Pregnancy in itself is stressful but excessive stress during pregnancy is linked to child’s development of some physical and mental disorders at birth or later on in life. New research suggests that extreme stress during the first trimester of pregnancy can have harmful effects on baby’s mental health. Schizophrenia, low birth weight, and other birth complications are attributed to stress during pregnancy.
While it is difficult or even impossible to eliminate stress for nine months straight, you can always limit your exposure to stress and lessen your body’s response to stress.
Take a time out – Accept the fact that while you currently can handle pretty well the demanding lifestyle and busy schedules, you may not be able to sustain it as pregnancy progresses. Thus, cut back on task and allow yourself to relax, sleep and rest. The most crucial period in pregnancy is during the first trimester. So if you can, take a leave from work the moment you know that you are pregnant or at least, be conscious of your physical and emotional limits.
Cut down on stressors – Work, chores and other daily tasks should be limited, if possible. Relationships in conflict can create unnecessary stress and must be cut down as well.
Take care of yourself – Stress can put tremendous pressure on your health and your health can increase your stress levels. While everyone is advised to get enough sleep everyday, stay physically active, and get good nutrition, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is especially important during pregnancy. Seek doctor’s help if you want to be guided with the right ways of caring for the self.
Do not overdo things – Expecting mothers worry too much about the color of the baby’s room, preparations for the baby shower, and other stuff that should be bought before the baby arrives. Preparations and anticipation can create a lot of stress. Try not to think too much of perfection. Set specific and realizable goals when preparing for motherhood.
Don’t worry about things you cannot control – Accept that you cannot do something about the weather, traffic, crowd, etc. So instead of worrying about them, which is totally unnecessary, work your way around in order to get the best out of each situation that is beyond your control. For example, read a book when it is raining or do not drive around town during rush hour.
Entertain only positive thoughts – While stress is not as simple as a state of mind, you can cut significant level of stress when you choose to be positive.