Besides the usual stress of pregnancy and getting ready for your baby, the holidays often add more pressure, which can take a toll on your health. Feeling stressed is common during pregnancy, but too much can make you have trouble sleeping, have headaches or lose your appetite. High levels of stress that continue for a long time may cause health problems like high blood pressure, which can increase the chances of having a premature baby.
December is a very busy time: there are friends and families to see, holiday gatherings to attend, meals to cook and gifts to give. So much to do! During this time, remember to take care of yourself: breathe deeply, try to relax and put yourself and your pregnancy first.
Here are some tips:
- Take breaks in your busy schedule. Make some time to put your feet up, read a book or magazine or watch a favorite TV show. Even just a 15 minute break can help you relax before your next task.
- Ask for help. Holidays are a time of giving, but also receiving. Accept help when a friend or family member offers, and ask for help when you’re feeling tired or overwhelmed
- Cut back on activities you don’t need to do. Instead of spending time making a holiday dessert, why not have your favorite bakery do it for you?
- Keep moving. Physical activity can help reduce your stress and help ease some pregnancy discomforts. If you’re shopping for gifts, walk an extra loop around the mall before you head out to your car. And park farther away in the parking lot—this means you’ll walk a little more and can help you avoid some of the traffic of shoppers trying to park close to the mall entrance). Avoid overdoing too much and pay attention to your body and how you feel. Stop your activity and call your provider if you don’t feel well.
- Eat a healthy breakfast and lunch before your big holiday meal later in the day.
Holidays can be stressful, but planning ahead and using these tips can help you get through this busy season. To learn more about how to reduce stress during pregnancy, visit marchofdimes.org