There are tons of resources available to promote physical health for people during pregnancy, but less conversation about the mental side of staying in shape during pregnancy. Pregnancy is one of the biggest life changes a person can go through in their lifetime, and it is important to realize that and treat yourself with care, admiration, and love during it. Besides the stress over the impending infant, there are tons of hormonal, body, and mood changes that one can undergo during pregnancy. Besides the internal changes, there can also be incredibly stressful external changes, like those related to career, friendships, and finances.
Pregnancy is characterized by a lot of personal changes, especially those having to do with your body and hormone balance. The hormonal changes during pregnancy do not just affect your mood, they can also affect your body, and those changes can be permanent. It is important to mentally prepare yourself to love and appreciate your body, even as it transforms and potentially becomes unrecognizable during pregnancy. Scheduling private time for yourself is essential to make sure you’re keeping up with and coping with those difficult transitions.
When your body and chemistry is going through so many new things, it is unreasonable to assume you can continue living your life as usual. Making time for self care goes from being a good idea to being extremely important. Some ideas to incorporate into your routine are baths with calming salts or bubbles, a night in with a new book or movie, journaling, gentle exercise like yoga or walking, listening to music or podcasts, or treating yourself to a pamper session.
If you are expecting a child with a partner, relationship strains due to stress and hormonal changes can be an additional stressor. Making sure you are being open and honest with your partner about your feelings, and talking about the impending infant and responsibility in your shared future can help ease those strains. Also make sure you are having fun and enjoying time spent with your partner. This is the person you have chosen to raise a child with, and prioritizing love and respect for each other over all else will help strengthen the foundation of your familial relationship.
Communication is key. It can be hard to talk about what and how you’re feeling, or go over stressors related to pregnancy and parenting, but you will feel better if you discuss it and compare notes with your partner rather than keeping it all inside. If you are not expecting with a partner, schedule date nights with yourself! Treat yourself and thank yourself for the fact that you are growing a human being in your body!
Asking for what you need is hard for most people. It can make us feel vulnerable and needy, and take away from our feelings of independence. Try to reframe how you feel about asking for what you need. It does not make you vulnerable, it makes you strong. Your body and mind are going through beautiful and challenging transformations, and it is normal and expected to have an increase in personal needs. Being honest with your loved ones will help them feel more connected to your experience and give them the empathy and understanding they need to meet your needs. Instead of hiding your feelings or needs, learn to state exactly what it is you need. You will find that with practice it becomes much easier, and people will be happy to help you as long as your tone and disposition are positive.
Mindfulness is a form of meditation where you focus intensely on what you’re feeling and sensing, internally and externally, without any judgement or interpretation. Practicing mindfulness can help connect your mind and body so you can more effectively understand and tend to what you are experiencing. Good skills to incorporate with mindfulness include deep breathing, intense focus, and self love, positivity and acceptance. When you’re practicing mindfulness, it is essential to be accepting of all of the things you are feeling and experiencing, because otherwise, you will work yourself up over not being able to change the new or different changes happening inside and outside of your body. There are many apps to use for mindfulness, especially if you are new to it.
The changes and experiences you are undergoing can be incredibly exhausting and taxing on the mind and body. It is not a sign of weakness to cut back on obligations and responsibilities, especially during the latter end of pregnancy. Remind yourself that your body is working for two, and it is not natural to assume that you can continue leading a busy work or social life. If you don’t want to give up social engagements, but you’re feeling exhausted or don’t want to be on your feet, suggest game night or a movie at your house, so you can bring the fun to you. Be honest with your friends and loved ones about how you’re feeling, and they will understand if plans need to be adjusted or canceled.
Pregnancy is stressful for thousands of reasons. Staying on top of those stressors can make all the difference in your experience and it can also prepare you for parenthood, because the stress doesn’t stop when the baby is born. Making good habits early on in the parenting experience will set you up for a calmer and more relaxed future. Remember that millions of other people are going through this same experience with you, and millions have experienced it before. That should help make you feel less alone. And, think about all the fun you’re going to have with your little bundle of joy in a few short months!