Emotional Health · Pregnancy

Pregnant and feeling stressed? Tips to help.

Sad pregnant individual sitting on sofa against wall at home

I’m pregnant and feeling stressed out! Are these feelings normal?

Is there anything I can do to feel better?    

We all experience a certain level of stress in our everyday life.  Some stress can be helpful; it can inspire us to get things done at home or work, and it encourages us to arrive on time for meetings and appointments. However, it’s a concern when this level of stress no longer feels helpful or becomes overwhelming.

Why am I feeling stress during pregnancy?

Everyone feels stress for different reasons. During pregnancy, the cause of your stress may be due to one or more of the following:

  • Body changes during pregnancy (nausea, constipation, backache)
  • Pregnancy hormones affecting your mood
  • Worried about your labour and birth
  • Unsure about caring for a new baby
  • Work responsibilities
  • Unexpected life events (ending of a relationship, death of a loved one, moving from your home)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (difficulty coping after seeing or experiencing a traumatic event)

If you feel too much is going on, try to take a break, get some rest, and seek ways to care for yourself.

Why should I be worried about stress during pregnancy?

Stress during pregnancy can affect your sleep patterns, eating habits and your ability to fight off infection, which can impact the health of the growing fetus. Another concern is that individuals who are experiencing increased stress may turn to unhealthy ways of coping, such as smoking or drinking alcohol during pregnancy. This can have harmful effects on the health and development of the fetus during pregnancy, as well as the health of the baby after birth. High levels of stress can also cause high blood pressure, and this may lead to your baby being born too soon.

Tips to help decrease your stress level:

  • Speak to your health care provider for follow-up and support as necessary. It may also be helpful to speak to someone you trust about your feelings such as your partner, a family member or a friend
  • Attend a prenatal class to learn about:
    • changes during pregnancy and ways to decrease discomforts
    • what to expect when baby arrives
  • Speak to your manager/supervisor about work-related concerns
  • Eat healthy and get enough sleep
  • Be active
  • Try to relax; using meditation or mindfulness
  • Try to have one goal each day
  • Rest more often

Remember to listen to what your mind and body are telling you.

Leave a comment below and let us know how you cope with stress during your pregnancy.

Connect with a Public Health Nurse via eChat or call (416) 338-7600, if you have any questions about stress during pregnancy.

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