Pregnancy can create physical and emotional stress even under normal circumstances. For birthmothers-to-be, pregnancy can add an extra layer of stress to an already-stressful life situation. If you have planned to give your baby up for adoption, you must take extra steps to combat this surplus of stress and preserve your wellness.
Once you know some effective basic strategies for reducing stress and reinforcing your ability to manage stress, you can optimize both your health and the health of your unborn child. Think about making the following healthy stress-busting strategies part of your prenatal routine.
Meditation can help you fight prenatal stress. This ancient mindfulness practice may also help you cope with related issues such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, and fatigue. It can even reduce your stress levels during labor by alleviating some of the fear you might feel when the time comes to deliver your baby.
You can consider meditation safe throughout your pregnancy unless you suffer from a serious psychiatric disorder, in which case you should consult your doctor first. Most meditation techniques involve mindfulness, or mental focus on a particular word, a feeling within your body, or simply the repetitive pattern of your breathing.
Meditation doesn’t necessarily require you to sit motionless. If you’d like to get some healthy exercise as you meditate, you can practice walking meditation that lets you focus on the steps you take. You can also practice progressive relaxation in which you tense and then release one part after another to achieve total relaxation.
Join a Prenatal Yoga Class
Yoga appears to offer many benefits for pregnant women, from stress management and pain relief to improved muscle strength and range of motion. Like meditation, yoga typically involves the use of slow, controlled breathing to center and calm yourself. It also includes gentle stretches, postures, and post-session relaxation techniques.
You can find classes and instructors that specialize in prenatal yoga, although certain other mainstream yoga techniques can also provide safe, healthy benefits. Avoid more extreme forms of yoga such as hot yoga, and check with your doctor before enrolling in any kind of yoga class just to play it safe.
Modify Your Work or School Habits
Your work or school life probably gave you all the stress you needed before you became pregnant. Now that you face the additional hurdle of pregnancy, you may need to back away from those daily stress triggers to some degree. This stress reduction strategy may force you to manage your work or study time more efficiently.
Paid maternity leave offers an obvious option for employees who receive this benefit. If you can’t take extended time off from work or school, identify your most productive times during the day and do your most difficult tasks at those times. You may then find that you can schedule personal relaxation time throughout the day.
Gets Lots of High-Quality Sleep
Your body requires plenty of sleep during pregnancy, not only for the baby’s sake but so your immune system can better resist the effects of stress. Pregnant women should aim for nine hours of sleep instead of the seven to eight hours commonly recommended for the general population.
If you don’t normally get this much sleep, you may need to prime yourself for it. Start by avoiding caffeine and relaxing your body and mind at least two hours before bedtime. In addition to the mediation practice noted above, try wearing glasses that block blue light—a frequency range that tends to trigger wakefulness—that comes from screens.
Postural discomfort can sabotage your quest for restful sleep. Doctors generally recommend that pregnant women sleep on their left side to optimize fetal blood flow, but not all women find this position naturally comfortable. You can improve your comfort by supporting your body with pillows, including a pillow between your legs.
Eat for Stress Management
The human body responds to perceived threats by releasing large amounts of a hormone called cortisol. This stress hormone raises blood pressure and aggravates inflammation while also escalating feelings of fear and anxiety. However, you can reduce your body’s baseline cortisol levels by eating the right foods.
A diet rich in vitamin B12 and other B vitamins can help your body rid itself of excess cortisol. You can get these B vitamins through eggs, chicken, beef, organ meats, nutritional yeast, or cereal fortified with extra vitamins and minerals. Meats, fish, eggs, and nuts can also provide protein to help stabilize your blood sugar.
To control the inflammation associated with elevated cortisol, turn to good dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty fish, flax seeds, chia seeds, and avocados can all provide this anti-inflammatory substance. Spinach, broccoli, avocados, and bananas also contain magnesium, another natural inflammation fighter.
A variety of external pressures can make pregnancy even more stressful than usual for many birthmothers. Fortunately, Arizona Adoption Help can provide access to financial aid and other resources that can ease these burdens, allowing you to focus on your emotional and physical wellness. Contact our caring team today.