Stressed Out? 12 Tips to Help You Deal With Stress During Pregnancy

4. Do your homework. Learn as much about pregnancy and its ramifications as you can. Read, talk to friends, attend classes and talk to your doctor or midwife to learn as much as possible not only about the biology of pregnancy but about its emotional implications as well. In this way, if you do begin to experience new and disturbing emotions you'll at least not be surprised by them.

5. Give yourself permission to relax.
This means making time specifically for relaxation, not doing so only when the odd spare moment occurs. Take time to do whatever makes you feel good. Read a book, see a movie, have a massage, sleep in late when you can. Each of us has our own means of personal "profit taking." Make sure you do some, do your best to enjoy it and by no means allow yourself to feel guilty about it.

6. Teach yourself -- or get taught -- relaxation techniques.
It has been shown by many researchers, notably Herbert Benson, M.D., and Alice Domar, PhD., that by learning to elicit a state of deep physical rest on command, both your body and your mind return to a calm, relaxed state. Heart rate, blood pressure, stress hormone levels and muscle tension will drop. The mind experiences a marked diminution in tension and perception of stress. This is called the Relaxation Response. Techniques for eliciting the response can be learned from health care providers or by reading the excellent description of it in Dr. Alice Domar's Self-Nurture.

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