The Trick to Managing Stress During Pregnancy - Nancy Branberg
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The Trick to Managing Stress During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time of incredible joy and expectation. Still, it’s also common for mother-to-be to experience stress during this critical period. From hormonal ups and downs to concerns about labour and the birthing process, there are numerous reasons why stress levels can run high.

Stress is an inevitable part of life, and pregnancy is no exception. However, during pregnancy, the body’s response to stress can be exacerbated due to hormonal changes. Stress during pregnancy has been linked to a range of potential complications, such as preterm delivery and lower birth weights.

Managing stress during pregnancy is vital for your well-being and your baby’s healthy development. To help you manage stress during your pregnancy, we’ve put together some practical tips to help you find serenity throughout your pregnancy journey.

managing stress during pregnancyUnderstand the Impact of Stress When You Are Pregnant

Before diving into pregnancy stress management techniques, we thought explaining how stress affects both you and your growing baby might be helpful. Chronic “Stress” repeatedly triggers the release of stress hormones that increase your heart rate and blood pressure, which can sometimes reduce oxygen delivery to your baby and potentially impede foetal growth. Stress can also be a contributory factor in preterm births and other pregnancy complications.

These are the worst-case scenarios, of course, but knowing these facts can motivate taking steps to minimize stress during your pregnancy.

Potential sources of stress during pregnancy to be aware of includes physical strain. From back pain to swollen feet, the physical changes in your body can be both uncomfortable and distressing. Emotional Turmoil during pregnancy brings a whirlwind of emotions, including anxiety about your baby’s health and the new responsibilities motherhood entails.

Social Pressures such as expectations from family, friends, and society can increase stress levels, especially if you feel judged or unsupported. All these feelings are 100% normal; the most important thing is to find ways to manage and discharge the stress on your nervous system that these thoughts, feelings, and situations can create.

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How to Manage Stress During Pregnancy

It’s natural to feel stress during pregnancy. Still, managing it effectively for your health and your baby’s development is equally important. Incorporating these stress-management strategies can create a more peaceful and joyful pregnancy experience. But above all else, stay positive, take good care of yourself, and look forward to the beautiful moments to come with your new baby.

Building a support network is an essential element in managing stress during pregnancy is ensuring you have a robust support system. This network can include family, friends, healthcare providers, and even pregnancy support groups. A support system can provide reassurance, a listening ear, and help with tasks that can become challenging as your pregnancy progresses.

Practice relaxation techniques that can help you manage stress levels. Meditation helps to quiet and calm your mind and focus your thoughts positively. Prenatal yoga is also great, helping with relaxation, mobility, and maintaining strength. Simply taking deep breaths can also reduce stress. Slowly, try inhaling through your nose, holding for a few seconds, and then exhaling through your mouth.

Physical activity and movement are great ways to combat stress. Exercise releases feel-good endorphins, which are our natural mood lifters. But consult your OBGYN to understand what exercise is safe for you. Daily walks or participating in prenatal exercise classes can be good, gentle options. Also remember to get plenty of rest; fatigue can significantly increase stress levels, so getting plenty of sleep and rest when pregnant is important.

Listen to your body and eat well. If you’re tired, try to rest or take a quick nap if possible, and a well-balanced diet supports your baby’s growth and helps stabilize your mood. Eating healthy foods that are rich in micronutrients like vitamins, minerals, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids can also boost your resilience and help reduce stress levels while keeping you and your baby healthy at the same time.

Keep the lines of communication open with your partner, friends, family and healthcare providers about your needs and feelings. Talking honestly about the experience and the changes and challenges you’re experiencing can help alleviate rumination and reduce stress.

It’s also important for you to prepare for the baby. Feeling like you’re not prepared for the arrival of your new baby can be an additional cause of stress. Take steps throughout your pregnancy to prepare for the new addition to your family, whether that’s setting up a nursery, choosing a paediatrician, or packing a hospital bag and getting their clothes and nappies ready.

While it’s good to be informed, too much information during pregnancy can be harmful and overwhelming—especially if it’s conflicting or negative. Limit your exposure to stressful news or stories about pregnancy and childbirth.  If your stress levels are too high, don’t hesitate to seek help from a mental health professional. Counselling or therapy can also be really helpful in managing stress during pregnancy.

Physical Therapy Help With Managing Stress

Pregnancy is undoubtedly one of life’s most significant and wonderful journeys. Yet, alongside the awe and wonder, it can also be a time of heightened physical and psychological stress, leaving us overwhelmed. That’s why stress management during pregnancy is crucial for your well-being and your growing baby’s health and development.

During pregnancy, many women turn to physical therapy as a natural, non-invasive means to cope with the physical and emotional rigours of pregnancy and the aches and pains that go along with it. Physical therapy can be a potent stress reliever during this special time. Physical therapy sessions can also be a controlled environment to practice techniques that will be invaluable during your labour.

Physical therapy for pregnant women is a specialized approach that involves gentle, targeted exercises to manage a range of pregnancy-related aches, pains, and discomforts. We use a variety of techniques that we tailor to your needs. Specifically, we can:

Reduce Physical Discomforts

Alleviate Back Pain: Through exercises that strengthen the core and improve posture.

Minimize Pregnancy-Related Swelling: With techniques that enhance circulation and reduce fluid retention.

Minimize Sleep Disturbances: Promoting relaxation and teaching techniques for comfortable pregnancy sleeping positions.

Enhance Body Awareness: Through practices that improve the mind-body connection, you can feel more in tune with your changing body, leading to a sense of control and confidence.

Education on Labor and Delivery: Understanding the birthing process can reduce the fear and anxiety of the unknown. Ante-natal classes are a great way to get the knowledge you need before  the baby arrives.

Provide a Supportive Environment: We offer emotional support and a safe space for pregnant women to express their worries and concerns.

To help you manage stress during pregnancy, we use a variety of different techniques and exercises, including:

Massage: Focused on areas of tension and discomfort to promote relaxation and relieve pain.

Stretching: To improve mobility and reduce muscle tightness, especially in the back and legs.

Soft Tissue Mobilization: Techniques to address specific soft tissue restrictions that can cause pain and discomfort.

Pelvic Floor Strengthening: Vital for childbirth and postpartum recovery.

Low-Impact Aerobics: Safe cardiovascular exercises that boost mood and energy levels.

Breathing and Relaxation Techniques: Tools for managing and coping with the shortness of breath and stress that pregnancy can bring.

manage stress with physical therapyThe Benefits of Physical Therapy During Pregnancy

Increased Energy – By improving overall physical health and cardiovascular function.
Reduced Pain – A significant decrease in back pain and other discomforts.
Better Sleep – Pregnant women who have regular physical therapy sessions report higher quality and more restful sleep.
Stress Management – You can use techniques learned in physical therapy to manage stress daily.
Better Self-Image – Feeling strong and capable can positively impact self-esteem and mental health.
Brain-Body Connection – Building a stronger connection between your mind and body can lead to better management of emotions and less internal conflict.

How To Make The Most Of Physical Therapy Sessions

No one knows your body better. Don’t underestimate the value of self-awareness and communication with your therapist about what feels right for you.
Commit to regular sessions and the home exercises we prescribe.

Pregnancy is a time of constant change. Be prepared to adjust your exercises and sessions as your body and needs evolve.

In addition to the physical benefits, there are significant psychological upsides to a physical therapy program while pregnant. Understanding the changes in your body and knowing how to manage them can be profoundly empowering. As you see and feel the results of physical therapy, it creates a positive cycle of motivation. Engaging with a physical therapist and perhaps even joining group sessions can provide a sense of connection and shared experience.

Physical therapy offers expecting mothers a proactive, empowering toolset to navigate the challenges of pregnancy in a way that supports their well-being and that of their unborn child. Combining specialized physical exercises with a supportive, educational approach, physical therapy is a comforting ally in one of life’s most transformative times. Whether you’re expecting your first child or adding to your family, embracing the possibilities of physical therapy to calm the body and mind during this remarkable journey can make a world of difference.

Book a free consultation.

Nancy Branberg

Nancy Branberg

Nancy has long had a passion for helping people - especially those who felt they were powerless over their pain. After becoming a mom and having her own “child-birth” traumas to deal with, Nancy became interested in learning about the pelvis - not just the musculo-skeletal system, but the reproductive and digestive system as well. Every day she is amazed by the complexity and the inter-relatedness of all the systems. Nancy is Fall Church’s leading physical therapist who is able to help you overcome these problems without medication or surgery. Nancy Branberg Physical Therapy, LLC empowers women to take control of their pelvic issues so that their energy and attention can shift towards doing all of the things they love to do.
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