Pregnancy is a time for joy, preparation, and rest. As wonderful as it is, it can still cause stress related to medical bills, relationship issues, hormones, insurance, routine testing, not feeling well, and keeping up with everyday life while feeling tired and overwhelmed with decisions.
It takes a lot of energy growing a tiny human! The last thing a woman needs is added stress that zaps precious energy reserves needed to for the healthy growth and development of a baby. It is critical, not only for the baby, but for mom to make time for rest and stress management.
Science has been revealing more recently the effects of stress on an unborn child and mother. Stress is a normal part of life—no one can escape it. What’s important to note is that constant stress, an inability to stop the fight or flight mode, can have a lasting effect on both mom and baby. The consistent surge of stress hormones could alter the body’s innate stress management system resulting in an inflammatory response in the body. Stress and inflammation has been linked to poor pregnancy health, lower birth weight, preterm labor, and developmental issues in babies. In moms, stress has been linked to blood sugar issues, high blood pressure, and anxiety.
Keeping the body out of fight or flight mode can be tricky if there is a lot of stress at home, but there are natural ways to take the edge off. The more moms can implement these 5 easy and low-cost tips, the healthier mom and baby will be during the 9 months of gestation.
1. Meditation. Meditation can bring a body down from a stress level of 10 to a 2 or 3 in a matter of minutes. Try 20 minutes of guided meditation twice a day or more during times of intense stress. There are lots of free meditation apps online or HypnoBabies is available for purchase at hypnobabies.com
2. Walking. Get outside and go for a walk. Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. Fresh air and connecting with nature is a great way to find balance and peace.
3. Energy Work. An often underutilized stress management method, energy work is a great way to offload bottled up stress, emotions, and/or trauma. Energy work works with the body’s energy to find stagnant or excess energy that may be causing stress emotionally or physically. Balancing out the body’s energy system can bring peace, emotional wellness, deeper rest, and physical relief (if the stress is manifesting physically).
4. Sleep. Sleep or nap as often as possible. When the baby arrives, sleep can be hard to come by. A pregnant body needs the energy for daily tasks and for the baby’s growth and development. Sleep is not only nurturing for the body, but also the mind.
5. Massage. Prenatal massage is heavenly for a tired, achy body. It’s also a time to be pampered as the therapist increases circulation, stretches tired muscles, and relieves back pain through gentle hand movements.
Ultimately, it is best to work through stress, emotions, and trauma prior to getting pregnant, but that is not always possible. According to Thomas R. Verny, MD, “From the moment of conception, the stories of our lives become encoded in the cells of our bodies and the neuralcircuits of our brains.” Maternal stress creates primitive memories in the baby’s cells. Psychologist Alice M Givens research reveals unborn children may literally absorb mother’s experience and emotions. That said, moms have the ability to nurture their child from conception by taking good care of their emotional and mental wellness. The benefit from doing so has a lasting impact on the health and wellness of both mother and child and makes space for a more enjoyable pregnancy that is focused on the joy, love, and the blessing waiting to be born.
Christy Cotterman, mom of a vivacious little girl, is a holistic life and emotional healing coach and owner of Wholly Healing LLC located in Maineville. She consults with clients nationwide, offering guidance and compassion through personal coaching, workshops and retreats. A benefactor of emotional healing from trauma, anxiety, and depression herself, Cotterman leads clients on a journey to emotional healing through energy work, positive thinking and stress management. For more information, call 513-827-2757 or visit WhollyHealingExperience.com .