How to Manage Stress and Improve Your Mood During Pregnancy

by | Jun 23, 2017

Pregnancy is a really exciting time—there are so many miraculous things going on in your body. For one, you’re growing another human and what could be cooler than that?! But, despite the fact that pregnancy is supposed to be a time of excitement, joy and elation, many women don’t feel that way. The truth is being pregnant is hard, really hard. Sometimes—in the words of a pregnant friend I was just talking with—you feel like your body has been hijacked. You slowly notice your body changing and you can’t do all of the things you were once able to do. By the third trimester, it’s even difficult to get up out of a chair and forget trying to paint your toenails or take a shower.

So while pregnancy is super exciting, it’s also a really difficult time for many women. And, unfortunately, there’s an immense amount of guilt felt about being less than over-joyed throughout the whole experience. The physical discomforts, hormonal fluctuations, and heavy burden of guilt often cause many women to experience anxiety and depression. Being anxious and depressed during pregnancy doesn’t mean you aren’t overjoyed for the little person you’re growing and about to meet. There’s no reason to feel guilty—pregnancy is your first introduction to motherhood and that everlasting challenge of letting go when you want to hold on.

Getting physically active—although it may be the last thing you feel like doing—can work wonders for the physical and emotional challenges of pregnancy! Exercise during pregnancy has been shown to markedly:

  1. Improve your mood + relieve stress – exercise releases endorphins; natural body chemicals that calm the nervous system and help you to feel balanced
  2. Reduce your risk of pregnancy complications research has shown that pregnant women who are physically active are less likely to develop gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia
  3. Ease lower back pain – your growing baby puts an immense amount of pressure on your pelvis and hip joints. Keeping the body moving throughout pregnancy has been shown to decrease the aches and pains often felt as pregnancy progresses

So, by now you’re wondering what type of exercise you should be doing during pregnancy. Great question! Barre is a great low-impact exercise that is safe for most women to continue with minimal modifications throughout their entire pregnancy. Barre focuses on muscular endurance, with a strong emphasis on hip and shoulder joint-area strength + flexibility. This is the perfect combination to ease the aches and pains that often happen in the hip area, while also improving strength in the upper body to prepare you for lifting and carrying baby after birth!

If you’re in the Philly area, we offer a Baby Bump Barre class the 2nd Saturday of every month. This is a great class to introduce you to the minimal modifications needed to make barre accessible during pregnancy. If you aren’t able to make the prenatal class, the teacher of any barre class will be able to help you make any necessary accommodations or check out the online program.