Pregnancy can be an exciting yet stressful time, much like a rollercoaster ride, and any woman who has been there will definitely agree.
Think about it — one minute you're "up," feeling exhilarated about the tiny baby growing inside your womb; the next minute you're "down," trying to get over the nausea, body aches, exhaustion, and other “negative” symptoms associated with pregnancy.
Add to that the circumstances that surround one’s pregnancy, plus other factors to deal with — like saving up for hospital expenses when you give birth, and things that the baby will need — and you might find yourself overly stressed out.
This need not be the case though.
You can have a less stressful pregnancy. Here are some tips to help you out:
1. Equip yourself with information. Irina Otmakhova, an internationally-certified doula and hypno-doula based in Quezon City, says, “Knowledge is power, therefore equip yourself with knowledge on your choices.”
This is why Otmakhova recommends that expecting moms take a childbirth preparation class and “learn many different alternatives to routine medical interventions.”
“Stress usually runs high out of fear for the unknown. This is why knowing what to expect and the ways to deal with different situations will give you the necessary peace of mind,” she expounds.
Birth doula Velvet Escario-Roxas agrees. She says, “Attend classes on pregnancy and birth education, breastfeeding, caring for a newborn… because most of the time, moms’ fears — and stresses — are based on myths and wrong information.”
Jeanette Wing Un, mom of two, and the work-at-home-mompreneur behind Earth Baby, says she also equipped herself with pregnancy-related information by reading books. “I read to be informed, especially with my first pregnancy. I would also list down my questions to bring with me to ask my doctor during our prenatal check-ups,” she shares.
2. Nourish yourself. Deborah Gustafson, missionary midwife and co-director of Shiphrah Birthing Home in Taytay, Rizal, advises pregnant moms to eat lots of vegetables and fruits. “When you are well-nourished you will have more energy and be happy,” she says.
Escario-Roxas adds, “Eat well, eat smart, eat indigenous foods, because if you eat the wrong food, that adds to your stress.”
Nourishing your body with the right food is certainly helping expecting mom of two Martine de Luna, a freelance digital strategist and blogger at MakeItBlissful.com. She says eating less “simple carbs” (white rice, white bread, white sugar) helps keep her energy levels up.
“Green smoothies and juice are instant energy boosters, too. Adding superfoods like quinoa, chia seeds, coco nectar and flaxseed into my diet also helps give me more energy,” Martine adds.
3. Eliminate or reduce potential sources of stress. Rina B. De Alban, freelance writer/editor and mom to 2-year-old twin girls, says her pregnancy came around the time that she was thinking of leaving her job. “When we learned that I was having twins, we knew it was meant to be. It was decided,” she shares.
“I left my job and started working at home. That decision alone eliminated a lot of potential stress and led me to this work-at-home lifestyle that’s working out fine for my family now, almost two years after giving birth.”
Although many expecting moms may not be able to give up their jobs like Rina did, Martine advises other preggy moms like her to slow down if their work permits it.
She expounds: “I said ‘no’ to projects that would be too stressful for me, work-wise. I would focus more on work that would play to my strengths, creatively, but not take too much of my time to accomplish. This gave me enough time to spend with my son, enough time to rest during the day for the baby.”
If you’re working in a stressful environment, Tyna Quimpo, a quality analyst who was working the midshift at a BPO while pregnant with her second child, has this piece of advice for you: “Go to your ‘happy place.’ For me, that meant having karaoke sessions with my older daughter at home.”
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
4. Release ‘feel-good’ hormones through exercise. Exercise has been known to cause the release of endorphins, which in turn have been linked to feelings of happiness and wellness. Being physically active and fit during pregnancy means you’ll be less likely to feel stressed.
Gustafson emphasizes this point. “Exercise makes your body happy and helps you adjust to the extra weight. Prenatal yoga is very helpful and also prepares you for your birth.”
Otmakhova actually refers to prenatal yoga as “a balancing practice for mind and body preparation for childbirth.” She elaborates, “It will strengthen your body tone exactly to the extent needed to support a healthy pregnancy, and will help you stay focused on the positive and joyful aspects of your pregnancy journey — in anticipation of the biggest joy of finally holding your baby in your arms.”
Escario-Roxas adds that breathing exercises are also as important as physical excercise.
Jeanette shares how she incorporated exercise into her routine when she was still pregnant. “Since I had no househelp, house chores became my exercise,” she says.
“If I had errands within walking distance I would walk and take advantage of the ‘free exercise.’ Also when my sister's sister-in-law needed help to walk their dog, I did so — even if I was already 8 months pregnant!”