5 Ways to Reduce Stress During Pregnancy

By The Bump Editors

 Image via: lifemartini.com

Image via: lifemartini.com

It’s easy to get stressed out during pregnancy; you’re growing a human being and preparing to raise it to adulthood, after all! But too much stress can be especially detrimental during pregnancy, contributing to eczema and asthma in baby.

So what’s a mom-to-be to do? We’ve rounded up expert tips for combatting stress.

1. Get More Sleep

You know intuitively that more sleep equals less stress, but here’s some scientific backup to help you justify the need for sleep. “Sleeping allows your brain to restore neurotransmitters that can become depleted during wake times,” explains Keith Eddleman, MD, director of obstetrics at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.  Also, he says trying to stay awake when you’re tired — and fighting the urge to nod off — is a drain on the parasympathetic nervous system, which normally helps the body deal with stresses. Yeah, we know sleep is easier said than done, especially in the third trimester when you’re really uncomfortable. But here are a few tricks: Keep your thermostat set to the low 60s, don’t eat anything for two hours before bedtime and try a body pillow, which can easily adjust to help you find a comfy position.

2. Open Up To Your Boss

We know you want to be the star employee while you’re pregnant, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an honest talk with your boss about what’s going on with you and your pregnancy. If commuting is stressful, you may ask if it’s possible for you to work from home a day or two a week. Your doctor should also be aware of any job requirements that are stressing you out, for example if you’re on your feet all day or you’re working extremely long hours.

3. Get Acupuncture

Not only can acupuncture be safe during pregnancy, it can be relaxing. Okay, stay with us here. This may seem out-there, new-agey for you but researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine found the practice reduces symptoms of depression in pregnant women compared with women who received “fake” acupuncture (they didn’t target the correct acupuncture points in the body) or even massage. “Acupuncture has been used during pregnancy for other indications and there are no known effects on the developing baby,” Eddleman adds. In other words: It’s probably worth it to give it a go. But look for someone who’s certified through The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and make sure they have experience in working with pregnant women.

4. Get Things Done

Nesting for baby can set even the most organized mom-to-be into a total meltdown. Our best advice? Start at the top of your to-do list and work your way down. Feel good about each task you complete. But have the mentality that if everything doesn’t get done, everything will be okay. “You need to figure out which type of person you are,” says Lindsey Longerot, MD, ob-gyn at The Women’s Specialists of Houston at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. She adds the nesting instinct can have different effects on women. “Some find it stressful and feel they have to clean the whole house, then feel daunted trying to accomplish such a task. That’s one of those times when I’d encourage you to reach out to one of your friends or family members for help.”

5. Go Swimming

Throw on that maternity tankini because swimming can be a major relief, since your body will feel so much lighter in the water. Talk about less stress! Not only that, swimming is a total body exercise. You can also try running, power walking or even doing resistance training in the pool to stay fit.