Stress in pregnancy is not good for either the mother or the unborn child. Continual, persistent chronic stress can affect the cognitive development of the foetus, decreasing its capacity to learn and retain information. In extreme cases it can cause premature labour, low birth weight and potential behavioural issues.
But please don’t worry, because normal, every day stresses and strains will not have an adverse effect, providing the mother is able to balance out the stress and manage it – not allow it to spiral out of control.
To help you achieve a more zen like approach to your pregnancy, and how you are coping day in day out, we have put together a simple guide supporting you in managing, reducing, and ultimately eliminating unnecessary stress that affects you on a day to day basis.
Don’t try to be too perfect about it – that in itself will cause you stress and anxiety. Instead, accept that a little bit of stress is no bad thing, and focus on developing a more accepting mindset that will help carry you through and the pregnancy, the early years and beyond.
Don’t let fear get in the way
One of the biggest stresses that occur during pregnancy is fear of the unknown. Will my child be healthy? Will we cope? What if I lose my job? What if I’m a bad mum? What if I don’t bond with my baby? What if something goes wrong with the pregnancy?
Living with ‘what ifs’ draws you into a spiral about worrying about things that don’t even exist. It perpetuates a fear that can leave you frozen into inaction. You are using your imagination in a way that is not beneficial to you in any way. Stressing over something that may not even happen really does not serve you in anyway, and there is evidence to suggest that what you think, comes about. So you risk thinking something into existence.
Every time you encounter a ‘what if’ – turn it into a ‘whatever happens I’ll cope’. Instead, train your mind and your imagination to focus on all the positives.
Seek support and reassurance
Create a support system around you that you can call on whenever you are concerned. This support system can consist of friends and family, doctors, obstetricians and other NIPT professionals who will give you the medical reassurance you need.
Consult them whenever you need help. If you find your stress levels rising, reach out and talk to them. Avoid those friends and family members who have a negative effect on you, or catastrophise situations through gossip and hype, and listen to those who talk to you straight.
Sometimes we can get lost in our own heads and thoughts. Sometimes, simply by reaching out and voicing our concerns, we can take the sting out of the worse of situations.
Don’t believe everything you hear or read
The excitement of getting pregnant has probably filled your social media feed with sunny babies of happy beautiful young mums living their best lives. Don’t believe it – they are only trying to sell you a dream that doesn’t actually exist. Behind the fake smiles and photoshopped images, there is a lot of pain and struggle. In fact, we bet that you are probably coping far better than a lot of the illusions that you are looking at online. Our best advice – switch off your social media, or at least curate it in a way that you only read stories that are going to enhance your experience of pregnancy, not affect you in a negative way.
Take care of number one
There are a million blogs about how to relax when you are pregnant – but the biggest improvement you can make s to change the way you view the world and reduce how stressed you get in the first place. Attitude is everything. Stress doesn’t have to be the enemy – you just have to learn to make it your friend.