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 buy. So much to do! During this time, remember to take care of yourself: breathe deeply, relax and concentrate on your pregnancy.
Here are some tips:
- Keep moving. Exercise can help reduce your stress and prevent pregnancy discomforts. If you are shopping for gifts, walk an extra loop around the mall before you head out to your car. Park further away in the parking lot (this way you can also avoid some of the traffic of shoppers trying to park close to the mall entrance).
- Holidays are a time for delicious desserts and heavy meals. Before you sit down and indulge in your family dinner, eat a healthy breakfast and lunch earlier in the day.
- Extra sleep is important during this time, but taking breaks is just as important. If you have some free time between wrapping gifts, 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 are 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?
Holidays can be stressful, but remember to take time for yourself.
Have questions? Email AskUs@marchofdimes.org