Many moms-to-be are balancing their careers while preparing their homes and lives for baby. They’re dealing with body and hormone changes, worrying about the future and so much more — and it’s stressful. Stress is inevitable but it can cause some serious issues for mom and baby. Learning how to manage stress while pregnant is critical.
“This is super, super important for mom because if mom gets stressed out, all that energy just surges through her,” says Dr. Corey, ND, health expert spokesperson for Better Health Store and a board certified Naturopathic Doctor at Thrive On Life in Brighton.
Baby feels all of mom’s stress, she says, and baby’s development can actually be impacted by it. Ultimately, a stressed mom equals a stressed baby. According to the March of Dimes, high levels of stress that continue for long periods of time can cause high blood pressure and heart disease in mom, and stress can increase the chance of baby’s premature birth and low birth weight.
If you can’t reduce your stressors, there are ways to cope with stressful situations in order to keep you and your baby calm during pregnancy and beyond. When it comes to managing stress during pregnancy, Dr. Corey offers advice.
Keeping it cool
Dr. Corey has a passion for practicing yoga, but it wasn’t always that way.
“I used to work out like crazy with my son,” she says. “I did tons of cardio and weight training.” However, when she was pregnant with her daughter, she shifted into yoga, which she says brings her heart joy.
For moms who want to try yoga, Dr. Corey suggests visiting Gaia.com where you can find yoga and meditation classes. Other apps, such as the Peloton app, also feature yoga and relaxation classes. Continue with a cardio and weight routine if you’ve done it throughout your pregnancy as exercise and movement can help to relieve stress.
For expectant moms who are working and find themselves feeling stressed out during their workday, there’s a simple practice to add in to calm down. It’s called square breathing, Dr. Corey notes, and it consists of breathing in for four seconds, holding the breath in for four seconds, exhaling for four seconds and holding the breath out for four seconds. Do this four times, she suggests.
Some people like to read a book or go for a walk in nature as a way to de-stress. “Get out in nature and get out in the sun as much as you can. Connecting with nature just calms the body,” she says.
Read daily positive affirmations — and read them out loud. “As we speak, so we become,” she says.
Other ways to de-stress include napping, listening to music and dancing, and even singing to yourself (and baby).
“Anything that brings a smile to your soul is really what you need to do,” she says. “Find that time to come back into it.”
If you’re prone to anxiety and restlessness, Dr. Corey suggests avoiding caffeine and sugar. Homeopathic coffea cruda, made from unroasted coffee beans, is something to try as a way to cancel out anxiety and restlessness. When you take it, your body calms down — the exact opposite impact of coffee — and it’s ideal for moms who are having trouble sleeping.
Dr. Corey adds that moms can supplement with magnesium in moderation, which also has a calming effect. Bach Original Flower Remedies help with emotional balance. Stop by the Better Health Store to pick up the Bach Rescue Remedy, which includes rock rose for fearlessness, cherry plum to help with composure, star-of-Bethlehem to help with comfort, clematis to help the mind to focus more and impatiens for patience.
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