Managing stress during pregnancy is good for you and your baby. Unfortunately, this can prove to be quite a challenge for a number of reasons.
First of all, pregnancy is physically hard. It's a full time job all by itself, so adding the day-to-day demands of raising other children, working a job, or just purely surviving amongst sleep deprivation, physical discomfort, fatigue and braving the coming unknown can make stress management challenging!
Personally, as soon as I get pregnant my nervous system seems to go on overdrive and I am just more anxious at baseline overall.
I attribute this to the dramatic hormone changes of pregnancy, but there are physiological issues that might create more restrictions in breathing and in nervous system mobility that could also be at play.
]Most of us are aware that the less anxious and stressed we are, the better outcomes we have for both maternal and fetal health.
But achieving a place of nervous system regulation during pregnancy is hard.
So here are some actionable tips you can employ every day to help better oxygenate your blood stream and provide calm to your system!
Daily meditation can go a long way. Studies have shown a positive effect on depression in pregnant women with regular use of meditation.
Some studies have demonstrated that meditation during pregnancy has positive effects on newborn health and temperament as well.
But this doesn't mean you have to get up at 5AM everyday and sit cross-legged for an hour. I like to use the Calm App for guided meditation. Whenever I can, I get home from work and lie on the couch for 15 min and listen to a meditation while my toddler plays and climbs all over me.
Even in the midst of all of the distraction, I still notice a difference on the days I don't do it!
Breathing is so important for nervous system regulation. Good breathing creates harmony in our body as plenty of oxygen is delivered through the blood and calms down our nervous system.
But during pregnancy, our diaphragm often gets restricted as the baby grows. We also frequently lose mobility in our ribs and backs, creating a need for very, very shallow breathing into our neck and shoulders.
Here are a couple exercises to try to keep your ribs moving well and your breath flowing deeply!
Prenatal yoga is a great way to blend all of it together. If you have the time, attend and in-person class to make connections with other women experiencing what you are experiencing, which is great for your physical and mental health!
Otherwise, online resources for yoga are infinite! You can get free ideas off youtube or enroll in an online platform.
Regulating your nervous system during pregnancy will go a long way for your health and the health of your baby.
But be gentle with yourself. You are up against quite a bit when it comes to feeling calm everyday. Given our society is used to fast-paced, anxious existence, it can be challenging to carve out some time for you.
As actionable tools you can use right away to help regulate your nervous system.
Don't forget, if you are struggling with the breathing exercises, experiencing upper extremity numbness or tingling, dealing with pain and limited mobility during pregnancy, or simply want to prep for birth, make your appointment with us here today!