Prenatal Mindfulness

There are many articles and books about stress reduction in therapy. Research shows that large amounts of stress can lead to preterm labor, small birth weight, and poor outcomes. This information is helpful because it shows the impacts of racism, homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia, and poverty. These chronic stressors on birthing parents lead to adverse outcomes, and no amount of self-care routines and stress reduction techniques will change the impact of long-term chronic stress on someone’s body. 

In this article, we will discuss ways to work through and handle the stressors that life gives us while pregnant. Still, it is essential to point out that these immense stressors I have pointed out above require systematic work and cannot be solved with the solutions for day-to-day stress that are shared in this article.

Certain amounts of stress while pregnant are inevitable, and there is no way to be completely mindful every minute of every day. Although we know that stress can have harmful effects on fetuses, we also know that they have quite a bit of resilience and can usually handle the stress levels we encounter. Remember that stress reduction techniques don’t do anything if they are causing more stress. This means that if you read this article and the different ideas and tips provided cause you to feel more pressure when trying to implement them, you can set them down. They do not have to be for you.

A lot of stress in pregnancy comes from long-standing people-pleasing tendencies. So one of the first things you can do to reduce stress while pregnant is to speak your truth. This might mean you need to hire a different care provider, tell your mother-in-law “No” to coming to your birth, or let your aunt know that she needs to stop texting you, asking when the baby will be here five times a day. Speaking your truth can feel challenging at first, but when you see the results, it begins to feel more accessible.

Another way to lessen stress during pregnancy is to prioritize self-care. Self-care is a word that has been overused and inappropriately tied to things like taking a shower alone or drinking your coffee before it goes cold. But what is the self-care we are talking about? Authentic self-care is preserving and improving your mental, physical, and emotional health by doing things that you genuinely enjoy. This means that showering alone and drinking hot coffee can play into proper self-care, but it is so much more than that. Getting a babysitter for older kids to have some alone time or time with your partner, doing art, playing sports or working out, therapy, massages, eating food that you love, traveling or taking a staycation, and more, are all great ideas for practicing true self-care. 

The best part about self-care is that only you know what trick will improve your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Sitting down and making a list of things you can do every day, week, month, and year can help you so that your self-care is prioritized and easier to achieve.

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Suppose your stress is caused by your body physically not feeling right. In that case, you can reduce stress by getting body work done, purchasing a pregnancy pillow, using a bunch of pillows to help with sleep, taking pregnancy-safe medications, having your partner or a professional give you a massage, taking baths, and more. Body aches and discomforts are something that pregnant people often express discomfort with. Although some things cannot be relieved, it is always worth trying to get more comfortable while pregnant to reduce the stress that discomfort can bring.

Another stressor can be mental health. Whether this is perinatal depression, anxiety, OCD, or other mental health disorders, some things can be done to help. Therapy is an excellent option if it is accessible to you. There are even some therapists who take insurance or work pro bono. Different types of therapy work best for every kind of mental illness, so even if therapy hasn’t worked for you in the past, it might work for you now. There are also pregnancy-safe medications that can be prescribed. Taking medication for mental health can feel big and scary, but it can also be life-altering and bring more peace than one could imagine. If you already have these things in play for your mental health, learning coping mechanisms, mindfulness, and self-care routines can be added to make moving through pregnancy, birth, and postpartum easier.

Remember that your baby and your body are resilient through all of this. Working to create a less stressful environment is a great thing to do while pregnant, but only if it feels productive and less stressful. If you are experiencing racism, homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia, and/or poverty, you are not the problem, the systems that oppress you are. Reminding yourself that your baby and body are resilient to the long-term stressors in your life can be helpful, you are doing the perfect job at growing your baby, and you will continue to do the ideal job at birthing your baby.


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