Tips for Emotional Well-Being During Pregnancy

I got a lot of wonderful responses to my question about emotional well-being during pregnancy (associated with my giveaway of the book Birth Space, Safe Place). So, courtesy of a lot of wise women, here are some top tips for supporting your emotional well-being during pregnancy and birth:

  • Peaceful Beginnings doula services shared “I think my best tip for emotional well-being during pregnancy (and life in general) is to let go of guilt. We can only do the best we can with the information we have at the time, no more, no less.”
  • Yasmel shared that her most helpful tip, “would be to find whatever gives you positive thoughts and use it, a lot. I loved the book Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and whenever I started second guessing my homebirth decision, I would open it up and just read the birth stories in it.”
  • Heather appreciated a helpful tip from her sister: “I was having alot of people question my birthing choices and telling me that my baby and I were going to die. None of which happened. She told me that ‘you can’t expect people to agree with your choices or behave respectfully about them. All you can do is know that you are doing what’s right for you and your child and that is all the matters. Don’t let them change your mind with fear. It has no place in childbirth.’”
  • And I especially enjoyed Ahmie’s advice: “remember that cats purr while giving birth. Figure out what makes you ‘purr’ while you’re pregnant and find ways to do more of that as well as to bring those tools to the birth-space with you.”
  • One of the most simple and yet important tips was shared by bubbledumpster, “Trust yourself,” and echoed in several other comments, such as earthmothergypsy who said, “I think one of the best helps emotionally is to encourage mamas to trust in themselves, their bodies and their babies. By giving them support in a way that they don’t feel undermined they can build the above trust in themselves.” And inoakpark who said, ” learning to trust your body (and trusting the people who will be with you at your birth to hold that space), is vital for an emotionally secure pregnancy and birth.”
  • bee in the balm offered another elegantly simple tip “to breathe, just take the time to come back to center and be and breathe.”
  • Nicole d shared that her best tip is “meditation on good/safe birth… the normalcy and miraculous nature of it. So much of pregnancy stress is uncertainty and fear of the birth process. The more you can trust in the process of pregnancy and birth, the more joyful and peaceful pregnancy can be.”
  • For Lee-Ann, “emotional wellbeing came with knowledge, the more I read and the more I normalized the birth process in my mind, the more research I did, the more confident and at peace I became.”
  • Rebekah made an excellent point about honest during pregnancy: “I think being open and honest with yourself and talking to your baby openly helps. It benefits no one to ‘pretend’ like everything is perfect and is okay to have trials, doubts, and fears.”
  • Jessica benefited from midwifery care: “One of the things that helped me a lot was having a midwife that I knew and trusted implicitly. I knew that my body and my baby would know what to do, and that I had a wonderful woman who would let it all unfold!”
  • And whoz_your_doula pointed out the benefit of taking time for yourself: “For me that took the form of meditation and prayer. The early morning is my time for deep reflection before the house begins to stir.”
  • A similar tip was shared by Gentle Beginnings: “I feel it is very important for a woman’s emotional well being to take a few minutes each day to spend time alone. To sit quietly and think about the precious child growing inside them, to disconnect from the world, to envision how peaceful they want their birth to be, to take a stroll in nature and to connect with their inner self. I think we can all benefit from these simple suggestions, but feel it is especially important during pregnancy and childbirth.”
  • Helpful for birth educators as well as couples, Janet shared that her favorite tip is “teaching the mom and her partner to work together towards open and honest communication before hand. I find a lot of the mothers I teach think, ‘Oh, well we talked about it once and I think we are on the same page,’ only to be completely blind-sided afterwards. Keeping these lines of communication open before, during and after pregnancy makes for a much better emotional state for all.”
  • Jamie moved us back to the trust theme: “Trust yourself. Trust that your body knows how to be pregnant and how to give birth. Be positive in the changes your body is going through and how you are being prepared for motherhood in all facets of your being. Know that you can do this—you are doing it!”
  • And another excellent and simple tip was shared by Heather Richins: “My tip is to make sure you stay well fed and hydrated. It is hard to feel good emotionally if you don’t feel good physically.”
  • Deborah had more than one to share: “1) Eat well: increase protein and raw fruits & veggies, and drink lots of water. Decrease refined foods, white flour products and sugars. 2) Exercise: walk, swim, yoga, etc. 3) Talk: find someone you trust and be honest about how you are feeling.”
  • And finally, Kathy offered a comprehensive collection of tips: “to be conscious of their needs each day. This includes physical,emotional, and spiritual. For the physical; Eat well. Whole foods, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables. Protein intakes needs to be adequate for a pregnant woman on a daily basis. Eating often to keep your blood sugars level is especially important for warding off mood swings. For the emotional; Trust yourself and others who care about you. Surround yourself with positive people who support you in what your doing. Communicate your needs and wants. Be willing to be honest and vulnerable. Pregnancy can often ‘stir the pot.’ Being willing to work out your feeling and talk to someone you trust and bring about personal growth and sometimes, bring about healing the past. For the spiritual; It is just as important for the spirit to be fed, as it for the body. Fellowshipping with others of the same faith is uplifting to the spirit. Take time for reflections and meditations each day. Keep a journal.”

I appreciated all the responses and think that emotional well-being is such an important subject. I feel like, especially with a first baby, it is an often overlooked element of birth preparation—a lot of time and energy is spent on the physical health of the pregnant woman, but the emotions are assumed to kind of take care of themselves, to perhaps be no one’s business, or to be dismissed summarily as “crazy pregnancy hormones” and “mood swings of pregnancy!”

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