Image by London Serenity
By Hailey, Contributing Writer
There are many ways to remain in a good frame of mind during pregnancy. While your body is rapidly changing, as well as your life, your hormones can seem to have a life of their own. Many women figure out by their second and third babies their own “simple tricks” to de-stress. It is so important to take care of yourself during pregnancy as it sets the stage for motherhood.
I took a poll and asked moms just like you what their coping mechanisms were. They shared simple self-care habits as a means to prevent stress and anxiety from creeping in. These mamas claim that if you make sure self-care is a top priority, these simple tricks can keep you positive as you await your baby.
1. MASSAGE THERAPY
My good friend out in California, who specializes in pregnancy massage is a long-time doula, childbirth educator, and yoga instructor. She shares that bodywork during pregnancy can “relieve common pregnancy pain, decrease edema, stimulate the endocrine system, and provide stress relief”. If you are suffering with lower back pain, sciatica, hip tension, carpal tunnel syndrome and headaches, or you are having poor circulation, frequent swelling, poor immune system, unbalanced hormones, or need emotional stability, pregnancy massage may be just what your body needs!
One mom wrote, “I got a massage and a chiropractic adjustment every during my pregnancy! I feel because of those two things I was able to work on my feet all day as a hairstylist until I reached 39 weeks.”
2. WARM BUBBLE BATH
Besides the soothing warmth of the water on your body, bath time is restful and relaxing. Give yourself a good amount of time in the bath to unwind, close your eyes, and… nothing. Don’t think about anything! Many moms share that this is their prayer time or time to talk with their little one inside. Use this time to nourish your body and your spirit!
One mom wrote, “I devoted many nights to just relaxing in a bubble bath, in the dark with candles multiple times a week just to connect with my baby. I would talk to him and tell him about the day and how happy he makes us already.
Another mom shared, “I took a lot of warm baths. Prayer and rest was exactly what I needed during that time.”
A first time-mom wrote, “So far, hot showers are a must. Sometimes I just sit and let the water hit my back or my stomach.”
Sometimes journaling your thoughts can be a healthy way to process changes. Many mothers have admitted that writing out any pregnancy-related fears actually helped to get rid of them. The worst thing you can do about an anxious thought is keep it harbored inside.
One mom wrote, “I kept a journal my entire pregnancy… started writing in it a few days after I found out we were expecting. I wrote Hale letters multiple times a week about what life had been like, his movements, midwife appointments, how he was measuring, how I was feeling.”
Another mom shared, “I write to my little peanut every once in a while and that helps. Praying is definitely a must!”
Oxytocin is probably most well-known for stimulating labor and milk production in nursing mothers. It is also released by men and women at orgasm. In addition, being “in the mood” helps your health more than you know. Sex can actually lower your stress and your blood pressure.
Sex also helps to boost your immune system, improves heart health, provides deeper intimacy with your partner, creates stronger pelvic floor muscles, and provides better sleep. Oxytocin, the love/labor hormone, is produced during sex. This hormone is essential for a natural birth as it boosts your body’s natural painkillers (endorphins). If you are struggling with achy joint paint or have frequent headaches, having sex make just do the trick for you!
It turns out that sex along with an emotional/loving connection provides a much stronger and longer response of oxytocin than does sex alone. More touching and kissing during lovemaking also makes the effect stronger. **This is why kissing/touching during the early stages of labor is encouraged so much.
One mom simply state that her two main de-stressing activities are “hot baths and sex!”
5. ASK FOR HELP
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can only do so much all by yourself, superwoman! The worst thing you can do is push yourself over the limit to where you are grumpy, miserable, and not creating a healthy environment for your baby. You may need to ask for help with making a meal. Or you may even just need to ask someone to watch your kids for an hour or two. A quiet house for a 1-hour peaceful nap can make the world of a difference.
One mom said, “Schedule time to get out, even if it’s only once a week. A walk, coffee with girlfriends, a quiet meal, yoga class. Whatever brings you’re a little inner peace so you can regroup and refresh.”
Another mom wrote, “Sometimes I just needed a good laugh. I would get together with a friend and purposely pick out the silliest movie in the theater just so I could laugh a lot.”
These simple self-care habits can help maintain a healthy mental state during pregnancy. They are sure to keep mama, baby and everyone else very happy!