Stress and pregnancy can be a difficult combination to manage. You might have some stress because you’re anxious about the pregnancy or birth, or the stress might relate to other changes in your life. Dealing with stress is important for your health and your baby.
Once you recognize it, stress can be managed quite well.
When you manage stress, your pregnancy is likely to be a more positive experience. Also, managing stress can help you and your baby avoid some of the harmful effects of stress, such as higher risk of health problems.
Managing stress in pregnancy is also important because there are likely to be new stresses after the birth, including a lack of sleep and adjusting to looking after a newborn. So it can help if you have other life stresses under control and stress management strategies in place already. If the birth was difficult or there were complications, you might need some extra supports.
Here are some tips for managing stress during pregnancy.
Health and lifestyle
• Do some light physical activity or exercise, such as walking.
• Try yoga, meditation or relaxation classes.
• Try to rest where you can and avoid booking in too many activities. It’s OK to lie on the couch, take a break and slow things down.
• Do some activities that distract or engage you, such as reading a magazine or book, watching your favourite TV show, baking, painting or something else you enjoy.
• Try to take pressure off yourself to be perfect. Accept that you’re doing the best you can. Try not to worry if things aren’t quite the way you want them to be
• Say ‘yes’ to practical help during pregnancy and after your baby is born.
It can be tricky to fit some of these suggestions into your life if you have other children to care for, but even short periods of rest, relaxation and exercise time can help.
Dr. Monique Robinson. Stress and pregnancy. Raising Children Network. 2014; [cited 2014 Nov 12]; [1 screen]. Available at URL: http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/stress_and_pregnancy.html/context/1546