Pregnancy is supposed to be a delightful time in our lives, and it can be. This, however, does not mean that it will be without stress. Even wonderful changes can cause stress.
Stress is defined as any emotional, mental or physical change that can cause a disruption in the normal routine. Stress comes from both external sources and internal, stress we place on ourselves. Let's start by looking at physical sources of stress.
Changes in your body like nausea, vomiting, fatigue can effect how your do your job, interact with your friends and family. This can create stress for you and those around you. You may worry about the changes in your physical appearance. Will your body cause people to treat you differently?
Your attitude and thoughts about pregnancy and birth can also cause stress. Will you ever look like you did before pregnancy? Is labor as bad as everyone says? Will you embarrass yourself during the birth? Can you be a good mother? Dads especially, but moms too, may worry about finances and houses before the baby comes.
People can become stressors. Your relationships will change, usually large changes occur with your parents and your partner. However, some people report changes in friendships, even the loss of some friends. I think that was very hard for me when I was pregnant, seeing my non-pregnant friends slowly drift away.
So, what can you do about all the mental stress and physical changes? The first, and probably most important is to change your attitude. Thinking in a positive manner will get you great lengths. Be flexible with your work and home situations. Learn to recognize when you need to take a break or say no.
- Find out what the sources of stress are for you and evaluate what you can get rid of, and what you can change.
- Nutritional habits are also very important. Eating well will prepare your body for everyday life, and also provide you with more energy.
- Exercise! This will help you feel better during your waking hours and make your sleep more restful, again giving you the energy you need to deal with life.
- Give up being a perfectionist. While you should always expect your best, don't worry about the small things, especially housework!
- Do your relaxation exercises, even in a small dose, it can help you relieve enough tension to continue.