I’ve said it before, but I am a huge mental health advocate. I have close family members that suffer from mental illness, so I make it a priority to take care of my own mental health. Taking care of mental health during pregnancy is especially important. There are so many hormones rushing through our bodies during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Making your mental health a priority will not only help prepare you for labor and birth, but for when baby comes!
In this post I share how I am taking care of my mental health during pregnancy. Thank you Kindred Bravely for sponsoring this post.
Exercise + stretching
Being a Kinesiology and Nursing major has allowed me to understand the importance of keeping our bodies moving. Exercise is not only important for our physical health, but it it plays a major role in our mental health.
When you exercise, hormones called endorphins are released. Endorphins are “feel good” chemicals that help reduce pain and create an overall feeling of euphoria.
There are several other hormones that are regulated during exercise and can impact mental health such as serotonin (to help us sleep), brain-derived neurotrophic factor/BDNF (for brain cell growth), and more! You can read more about exercise hormones in this article.
Stretching is also extremely important during pregnancy. It can have similar benefits to general exercise. But what I mostly find with stretching is that it helps alleviate pregnancy related pain. When pain is reduced, it decreases stress and has a positive effect on mental well being.
Here are some pregnancy stretches I do daily to help relieve physical and mental stress:
I also want to point out that women tend to obsesses over weight gain during pregnancy. I definitely have that tendency myself. I’ve come to realize that as long as I’m doing what I can, when I can, then that’s what matters. Stressing ourselves out about weight during pregnancy will not help our mental state!
Eat brain healthy foods
Food is life guys. For real. Ever notice how glorious that white chocolate mocha tastes in the moment…then to realize an hour later you feel like crap. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good latte every now and then, but it’s all about balance.
Our bodies and especially our brains, need good nourishment. Prenatal vitamins are great for closing in the gap that we miss, but nothing beats getting the vitamins from the source: good food.
Some brain healthy foods I try to eat frequently are oily fish (salmon is my favorite), berries, nuts and seeds, whole grains, avocados, eggs and lots of green vegetables like broccoli, kale and spinach.
Also, if you’re a chocolate lover – dark chocolate is high in antioxidants. So instead of grabbing that cake for dessert, lately I’ve been snacking on Lindt Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt bars. SO good.
Your body and your brain need that vitamin D! Your lungs need that fresh air and your soul needs that sunshine. I am definitely one of those people that loathes a rainy day because it means being stuck inside. I notice a distinct difference in my overall mood when I can’t get outside for at least a little bit every day.
This is so hard to do right now. Between the virus plus the current social and political issues going on in the world, it can be extremely draining.
I recently decided to try and filter out all that is bringing me down lately. Being pregnant can be stressful enough, the last thing I want to do is stress out my mind and body even more with everyone else’s negativity.
Politely ask those around you to limit the negative conversation. Surround yourself with positive people who uplift you. Say kind and positive words to yourself every single day. This will do wonders for your mental health.
Meditate + pray often
If you’ve read my last few posts then you know I am a huge fan of meditating. I am also a Christian and believe in the power of prayer. When I am struggling, I turn to God and prayer. This post isn’t to lecture you on faith, but I do believe having faith in something plays an important role in mental health.
This is especially true for pregnant women. I know that I personally go through bouts of anxiety, doubt and fear. Childbirth itself, and becoming a new mom is exciting but it’s also terrifying. This is why I pray and meditate multiple times a day. It helps me feel connected to myself, my baby and to God.
Take time for YOU
YOU matter. YOU are a hard working woman. YOU are a pregnant queen! There is absolutely nothing wrong with treating yourself to a mani/pedi, a nice prenatal massage or an hour out shopping at Target by yourself.
Once you become a mom (or a mom once again), your life is going to be consumed by all things baby. Allow yourself this time during your pregnancy to get in some alone time while you can!
Ask for help
Some days I feel like this is all I ever do 😂 But it’s so important! As you get farther along into your pregnancy journey, the harder it is to perform everyday tasks.
I remember during my first pregnancy, my husband had to tie my shoes every morning before I went to work! Now that I’m on my second pregnancy, I need help with a lot of things when it comes to caring for my daughter. Being at home with her all day every day can be taxing, so there is no shame in asking your partner to take over in the evenings.
Ask a friend or family member to watch your other kids one day a week so you can relax or get things done. This will take a huge weight off your shoulders and decrease some stress!
And my number one advice for taking care of mental health during pregnancy is to have fun! Go on a “baby moon” with your husband/partner. Go on date nights. Dress up the bump. Plan out your baby’s nursery on Pinterest. Just enjoy the beautiful moments of being pregnant!
Taking care of your mental health during pregnancy is so important mamas. Not only will your body appreciate it, but your baby will too! What are some ways you take care of your mental health?
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