Managing Stress In Pregnancy And Postpartum

Getting ready to have a baby? Preparing to have a new member in the family?

Dr. Bandana Sodhi Rosewalk hospital

April is named as a stress awareness month. I shall be penning a few tips that make us aware about the stress factors in pregnancy and postpartum and how to overcome them.

Getting ready to have a baby? Preparing to have a new member in the family?

Yes, it is a very exciting time, but making plans for this huge change in your life and can be overwhelming too. We all dream of moving peacefully through pregnancy with no untoward events, but many women feel more susceptible and anxious. Feeling stressed is common during pregnancy because pregnancy is a time of many changes.

Bringing a new being into the world is not an easy task. You worry about everything. Are the foods you eat healthy enough? Is it safe to exercise? How will you manage work and parenthood once baby is born?

Some stress during pregnancy is normal, just as it is during other times of life. Your family life, your body and your emotions are changing. You may welcome these changes, but they can add new stresses to your life. But if stress becomes constant, it could affect you and your baby.

What types of stress can cause pregnancy problems?

Up to 1 in 5 women develop mental health problems during pregnancy or after childbirth.

Stress can come from having a pregnancy that is unplanned, or after previous negative experiences in pregnancy, birth or motherhood, such as a miscarriage or demise of a baby.

Ambient situations can also cause stress, such as being a single parent or teenager or relationship difficulties.

Emotional stresses, such as grief,  past anxiety, depression or other mental illness, can cause stress during pregnancy.

What are the problems that stress can cause in pregnancy?

  • You may have problems in eating, like not eating enough or eating too much which can fluctuate your weight during pregnancy. It also may increase your risk of having gestational diabetes and preterm labour.
  • Stress may lead to high blood pressure during pregnancy which can cause preeclampsia, premature birth and low-birthweight infant.

How can you reduce stress during pregnancy?

One should be aware that the discomforts of pregnancy are only temporary.

Mindfulness in pregnancy is about knowing directly what is going on inside you. It can also help you bond and connect with your unborn baby.

Pregnancy yoga: Yoga is an activity that focuses on mental and physical wellbeing. Yoga in pregnancy is a great way to stay active and strengthen your body.

Be kind to yourself: Little things add up. Allow yourself to indulge in things that you love to do like listening to some relaxing music or a long walk or a bath.

Exercise, like swimming and walking: It’s safe to exercise in pregnancy.  Going for regular  walks, or relaxing swims  can benefit your body, your baby and your mental health

After delivery, postpartum depression and  “baby blues,” are heightened emotional state that can affect  80% or more of new moms in the first days after the baby is born. Baby blues usually subside within a couple of weeks. If symptoms and mood swings persist one should ask for professional help.

I would like to conclude by emphasizing to all moms to be and pregnant women to allay their anxieties about pregnancy and try and have a stress free and enjoyable pregnancy under the guidance of your doctor. Someone has quoted    “if you are a mom, you are a superhero, period.”

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