilton offers some helpful suggestions to help you stay calm and relaxed during pregnancy.
Pregnancy might not always be blissful, relaxing and dreamy. Most often the stresses of life don’t just disappear once we discover we are pregnant. In some women the stress actually increases as they juggle normal life and the future changes.
The elation and joy of discovering you are pregnant for the first, second, third, fourth or more times can quickly be overshadowed by the demands of everyday life.
The housework still needs to be done. Other children, often toddlers, still need to be fed, entertained, calmed and nurtured.
Financially you may need to work a lot more than you feel you want to. You might have to move into a larger living space to accommodate your new arrival. You need to go to house inspections, visit solicitors, organise appointments, pack and move home all before you enter the “waddle stage”, or at least before your due date.
You may be feeling unwell and experiencing restless nights sleeps.
You may be feeling like an outright nervous wreck! Isn’t pregnancy supposed to be “slower” and more about me? Aren’t I supposed to be sitting in a meadow of chamomile flowers, draped in white silk, holding my belly and dreaming of my baby? Aren’t I at least supposed to be glowing?
Modern life sometimes doesn’t allow these fantasies to become reality; however we continually see pictures of relaxed and calm pregnant women in the media. Making the comparison can make us even more stressed.
Stress during pregnancy can have significant impacts on your overall wellbeing. Much-needed sleep can be affected, energy levels plummet, and your blood pressure may rise. Other common pregnancy symptoms may worsen such as heart burn, muscle cramps, fatigue, carbohydrate cravings and morning sickness.
Furthermore, as your body deals with the impact of stress, you will use up many crucial nutrients needed for the growth of your baby.
Calm and nurture
- Avoid refined sugar Choose complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, whole grains, and legumes over refined grains and pasta Eat protein with every meal and snack: lean meats and poultry, fresh cooked seafood, hummus, eggs, nuts and seeds, yoghurt Eat regularly Avoid caffeine completely (includes black and green tea) Ensure you are eating a variety of fresh, colourful vegetables and fruits
- Prescribe yourself regular intervals of peace. This may mean simply stepping outside the house and sitting on the doorstep for 5 minutes taking a few deep breaths before going back inside, or spending a whole day on your own one or more times a week. Set a time to stop all work and household duties, with anything that didn't get done placed on a list to do tomorrow. Set aside at least an hour of wind-down time at night. Keep things in perspective and prioritise. Ask yourself the following:
- Is a spotless bathroom going to make a difference to the wellbeing of you and your baby?
- Is everything on your To Do List absolutely crucial?
- Can you let go of the things that are not necessary and focus only on the things that are going to benefit your health?
- Is how you are feeling now the way you imagined your pregnancy to be like?
- What can you change?
- Who can you ask for a helping hand?
- Surround yourself with people you love and people who always have your best interests at heart. Understand and realise the importance of self-nurture during pregnancy. Feeling drained and overwhelmed is often a sign that you are taking on too much and not honoring your basic needs. Take a moment to listen to what your body is telling you and take action immediately to make whatever it is happen: have some time on your own, take a day off to do nothing but sleep, eat a nutritious meal, call your friends. Take a relaxing Epsom salt bath and light some candles. Get a pregnancy massage whenever you can. Click here for wonderful relaxation and meditation techniques.
Safe anti-stress natural remedies
- Pregnancy multivitamin/mineral including B vitamins and fish oil Calcium Magnesium Relaxing herbal teas containing passionflower, oats and chamomile (organic where possible) Flower Essences
To get specific advice on other effective and safe stress-relieving medicines see your naturopath privately.