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Tips for Managing Stress in Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can also be a stressful time for many people. Many changes, both physical and emotional, take place in pregnancy and with change often comes stress. It is natural to worry when major life changes occur. Some stress is reasonable and can even be useful, but there is a risk that the stress can become overwhelming. Managing stress in pregnancy is an important part of your prenatal care.

Issues That May Cause Stress

There are many layers of possible stress during pregnancy and it is perfectly reasonable for you to worry about some of the issues that come with pregnancy. Some of the things that may cause you stress include:

  • results of antenatal testing
  • normal physical changes that are unexpected
  • worry about miscarriage or the health and wellbeing of your baby
  • the financial impact of a baby
  • changes within your relationship as a result of the pregnancy
  • possible changes to your living arrangements
  • fear of labour and birth.

It is natural to feel worried about some or all of the above mentioned issues, the key is managing that stress.

The Impact of Stress

Stress can influence your behaviour in ways that are not helpful for you and your baby. For example, it may impact the quality of sleep you are getting. It may leave you feeling jumpy and restless or on edge, or it could increase your heart rate or breathing rates. While these physical responses to stress will not seriously impact or harm your baby, symptoms of stress can leave you depleted, and therefore more at risk of health problems.

Tips for Managing Stress

There are things that you can do to help manage your stress levels and will help you feel better over all. You could try these suggestions:

  • Do some light physical activity such as walking. This will help clear your head, and as well as easing stress, walking has excellent physical benefits also. Doing this in green space such as a park or nature reserve will further increase the benefits.
  • Give yourself plenty of down time. Getting adequate rest is essential in pregnancy and if you are well rested you can better manage intrusive stressful thought patterns.
  • Consider taking a yoga or meditation class, or if funds or travel are an issue try using an app for these. There are plenty of free meditation and yoga apps that offer programs to help manage day to day stresses.
  • Accept practical help, both at work and at home.
  • Spend time face-to-face with people that make you feel good. Feeling connected to those you care about will help you worry less.

Getting Help

It’s important to seek professional help if you feel your stress levels are out of control and are affecting your health. See your GP, or access the following support services:

PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia) – phone 1300 726 306

Beyond Blue – phone 1300 224 636

Lifeline – phone 131 114

 

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