If you are pregnant, you may already have received plenty of advice on staying physically healthy such as “take prenatal vitamins” or “be sure to take advantage of resources like free ultrasounds.” It is, after all, imperative to care for your body properly since it is creating a new life. Did you know that your mental condition during pregnancy may also impact your unborn child? Studies performed on animals reveal that there is a link between infants being exposed to stress hormones in the womb and experiencing anxiety later on in life.
Essentially, when you suffer strain and anxiety, your body releases hormones that may affect your baby. Research also shows that there is a correlation between depression in mothers and smaller baby sizes at birth. It is therefore vital that you maintain a state of good mental wellbeing as well. Self-care is an integral part of doing so. Here are four self-care tips to help you take care of your mental health during your pregnancy.
1. Work Exercise Into Your Weekly Routine
Physical activity, particularly aerobics, is beneficial for both your bodily and mental health. It causes your brain to release “feel-good” chemicals that reduce pain and boost happiness. It helps lessen anxiety, depression and stress, boosts your mood and promotes better sleep at night. Since exercise is something that is easy for people to share, relate to and do together, it also affords you the opportunity to connect with others, which can help with feeling isolated or lonely. It is important to confirm what forms of exercise are okay with your doctor before doing any, though. While staying active is generally recommended for pregnant women, some activities may not be safe or your personal condition may not allow you to move around a lot.
2. Set Boundaries
Many people see pregnancy as an invitation to intrude on your private life. Random strangers like store clerks, fellow public transport passengers and other customers waiting in the checkout line may feel free to ask you personal questions or even touch your stomach. Families are often the worst offenders, offering up well-meaning but sometimes unwanted advice and opinions. It is perfectly okay for you to tell them to stop.
3. Take a Timeout
Life doesn’t stop just because you are carrying. In fact, it may become even more hectic as you are flooded with new concerns. When you feel overwhelmed, just stop and take some time for yourself away from the noise and clutter of everyday life. Spend a day doing something you enjoy or just lazing around doing nothing but resting. Pamper yourself a little with a nice bath.
4. Don’t Be Ashamed To Use Your Support System
If you feel the urge to vent or talk about your worries, then give in to it. Do not compress all of your emotions and fears inside until you pop like a shaken soda can in a hot car. Ask your friends and family if you can speak with them. Or if you don’t have any, search out online or local community support groups.
Taking care of your mental wellbeing is as integral for ensuring your baby’s health as maintaining a good physical state. There is nothing wrong with implementing self-care tactics and doing so benefits both you and your unborn infant.