Pregnancy can be an incredibly wonderful time in your life as well as a very scary time in your life. Your whole life (as well as your body) is going through a number of changes.There are many things you can do to help alleviate those anxious thoughts and feelings while improving your coping skills during your pregnancy
If you’ve never practiced meditation, now is a great time to start. Meditation is an excellent way to calm you and alleviate anxiety in general. Meditation doesn’t have to be tied to any religious beliefs, nor does it require any special props, skills, or setting. All you really need is a quiet place where no one will disturb you for 10 to 15 minutes.
Avoid Scary Stories and Images
When you’re anxious, it’s a really good idea to significantly avoid watching the news, reading the newspaper, or reading frightening news stories online. Filling your mind with negative images and stories will only make your anxiety worse. You especially want to avoid watching the news just before bedtime. You’ll sleep better and stay more relaxed if you make it a point to spend the last 30 minutes before you go to bed doing something relaxing, like taking a bath or listening to soft music.
Refute the “What Ifs”
When you’re pregnant and anxious, your thoughts are filled with a vast number of “what ifs.” For example, “what if my baby is premature,” “what if something goes wrong during labor,” “what if I’m a terrible mother,” “what if my baby is born with a birth defect,” and so on. Thoughts of “what if” are nothing but torture, and they open the door to all sorts of unnecessary worry and fear.
When you’re feeling anxious, your breathing typically becomes faster and shallower. Spend a few minutes throughout the day to stop and focus on your breathing. Practice taking slow, deep breaths (breathing through your nose) followed by exhaling slowly. Slowing down your breathing will help you relax.
Look for Ways to Reduce Your Stress
Stress always exacerbates anxiety. While some degree of stress is unavoidable, look for ways you can reduce the amount of stress in your life. Things you might consider are:
- Cutting back on the hours you work (if possible)
- Delegating tasks that will lighten your load at home and work
- Getting regular aerobic exercise (such as swimming or walking)
Anxiety doesn’t have to cast a dark shadow over your pregnancy. By practicing the suggestions above, you’ll find that you feel more relaxed and more in control of your thoughts and feelings.