Blessed and Stressed: 5 Techniques to Manage Stress During Pregnancy
A few months back, we received a happy, sort of planned surprise. We were pregnant with baby number 3! The family was and still is very excited. The two older munchkins are happy to have another sibling and constantly ask to listen to my belly and talk to the growing baby.
My next step was denial. Maybe I'm not stressed. So, how do they test for stress levels in pregnancy? I started reading articles and academic papers that outlined stress indicators and they all tested via questionnaires. So I found a questionnaire and went through it. The description of how to analyze my results was confusing, so I just resolved to that fact that I am stressed, no need to test any further.
My next move was researching causes, perhaps, what I was worried about was not one of the serious stressors for pregnancy? It was. One paper described three basic causes; biological, psychological and environmental. Basically, anything can get grouped under one of those three categories. I didn't want to focus on the causes, though, I knew I was stressed and if the title, "Blessed and Stressed," caught your attention, you probably know the cause of your stress too.
So check, to stress and check to acknowledgment of the scary outcomes. Let's move on to treatments and management of the stress to minimize those scary outcomes. Thankfully there seems to be a lot of options and ideas out there and none really conflict with each other, so if one doesn't work, try another or try all five.
When consistently practiced, meditation and being mindful has been effective in lessening stress during pregnancy.
- Breath-In through the nose and out through the nose.
- Observe and Name what you are doing in this moment.
- Let everything else go: If you are having difficulties with this, try to release the tension in your body, starting at your toes and working your way up to your head, releasing all the tension in your physical body, part by part. www.psychologytoday.com
2. We are the THINKER of the thoughts, NOT the thoughts
According to Deepak Chopra, we need to realize we can change our thoughts, that our thoughts do not control us, we control them. So when you mind starts to go to the place where stress starts to happen. Acknowledge that you are thinking this thought and therefore can stop the thought. Deepak Chopra
3. NLP Tool-Stop Technique
A quick synopsis by Joseph McCledon III, I like this one, because I can do it anywhere at any time, like when I wake up in the middle of the night thinking something negative, I go through this Stop Technique and I am able to fall back asleep. You can also check out this link for a more information. www.mindbodygreen.com
- Feel & Experience the negative thought.
- Interrupt the pattern: this is predetermined. I pinch myself.
- Replace the feeling with something great: predetermine this. A moment when you laugh or smile at your kid for example
- Celebrate that you won against the negative thought.
Getting the blood pumping always changes your state of mind. It increases endorphins and is often referred to as meditation in motion. Mayo Clinic Always check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program especially during pregnancy.
5. Nutrition: Good nutrition is essential during pregnancy for you and your baby. When you're stressed eating the right foods can help reduce stress or at the very least not increase it. Cutting back on processed foods with additives of chemicals, food coloring and high fructose corn syrup is a great place to start. If you don't feel like reading labels, simplify by only eating real whole food. Fruits, vegetables, protein etc. and if possible Organic. There are some foods that actually elevate your moods like Bananas! www.thehealthsite.com
As with most things, the more you practice these techniques the easier they will be. Soon negative thoughts will be replaced with positive thoughts and your stress will lessen. Learning how to manage stress in your life, not just during pregnancy is an essential skill. Practice it, Master it and pass it on the your kids.