“I advise my clients to seek out stress relieving activities such as prenatal yoga (also a great way to meet other new moms-to-be) and taking walks,” Bergeron said.
“A morning walk with your spouse can be a great way to connect and gives time for the couple to talk about concerns and worries about the big changes ahead.”
She also suggested practicing mindfulness activities, such as meditation and prayer. Planning ahead for different pregnancy and motherhood outcomes is helpful, but mothers also need to make time for themselves every day.
Sara Chana, a board certified lactation consultant and mother of seven children, said in an email that she has helped over 5,000 mothers and children during her career.
“Find me a pregnant woman without stress and I would be shocked,” Chana said.
“I do believe that women are not supported properly during their pregnancy.”
She said that she has noticed three common causes of stress during pregnancy:
1) “Lack of knowledge of what is ‘normal’ during pregnancy.”
2) “Not enough physical support like massage, and pleasure walking.”
3) “Toddlers at home without help like grandparents around like in the 'olden-days.’"
Additional ways that mothers can reduce their stress during pregnancy include eating non-processed food and possibly trying medicinal herbs used to strengthen and calm, she added.
Gretchen Martens, the founder and CEO of Homeward Deployed (a transition coaching program for military families), spoke in an email about some additional stressors for pregnant women.
These could include the deployment of a significant other, taking care of a soldier returned from war, and even coping with a future deployment right after the baby is born.
Other stressors include being in college, loss of a loved one, homelessness and unemployment.
Martens said that she has overcome chronic stress during her pregnancies. She suffered from severe carpal tunnel syndrome and was unable to receive treatment during pregnancy.
The pain of her condition prevented her from sleeping and eating oftentimes. Her husband suffered from depression, and she became depressed and cried often during her pregnancy.