Self Check​

 

Coping with stress during pregnancy

Many expectant mothers will certainly experience varying levels of stress some time during their pregnancy term.  These challenges can make life miserable and difficult to accept.  Learning ways to cope with stress during this delicate phase in life can help minimize the risk of post-natal depression.

Firstly acknowledge that a tremendous change is happening to the body of an expectant mother in the period of the 40-weeks.  They may feel emotionally unstable as their body size increase.  It is important that they seek the right support in this time of change.  Joining some mothers-to-be support group may be something light to begin with.

 

Secondly it would be good for expectant mothers to read-up on some information about pregnancy so that they are well aware of the norms of their physical and emotional changes.  However, be very careful not to overload with too much information, as varying views on the same topic may be confusing.  Other ways of learning information about pregnancy, delivery and baby care may be attending some face-to-face classes, which are generally taught by nurses and offered by hospitals or special training centres that could help expectant parents to become more aware of what is ahead of them.  Usually these classes are designed for both parents.  Expectant mothers may take the initiative to invite their spouse to join these classes too.  This is an ideal way of enhancing trust and companionship in their relationship.  Investing energies into strengthening their relationship is certainly one of the best ways in reducing the risk of both pre-natal and post-natal stress. 

Learning to prioritize their time for expectant mothers is another useful way in preventing stress.  Take a review of their daily routines and strive to prioritize their time well so that more energy is spent for the better.  They may find that as their body weight escalate in the third-trimester, travelling would be a greater concern for them.  Evaluate whether it would be worthwhile to cut back on some chores and spend the time nurturing and relaxing themselves.  Regular breathing exercises and pre-natal yoga can be a great way of promoting self-care.  For expectant mothers who are drained by much emotional instability, music can be a soft remedy to reset their moods.  Seeking positive friends and relatives for help or writing their feelings into a diary can also be of help.

If the emotional concern is affecting their daily routines consecutively for more than two weeks then it is advisable for expectant mothers to seek professional help.

Pregnancy is a very special time of growth and enrichment.  The physical and psychological changes can be overwhelming.  Taking precautionary measures in maintaining good mental and spiritual care can reduce the risk of depression in the future. 

Pregnancy Insomnia

Insomnia during pregnancy is a very common phenomenon.  If you think you are also suffering from insomnia, there are ways in coping with this temporary symptom.  For expectant mothers in the first trimester, their insomnia may be due to fear of miscarriage as they physically and psychologically adapt to this dramatic change in their life.  

As the pregnancy proceeds, many expectant mothers may find it difficult to fall asleep because of the size of their belly, the frequency of urination and leg cramps.  It is relieving to remember that all these symptoms are temporary and as soon as they surrender their hearts and minds to these obstacles, they will find that their babies will soon be smiling back at them for relieve.

The best way to deal with insomnia during pregnancy is to treat it as a very normal happening.  I remember one nurse once said, “if you cannot sleep at night, then find some time to sleep during the day.  If you work, sleep during your break time.  Do something else other than lying in bed; read a book, watch a movie."  

Whilst expectant mothers can bear in mind that not being able to fall asleep is not their unique problem, it may be soothing to know that they have the power to find ways to ease themselves to sleep.  They can customize their own sleeping ritual.  A glass of warm milk half an hour before bed time maybe of help.  This can be followed by a relaxing half an hour of relaxing music to ease up the tensions in their bodies.  Before they prepare to sleep, they can also set up the intention for a soothing and calming night of sleep.  To nurture the bonding time with their spouse, they may even ask them to do a short ten minute leg massage prior sleeping followed by a body part guided meditation.  Going through each body part from head to toe can be calming and can deter the mind from anxiety.

If the anxiety revolves around whether the baby is comfortable at nighttime, mothers-to-be may talk to their babies until they fall asleep.  This can be a great way to develop bonding with their babies.  

After all these efforts, if there are still difficulties sleeping, surrender even the fact of trying to fall asleep and see it as a bonus for the preparation of receiving the baby.  As by the time the baby arrives, expectant mothers will have their body clocks well adjusted for the night feeds.  

Do not forget that pregnancy is a very special time of a woman’s lifetime.  Relax and enjoy the miracle of the new life.

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