How to cope with a stressful pregnancy

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 12.56.54 PM


Stress in pregnancy can be one of the hardest things to overcome. You know it’s bad for your baby and in knowing that start worrying that your stress might be doing some damage.  And so begins the self-perpetuating cycle of stress.


I remember when I was about 7 weeks pregnant with Eamon I started getting some light spotting and immediately thought the worst.  I remember trying to talk myself down from the stress ‘it will be ok’ ‘stressing isn’t going to help – it’s only going to make it worse’ ‘calm down until you know for sure’ Yet all the while not really believing any of it myself.


One of the beautiful Mums in this community reached out to me the other day as she is newly pregnant with her third child after losing her second a number of years ago.  I could feel her anxiety through the screen.  Not because of her words, but because I know that will be me when I fall pregnant again.  I know it will be a journey of holding my breath, of daily talking myself down from the stress of thinking about what might happen if I lose this baby too.


I know it’s completely natural to feel this way. When you’ve experienced the ultimate pain of a loss the thought of losing another, or heaven forbid one you’ve already held in your arms, becomes unbearable.


The worst (and best) part of pregnancy is that your babies experience of the world at this point comes entirely from you.  So when you’re feeling stressed and anxious they’re feeling it too.  But when you’re feeling loved up and relaxed they get to experience that too.


So… how can you relieve the stress in a complicated pregnancy so that you don’t feel anxious for the entire 9 months?


  1. Breathe

Return to deep breathing whenever you find the panic rising or find yourself feeling panicky about your baby.  Bring your hands to your belly and breathe in for as long as you can feeling the belly rise under your hands.  Then breathe out for as long as you can, noticing the belly soften.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re in your home or out and about, you can return to this whenever you feel those stress levels rising.


2. Love yourself up


If there ever was a time for self-care – this is it.  You have complete permission to go easy on yourself for the next nine months (actually from here on out really).  Want to take a midday nap?  Go for it.  Hire a cleaner.  Cut down hours at work if you can.  Buy in a food delivery.  Try to get rid of or delegate any tasks that bring you stress right now so that when the anxiety of worrying about your baby does come up you’re not just adding it to the pile.

BUT… be careful that you don’t get rid of so much that you just make time to sit around all day worrying.  You do still need to be productive and focused doing things that you do enjoy.  Healthy stress-free distraction is a good thing.


3. Wind things up.


Now is not the time to be taking on new projects or commitments at work or in the community.  To welcome a baby into our lives we need to make the space for them.  It’s a good time to finish projects especially those that take a lot of time and energy.


4.  Trust


Possibly the hardest one of all to action but you really do need to work towards coming to a place where you can trust that what happens in life is all part of a bigger plan.  That what happens is meant to and while we probably can’t see the reason right in front of us when we’re experience pain or worry, it is there.

I really like that saying “What happens in life doesn’t happen TO US, it happens FOR US”.  Everything is a teacher if you allow it to be.  And whilst this doesn’t stop painful experiences from hurting it does help to make them more manageable when they do.


5. Reach out


Don’t think you have suffer through a stressful situation alone. Talk to your partner, especially if they’ve been through the loss with you, I’m sure they are feeling anxious in their own way, even if they don’t show it. (Which I KNOW is incredibly frustrating – but just how they are).

If you can’t connect with a partner over this try talking to a family member or a friend who has experienced this before you.  Sometimes just putting words to fears, helps to to release them.

Don’t have a community you feel safe doing this in?  I host a private Facebook group for all things fertility, pregnancy and birth.  There are so many beautiful women over there who would love to support you.


Today I also want to share with you a short guided meditation that can help to calm you down if you’re feeling stressed during your pregnancy.  In an ideal situation you’d be practicing this every night before bed, or first thing in the morning, but life is not ideal so just work with what you can.  Every couple of days is great, or even just when you feel your anxiety is becoming particularly bad.


I’ve also just added a new yoga class to the studio for dealing with a stressful pregnancy.  This practice is suitable from the first trimester onwards, and is a really beautiful practice to help release the nervous energy that can build up when we’re worrying about something we have no control over. You can access this class over in the studio. Start your free trial here.

5 Responses to “How to cope with a stressful pregnancy

  • What a fantastic post! I had a pretty stressful pregnancy and really struggled because people told me I should have bonded with the baby when he still felt like a bad stomach virus. I wish I’d had this when I was going through it all 🙂

    • Bettina Rae
      8 years ago

      Thanks Tory. I can imagine that when you’re really sick it would be so hard to bond! x

  • You’ve reminded me that I really must start pre-natal yoga again. I’ve loved it in each of my pregnancies!

    • Bettina Rae
      8 years ago

      A good reminder! If you can’t make it to a real studio – I’ve got lots of pregnancy classes in my studio. x

  • New Mumma Kim
    8 years ago

    What a great post! Its so easy to get caught up in the everyday, its great to stop and take a step back. Awesome reminder ❤️

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *