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Stress Management in Pregnancy - A Resource Guide

Preparing for baby, navigating pregnancy, and even just life in general can all add stress to your day. Yet when it comes to staying healthy, managing your daily stress is just as important as eating well and exercising. Stress management can also help you toward your specific pregnancy, labor, and birth needs and goals–from pain relief in labor to fighting for every extra week of your high-risk pregnancy.

Here are some good building blocks to get you started:

 

Meditation and Mindfulness:

Let your brain breath! Meditation and mindfulness practice has been demonstrated to reduce stress and anxiety associated with pregnancy, improve immune function, decrease pain perception, decrease risk of postpartum depression, and improve birth outcomes.

  • Expectful – An amazing meditation and mindfulness app that’s specifically geared towards fertility, pregnancy, and new motherhood.
  • Mindful Birthing – An in-person class or a book/audiobook that dives into the the practice of mindfulness and meditation from pregnancy to parenting. Research on moms who took the class Mind in Labor (MIL): Working with Pain in Childbirth found that these women had an improved view of their birth experience and a reduced risk of postpartum depression.
    • (BONUS! Bloomlife mamas can get a free copy Mindful Birthing as an ebook or audiobook! Drop us a note if you already have Bloomlife or sign up with code – Bloomlife+MB – and we’ll send you your copy after you order.)

 

Prenatal Yoga:

Yoga can be another form of meditation practice to ease the mind. Prenatal yoga practice has been demonstrated to decrease stress, shorten labor, and improve birth outcomes.

  • Jane Austin Yoga – The mother of prenatal yoga! If you’re in San Francisco, definitely check out her classes. If you’re not, bring Jane into your living room with her video.   
    • (BONUS! Bloomlife mamas can access Jane’s video on us!  Drop us a note if you already have Bloomlife or sign up with code – Bloomlife+JA – and we’ll send you the link after you order.)

 

Birth Education classes:

How our brains interpret stress is often based on our sense of control and context. In pregnancy, especially for labor and birth, this can come from having better information about the process, the options, and the possibilities. A comprehensive birth class covers these aspects, and can also help you and your partner align and become a better team for whatever may come in that labor and delivery room.

  • What makes the most sense for you is totally personal, but here is a good resource to see the breakdown of the main types of childbirth classes.

 

Labor support:

Same message as above – keep your brain at peace with the big unknowns of labor and birth by having an expert by your side. Research has linked continuous labor support with lower chance of Cesarean birth, shorter time in labor and more satisfaction with the birth experience. While the direct links between labor support and stress remains to be studied, I’m going to go ahead and assume they will make that connection someday soon.

 

Social Support:

It can be stressful to feel like you are all on your own out there. You’re not! Social support dampens how our brain interprets and responds to stress. Support during pregnancy has been shown to improve mama’s labor, mental health, and the health of her baby.

  • Bloomlife Moms Club – It takes a village to raise up a mama, and we’re here for you. The Bloomlife Moms Club is a judgement-free space filled with moms like you, as well as birth experts available to answer any questions you might have and help you find the support that you need.

 

Specialized High Risk pregnancy Support:  

Sometimes you need a little extra love to get through a particularly rough pregnancy. For this, it can help to connect with someone who has been there (and then become certified to help you).

  • Parijat Deshpande – Parijat literally wrote the book on how to calm your brain and decrease your stress when facing a high-risk pregnancy. She provides 1:1 counseling but also has a podcast focused on stress and fertility, infertility, and beyond.
    • (BONUS! Bloomlife mamas can get a free copy of Parijat’s book, Pregnancy Brain. Drop us a note if you already have Bloomlife or sign up with code – Bloomlife+PB – and we’ll send you your copy after you order.)
  • Jessica Fisher, Bed Rest Life Coach – Jessica provides guidance and coaching to mamas on bed rest. You can read her inspiring story here.
    • (BONUS! Bloomlife mamas can get a free session with Jessica. Drop us a note if you already have Bloomlife or sign up with code – BRLCshipfree – and we’ll set you up with Jessica after you order.)

 

Insight and Feedback:

Checking in with your body can help you find balance and work toward reducing your daily stress.  Measurements such as Heart Rate Variability (HRV), a physiological change associated with stress, can provide a deeper level of awareness about how aspects of daily life positively and negatively affect your body.

  • Bloomlife Mind-Body – We’re working on a feature that measures HRV and reflects this information to help you check in on the positive and negative energy affecting your daily well being. Read more and sign up to be the first to try it out HERE.

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Molly Dickens, PhD

About Molly

Molly has her PhD in Physiology and spent over a decade as an academic research scientist slightly obsessed with the colliding worlds of brain science, hormones, stress and the reproductive system. Nowadays she heads up Content and Community at Bloomlife and edits Preg U. Science is still her jam and she can't help but continue to dive into the research world to find interesting bits about pregnancy and parenting.

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