Low-stress pregnancy

During pregnancy your body will likely become more sensitive to external stimuli such as smells, tastes and textures. It’s no wonder that pregnant women also report a heightened physical and emotional reaction to stress. Because much of your energy is going toward growing your baby, now it’s even more important to handle your body with care. Follow these tips from Toronto-based life coach, Ellen White, to achieve a low-stress pregnancy.

1. Ramp up communication with the people around you, including your partner, employer and friends. Talking about how you’re feeling—rather than letting those sometimes negative thoughts swirl around in your head—will relieve some stress instantly, says White. “Plus, when people know how you’re feeling, they’ll be more equipped to offer support.”

2. Get lots of rest. If there’s ever a time to master the art of the catnap, pregnancy is it. When your mind and body rest, your cells are able to heal, repair and rejuvenate—giving your body the strength it needs to grow your baby. Rest can also be achieved in the office environment. Simply take a deep breath, relax your shoulders, close your eyes and take whatever time you can spare to focus on nothing but your breathing and your body.

3. Indulge in a massage. A skilled massage therapist will know how to release sore muscles, while also keeping baby safe. This scheduled “down-time” is not only rejuvenating, but also offers an opportunity to connect with your body and baby.

4. Re-evaluate your job, if it’s the cause of your stress, and consider what options you may have for flexibility as your due-date approaches, advises White. “Sometimes all it takes is an extra hour of sleep in the morning, or the option to work from home one day a week in order to reduce stress significantly.”

5. Finally, be careful not to reach for junk food in order to beat stress, says White. A healthy, well-balanced diet will give your body the fuel and energy it needs to cope with a busy life. But, indulging those midnight cravings once in awhile is fine, as long as you keep your overall nutrition in mind.