A Guide To Beat Pregnancy Blues
- During pregnancy, many women find it difficult to maintain a discipline
- Breaking the rut of a monotonous routine and inculcating a positive mindset toward exercise can help women get back on track
- Pregnancy blues are more common than you think
- Proper exercise and lifestyle are key to beating it
We've all seen those pregnancy ads. A mother holding her baby bump or cradling her baby and looking like she's having the time of her life! They are plastered all over pregnancy wellness stores and shops for child care essentials. Such representations fail to capture the dark underbelly of pregnancy.
Not everything is happy-go-lucky during pregnancy! Mood swings, depression, fear, and anxiety are a part of your journey. These ads do not tell you how to get motivated while pregnant or how to stay motivated during pregnancy.
Experiencing a surge of these negative emotions and conditions is quite normal during and after pregnancy. You're not alone in such situations. However, these circumstances often go undetected and can have harmful effects on your health as well as the health of your baby.
Let us take a look at pregnancy blues and how they can affect your health and well-being!
The burden of the blues
Pregnancy blues can be any sort of mood change, anxiety, or feelings of self-doubt that a woman experiences during her gestation. It is quite common and affects 7% of pregnant women. However, the severity of these negative feelings varies from person to person and can be rectified.
Who is at risk?
Although the blues can hit anybody, certain risk factors predispose some women to these negative effects.
Here are a few factors that will put you at risk:
- Previous history of depression
- Existing anxiety
- Unintended pregnancy
- Social isolation
- Little to no support from the parent
If you have any of the following factors lingering in your life, then reach out for help and nip pregnancy blues in the bud!
Signs To Watch Out For
On some days you might get the feeling of not getting out of bed. All of us get such feelings, and it's usually no cause of concern. However, the increased frequency of such emotions, coupled with negative thoughts is a matter of worry.
Apart from this, pregnancy blues have some sure-shot signs. Keep a lookout for these signs and if you feel that you have these, then do not hesitate to reach out for help!
- Changes in your sleep cycle
- Irregular appetite
- Erratic energy levels
- Decreased libido
But did you know that these changes are also commonly seen in emotionally healthy pregnant women too? This fact leads to the misdiagnosis and false reporting of this condition. Make sure to discuss this with your doctor if you have the following signs and symptoms!
How Does It Affect Your Health?
As mentioned before, the severity of your emotional turmoil can vary. This not only affects your mental well-being but also has an impact on your physical health. A troubled state of mind will often lower your energy levels and present hurdles in your self-care routines.
This could lead to negative pregnancy outcomes and adversely affect your health. Furthermore, if left unchecked, these can lead to depression. Once you reach this stage, you will find yourself facing some of the following situations:
- Feeling of guilt, worthlessness
- Suicidal thoughts
- Risk of eating disorders
- The tendency of substance abuse
Due to all these factors, it is important to manage your mood in addition to your physical health for a happier and stronger pregnancy!
How to stay motivated while pregnant
An active lifestyle with a good diet and healthy habits is the mantra to keep pregnancy blues away. Seems simple right? As easy as it sounds, maintaining such a lifestyle is quite the task.
With your body already burdened and your mood diving, it becomes difficult to stay motivated and consistent throughout your pregnancy. Fret not, we've got you covered. Read on to know a few tips and exercises to stay motivated and active for a safer, healthier, and better pregnancy!
Embrace positivity with these activities
Most people are abreast of the benefits of exercise on physical and mental health. However, doing the same exercises day in and day out when you are suffering from pregnancy blues can seem cumbersome.
If you are feeling the same, it's time to switch up your routine! Here are a few minor changes and inclusions you can bring into your regimen to get yourself back on track and kick your pregnancy blues away:
Bask in the light
"Get in enough sunlight!" is a bit of advice that we've often heard but seems so insignificant that most of us ignore it. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of getting enough adequate sunlight for your mental health.
Countless studies suggest that getting in enough sunlight can help uplift mood and reduce depression. How does this work, you ask? Sunlight exposure is known to cause the production and release of a molecule called serotonin in the body.
Serotonin, also known as the happiness hormone, is responsible for feelings of joy that you experience whenever something good happens. Thus, getting in enough sunlight can help you stay positive and motivated throughout your pregnancy
Furthermore, the vitamin D that you get from sunlight can help strengthen your bones, muscles, and joints! So make sure to get in enough sunlight for a happier pregnancy!
Swim your troubles away!
Are you an aqua baby? Then this particular advice suits you best! Swimming in a pool or waddling around in safe and clean waters can have positive effects on your state of mind as well as improve your physical health.
Evidence shows that an open water swimming session helps immediately improve mood and in the long run helps remedy depression and other mental ailments. Furthermore, swimming is a low-impact sport and is safe to do during pregnancy.
Apart from your mental health, swimming also aids in developing muscle mass, improving cardiovascular strength, and preserving joint health. A multitude of benefits available by just spending an hour in the pool
So put on your swimming costume and go for a dip in your nearest pool!
Express to destress!
Are you a workaholic? If so then at some point you must have wondered about the changes in your life that will happen during pregnancy and after the birth of your little one. "Will I be able to work normally during my pregnancy? Will I lose career opportunities because of my pregnancy?" Such thoughts begin to plague your mind and bottling them up can severely affect your functioning and can make you hit rock bottom.
Expressing these worries and emotions is the key to destressing yourself. A good way to convey these thoughts is through your hobbies and talents. Enjoy painting? Get a canvas and paint your heart out.
Love music? Take a singing class or learn an instrument. Even half an hour of doing what you love and spending some much-needed time with yourself will give you an immense boost in confidence and motivation, and will help kick away those pregnancy blues!
Breathe… breathe in the air
Meditation coupled with breathing exercises is a sure-shot way of improving your concentration and boosting your confidence. Sitting in peace and just focusing on your breathing can help calm the emotional turmoil within and will help you stay motivated throughout your pregnancy.
Recent research has shown that doing breathing exercises like diaphragmatic breathing has a positive effect on depression, anxiety, and other mood-related conditions that are seen in pregnant women.
Make sure to include a 10-15 minute session of meditation and breathing exercises in your daily routine for a happier and stronger pregnancy!
A dance for the blues
Feeling sad during pregnancy? There is no better way to beat these pregnancy blues than with a dance! Grooving to the beats and letting yourself to melodious music is a great way to uplift your mood as well as your physical strength.
Experts suggest that dance is a safe and effective way to get in some exercise and is completely safe for your baby. Furthermore, dancing is also known to cause the release of happiness hormones such as serotonin and dopamine.
Due to a surge in such hormones, you will most likely experience an improvement in your mood after the first couple of sessions. Apart from this, dance is known to strengthen your cardiovascular system and your muscles.
With the added strength in your muscles and a better mood, you will be all set to welcome your little one into your life. Keep in mind that not all dance forms are safe during pregnancy. Only low-intensity forms of dance are suitable. So consult your doctor before you pick up those dance shoes and hit the dance floor.
Find your stride
Staying motivated and consistent with your exercise regimen is key to beating pregnancy blues. Finding the right rhythm and balance in your regimen will help you stay motivated and, in the end, aid you in beating pregnancy blues. Read on to know more about tips to stay motivated throughout pregnancy!
Don't exclude cheat days
Most women carefully chalk out diet and exercise regimens to ensure the health and safety of their little ones. All this preparation and planning that you do can also cause a lot of stress which can lead to mental exhaustion.
You must know when to take a breather! Take some time off your daily routine of diet and exercise, and catch up on your favorite show. Have a scoop of your favorite ice cream. Do anything that appeals to your heart!
So make sure to have a cheat day included in your daily regimen for a mentally and physically strong pregnancy!
Make exercise a social event
Staying on the path of fitness is tough for anyone, let alone a pregnant woman. Try forming a group of pregnant women who are going through similar struggles like yours.
There are a plethora of prenatal classes that you can enroll in and interact with such women. Just knowing that you are not alone in this acts like support and motivation for one another.
So try enrolling in a yoga or Pilates class to reach your fitness goals and beat those pregnancy blues!
Look at the positive
A good trick to keep yourself motivated is to look at all the positive aspects of exercise! Regular and safe exercise during pregnancy is shown to benefit not only your mental health but also your physical health. Keep reading to find out more!
Warm-ups and Cool-downs for a happy workout
Are you someone who is used to exercising? Then you must know the importance of a good warm-up and cool-down session before and after exercising. For those who don't know, even during the gentlest of exercise, your muscles are under tension.
To help them and yourself do these exercises effectively, make sure to include a short warm-up session before you start your routine. Furthermore, after a successful session, your muscles and joints are still under tension. Include a cool-down stretch after a workout to avoid injury and soreness the day after!
Include such 5-minute sessions before and after your regime to keep soreness and inconsistency away!
After reading so far, you must've realized that pregnancy blues can hit anyone at any given time of their pregnancy. If no action is taken then this can lead to negative pregnancy outcomes and the risk of developing depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders in the long run.
There is a simple mantra to beat these pregnancy blues! Work out ways how to get motivated while pregnant and also how to stay motivated during pregnancy. Having an active and healthy lifestyle is that mantra. Despite knowing this, most women fail to find their pregnancy workout motivation.
A simple way to find your pregnancy motivation is to include some small habits in your lifestyle. Getting in enough sunlight, taking a dip in the water, embracing your creative side - all these activities can add a twist to your daily routine and help you beat pregnancy blues!
Apart from this, changing your mentality towards exercise can also help you find the pregnancy workout motivation that you were looking for! So gear up and try to adopt these practices for a happier and stronger pregnancy!
Keep reading to know about more ways to improve your well-being.
Did you like our Article?
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- Fiskin G et al. Effect of diaphragmatic breathing exercise on psychological parameters in gestational diabetes: a randomised controlled trial. European journal of integrative medicine. 2018 Oct 1;23:50-6.
- Exercise in pregnancy. Available from: NHS