The Importance of Self-Care in Pregnancy


From bills, bosses and carpools, stress is a part of the standard Americans day.  We can minimize it, we can ignore it, but the effects are still present and can manifest physically in many ways.

Our mental well-being is vital to our physical well-being. In pregnancy, stress can take a devastating toll on our health, and the health of our growing baby. Maintaining mental health and clarity can be a daily challenge for some, without pregnancy.  Stress can cause disease and sickness in your body and effect your growing fetus.

What is your body coping with during times of high chronic stress? When we feel stressed our bodies go into a "fight or flight" mode. The chemicals the body produces during this time include cortisol and other stress hormones that give a burst of energy to your body's muscles and set the heart into a faster pace.

If we can calm ourselves, the body responds normally, the hormones reduce and we can go back to a balanced state of being. If the body remains in cycle of fight or flight, we become over reactive, which can lead to inflammatory responses. Studies show that stress that is not properly treated, can lead to lower birth weight in babies, as well as preterm deliveries. After birth, your baby could show developmental delays due to the chronic stress. Studies are currently being conducted to discover the effects ongoing stress can have on the brain of an unborn fetus. 

birthing tree

Self-care suggestions

  • Proper sleep

  • Staying hydrated

  • Meditation/Prayer

  • Exercise

  • Yoga

  • Journaling about your pregnancy experience

  • Massage

  • Mani/Pedis

 However, self-care is not only pampering or treating yourself to "you time".  Self-care is being aware of how you are coping personally with your day to day life. Finding a  prenatal yoga class in your area can be an excellent addition to your self-care routine. Not only for stress management, but also for your birth!  I always tell my clients my best "breathers" are my yogi moms.

Meditation teaches focus, and breathing techniques that can help calm the body, and bring peace to your mind.  Also, talk with trusted friends or family members. Friends and family members are an invaluable source of support during stressful periods. Oftentimes all we need is a sympathetic ear.

Consider the care of a professional. Therapy can assist in your mental well-being. While stress management does not always require prescription drugs, there are times that we agree they are the best route, Speaking with your OB or psychologist in those instances is necessary.

birthing tree pensacola doulas
safe-haven wellness

Locally, we are privileged to have such a skilled group of clinicians at Santa Rosa Counseling Center. Their very own Melissa D. Garner, LMHC is insightful on true self-care. She offers a monthly wellness workshop that teaches assertiveness, coping skills, self soothing methods, and more.  The skills learned, benefit you and your developing babe! You can find more information on the services provided, by visiting them online at