There are hundreds of pregnancy books out there, all telling us what to expect when expecting (pun intended?). While I would be either really enthused about pregnancy, a really fast reader, or just really curious, I didn’t read them all. There’s so much conflicting information on pregnancy (Can I eat fish? Can I get in a hot tub? Can I drink coffee?), that it becomes extremely overwhelming to know exactly what to do and what not to do. This post isn’t giving medical advice, I’m not acting like a nutritionist or OB-GYN, nor is it to downplay the importance of knowledge (hey, that’s really helped us push out healthy babies) but what I can tell you is that while many authors have good intentions, sometimes the plethora of information does the opposite to pregnant moms. Information overload makes us worry, it makes us overthink, and too much conflicting information stresses. us. out.
When I was pregnant, I felt like I was entering into a world of the unknown (like many moms, am I right?). Is my baby going to be ok? Is my baby going to be ok? Is my baby going to be ok? I forgot to chill-out and know that all I can do is my best. That coupled with conflicting advice from literature, advice from your friends who have been pregnant, it sometimes feels like there’s just too much to take in!
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in what is LOGICAL (left side of the brain) that we don’t do what’s NATURAL (right side of the brain). Being too left-brainy and not allowing ourselves to go with the flow does have impacts on your baby, and it can decrease the natural progression of labour requiring us to need medical intervention. Pregnancy and labour are right side of the brain activities, like sex (letting loose). Having continuous support throughout pregnancy (and the fourth trimester – once baby is born), knowing what your options are when it comes to birth and labour, having relaxation techniques all play a role in enabling pregnant moms to kick-back, reduce stress and have healthier babies.
While it’s easy to get wrapped up in what to do and what not to do, just take a breath (hey, breathing is a relaxation technique!), listen to some music, and get into a “right-brain” mode. If you’ve come across conflicting information or are genuinely worried about your baby, stop any behaviours that are in question of being harmful and talk to your healthcare/birthing professional. Our bodies were made for this! Advances in science and healthcare are important for providing evidence on what’s healthy during pregnancy and what’s not and your birth professional is there to support you for medical questions. Other types of support, like emotional and physical are also available to you though labour coaches, birth assistants or doulas.
4 Ways to Reduce Stress in Pregnancy and Labour:
- Don’t try to read the entire library shelf. Accept there are things you will know and things that you just need to ask your healthcare provider about. Do educate your self, but don’t stress if you don’t get it all in. Your healthcare provider has likely provided you with important resources. When in doubt, check it out (with your doctor/midwife!).
- Learn breathing techniques. Deep breathing gives you and your baby a heavy dose of oxygen. It’s also calming. Relaxing. Anti-stressing.
- Listen to music. We all have a jam that calms us. Find yours.
- Make a flexible plan for labour/delivery. No birth goes exactly as planned. Figure out your priorities (with a healthcare provider, partner or birth companion like a doula). Accept the fact that you won’t know exactly how your day will unfold, but trust your self and your partner to know you will get through absolutely anything your labour throws at you.
In summary: if you’re pregnant and are confused about information being presented to you, stop any behaviour/habit in question and talk to your healthcare provider until they clear your mind. More importantly, doing research and changing lifestyle habits for baby is important (absolutely!), but don’t feel like you have to read every book on the shelf: there will be things we don’t know about, how can we read about someone else’s experience when ours is completely different? Know how important using “right side” of the brain is and focus on developing proper relaxation techniques is during pregnancy and labour, it will result in a better birth experience for you and your little love.