and reduce your stress levels

As you may imagine, how you feel about your pregnancy would be entirely connected to your circumstances. Whether you planned it or whether you were caught off-guard, becoming a mother is a very big deal. It is no small thing to bring another little human being, that you are totally responsible for, into the world. That is why so many moms-to-be have such very difficult pregnancies; they are simply overwhelmed
with body changes, hormones and legitimate fears. But, do read on, we
have some very helpful, tried and tested tips that will get you to a space
where you can truly enjoy your pregnancy, no matter your circumstances.

Stress level reduction for pregnancy should start in the planning stage, even
before you fall pregnant. It is imperative to start any life-changing journey, especially the one of starting a family, with good planning and foresight – this
always reduces anxiety and stress. However, if you are already pregnant and it was unplanned, read on, there are many tips that can still help you to enjoy your pregnancy.

Pregnancy planning
Think about what might push your own stress levels to the limit during pregnancy: will it be money, medical expenses, mental health, physical health – your own or the baby’s, or perhaps just wanting to be in control of it all?

Physical well-being
• Start off by attaining a good healthy weight and maintaining it.

• Focus on your nutritional status by choosing healthy foods.

• Take a folic acid supplement to improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy.

• Maintain some sort of physical fi tness, stamina or exercise regime – even if it is just taking a good walk every day. Exercise also releases endorphins, which naturally reduce stress. Being healthy and fit certainly contributes largely to a better birth experience. Even if you are going to have a planned caesar, being healthy and fi t ensures a quicker recovery.

Mental well-being
If you are already suffering from high stress levels, try and fi nd a way to manage this, eg. start mindfulness training, yoga or some sort of meditation
routine. Identify your stress triggers regarding pregnancy and focus on addressing these. The more you know, the less you’ll stress!

Financial issues

There is no other factor that gives rise to more stress during pregnancy than
fi nancial issues – not being on a medical aid, not being able to afford one,
needing to go to a government facility for birth, not affording specialized
care if needed, are just some of the concerns that arise. To combat these
fi nancial concerns:

• Start planning ahead of the pregnancy on what your resources will be
and what options for pregnancy and birth are available within your budget.

• Look into hospital plan options which are more affordable than a full medical aid. Even look into medical aid plans for the baby once he/she is born.

The need to be in control of it all
Every person desires a healthy, happy, uncomplicated pregnancy, but in reality, this does not always happen. Realise that you won’t be able to control all aspects and phases of your pregnancy and the birth. Organise and change the things that you can control and learn to just accept the things that you can’t control. Worrying about things that you have no control over, and might never even happen, just doesn’t make sense.

During pregnancy
Carry on living healthily – keep up the good food choices, keep an eye on your
weight gain, stick to an exercise regime, stay hydrated – electrolyte imbalance is one of the biggest causes of headaches, tiredness and lethargy in early pregnancy, all of which lead to feelings of anxiety.

Focus on moving your body
Do regular stretches and take walks. There is a lot happening in your body as
your baby grows. Your body changes, not to mention the hormonal changes.
Ligament pains, backache and lower abdominal pains are common, and if not
understood these aches and pains can cause stress.

Get those ‘happy hormones’ flowing
with a good, relaxing massage every now and then. A foot soak or massage
can also do wonders to help you relax, as well as to get rid of excess swelling after a long day. Don’t forget about aromatherapy for relaxation – learn more about safe and benefi cial aromatherapy oils for the different stages of pregnancy. Just like you would use all your senses during the birth process, you can do so during the pregnancy as well to learn how to relax.

Carry on practicing mindfulness
Especially when you start going into a stress spiral. Focus on the small things
around you that make you smile, relax and happy. Don’t allow negative thoughts to run wild in your mind, get answers to your questions and, as mentioned already, don’t stress the things that you can do nothing about.

Don’t be a robot
Focus on your baby and the miracle of growing a human being inside of you.
Talk to your baby often during the pregnancy, it is comforting and bonding for
you and baby. Let daddy also talk to baby as she will then know both your voices when she born. 

As you reassure your baby that all is well and you are looking forward to meeting her, you will start bonding and also feel less stressed.

Talk to a midwife

Get correct and true information on pregnancy and birth – especially to rule
out all those ‘old wives tales’ and ‘horror’ stories of other mothers that are most likely highly exaggerated, and certainly not likely to happen to you.

Become informed in all ways possible
Reduce your fears – read up, attend antenatal classes, learn proper breathing
techniques to reduce stress. The more you know the less you will stress!

Rest when you need it
Too little, or poor sleep is the ignitor for stress.

Most important – be honest
with yourself and your partner. Not everyone experiences pregnancy the
same – for some it is not the wonderful experience they thought it would be
– and that’s okay. Verbalising these feelings will help you to manage it better and be less stressed about it.

Make an appointment to speak to Sister Rentia at Mopani Baby Clinic for anything and everything you need to know.
(013) 755 5500  |


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