How to Deal with Pregnancy Stress, from Those Who've Been There
Reviewed by Jessie Everts, Ph.D.
When you're pregnant, life can be stressful. And COVID-19 has added more stress.
Some stress is normal during pregnancy. But too much may lead to anxiety. You may also have trouble sleeping. Or you could develop other health problems, like high blood pressure. Finding ways to relax is crucial.
Jennifer, 46, a mother of three from North Carolina, had a lot of stress during her recent pregnancy. Her advice: “Control what you can, and then do your best with what you can’t,” she says. “It takes a little work to get there, and sometimes you have to melt down first.”
Here, Jennifer and five other moms share tips for taking control of stress while pregnant.
Lean on Your Village
Ask friends and family for help. Invite them over to help with meal prep. Or to give you a break when you need time alone. People want to support you.
"Lots of friends and neighbors stepped in to help us out," says Monica, 34, a mother of two from New Zealand. It made her family feel less alone, she says.
Ashley, 31, from Ohio, was recently laid off. Her husband had to pick up extra hours at work. This left Ashley stressed and taking care of their toddler alone. Her husband helped make a plan, one he could help with. "He came home from work the next day and [washed dishes],” she says. “And [he] gave our daughter her bath.” Those little things helped in big ways.
No friends or family close by? Try parent support groups. Online groups, like Twill Care, can also help.
Slash Your To-Do List
Find ways to cut your chore list.
Kate, 37, from Montana, has kids who are picky eaters. That led to stress while she was pregnant. So, she cooked canned and frozen food. It did the trick.
Fire Dr. Google
Mindy, 57, a mother of two from California, had questions and worries about birth. But online research added stress. So, she joined a birthing class instead.
The internet can have misinformation and can sometimes spark more worries. Talk to your doctor or use trusted sites.
Cut Social Media
Social media can help you meet other parents and share advice. But try to notice if your social feed is stressing you out or making you feel bad about yourself. Crystal, 40, of Florida, deleted her Facebook account while pregnant.
You can unfollow, limit your scrolling time, or step away for a break.
Working out can help lower stress. If you get the okay from your doctor, aim for 30 minutes a day.
Crystal chose less-intense cardio in her first trimester. She did power walks instead of jogs in her second. And she took salsa lessons in her third. “It helped relieve stress because my body wasn’t so tense,” Crystal says.
All these tips can help you relax. Try a few the next time you feel stressed. They'll come in handy now and when your baby arrives.
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