Stress during pregnancy linked to personality disorders in new study: Here's six tips to help stress less

Stress during pregnancy linked to personality disorders in new study: Here's six tips to help stress less

Whether it’s financial obligations, family worries or long working hours, everyone has some stress in their life – and we know it’s not great for our health, especially if you happen to be pregnant.

Now a new study – published in The British Journal of Psychiatry – suggests the children of women who suffer moderate stress during pregnancy are around 3x more likely to develop a personality disorder by the age of 30, and around 10x more likely if the mother reported severe stress levels.

It’s not always easy, but dealing with stress via healthy tools and coping strategies can help.

Here are some tips and ideas for fostering some rest and relaxation during pregnancy…

Stress can be unhealthy during pregnancy (iStock/PA)
Stress can be unhealthy during pregnancy (iStock/PA)

1. Talk about it

Anticipating a big life change like the birth of a child can cause emotional stress for many expectant mothers.

It’s also totally normal to feel anxious about the idea of going into labour – whether it’s the fear of pain, complications during birth, or simply the unknown that keeps you awake at night.

If your worries are overwhelming you though, it’s a good idea to talk through your thoughts with a therapist.

A problem shared is a problem half (iStock/PA)
A problem shared is a problem half (iStock/PA)

“Share your stress and worries with someone else, such as a therapist, and remember your GP is always there for you too,” says Dr Stephanie Ooi, GP at MyHealthcare Clinic (myhealthcareclinic.com). “We are particularly interested in a woman’s mental health during pregnancy, so if you feel things are getting too much, then please see your GP.”

2. Start saying ‘no’

It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others, and thanks to social media, we can often feel the need to keep up with mummy bloggers and expectant celebrities, who seem able to juggle everything with ease.

Remember though, what you see online is often a filtered version of reality and now is the time to prioritise your physical and mental health.

Don’t say yes to every social engagement, take a break from social media if you need to, ask friends and family to chip in with house work and put rest, relaxation and early nights at the top of your agenda.

3.  Adopt meditation and breathing techniques

A really simple way to chill out while you’re on-the-go is to learn some breathing techniques.

Apps like Calm and Stop, Breathe & Think can teach you the basics, and you can tap into them anytime, anywhere.

“These techniques can really help to de-stress at the end of the long day,” says Ooi. “Pregnancy yoga may also be something you enjoy.”

View this post on Instagram

Take a deep breath. 🌊

A post shared by Calm (@calm) on

4. Book a pregnancy massage

Who doesn’t love a good excuse to book in for a pampering session?

The NHS say there is evidence to support the use of massage for treating anxiety during pregnancy, but there are still times during pregnancy when they may not be safe.

For instance, you shouldn’t have your abdomen massaged during the first three months of pregnancy. It’s also not advised in high-risk pregnancies.

View this post on Instagram

Had the pleasure of giving a lovely Olive Mamas pregnancy massage last night. It’s such an honour to be given the opportunity to spend time with mums-to-be during this exciting period, to be able to support them and make them feel special in the last few weeks before baby is due to arrive. An Olive Mamas massage is intended to create a true feeling of relaxation, using Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic Mother’s Massage Oil for a soothing, nourishing massage and complimenting it with a delicate spiral of that precious bump using Neal’s Yard Remedies Mother’s Balm, which when used regularly, can help to prevent stretch marks. Olive Mamas is available from 13 weeks onwards. If you have had any complications during your pregnancy please check with your GP first that massage is suitable. It can be a wonderful way of working out those pregnancy woes such as swollen hands and feet, aching back, sides and shoulders and headaches. Contact for further info and booking. Www.theoliveretreat.co.uk

A post shared by The Olive Retreat (@theoliveretreat) on

If you’ve spoken with your GP or midwife about it and have been given the green light, the next step is to find a qualified practitioner in pregnancy massage.

“Regular massage throughout pregnancy can not only ease away tension in muscles, but have a significant impact on the nervous system, helping to relieve stress and anxiety,” says John Holman, director of massage training at The Massage Company (massagecompany.co.uk). “This often results in more restful sleep for mum.”

5. Connect with other mums

If you’re feeling stressed about your pregnancy, it might feel like you’re the only one that’s going through it.

It’s a good idea to try and find local support groups in your area where you can meet others who relate to what you’re going through.

Apps like Mush can link you up with other new mums or expectant mothers in or around your postcode.

Even joining online forums like Mumsnet can help you feel connected to a larger community.

Find your tribe (iStock/PA)
Find your tribe (iStock/PA)

6. Arm yourself with information

Sometimes the most stressful thing about pregnancy is not knowing how your body is changing and your baby is developing.

This is where ante-natal classes can help.

Ante-natal can help in a variety of ways, like coaching through birth and answering any questions you might have.

“If you have any worries about pregnancy symptoms or what you can or cannot eat, then look to accurate resources such as the NHS.

Or see your midwife or GP for further advice,” says Dr Ooi.

- Press Association

[readmore]948708[readmore]

More on this topic

Experts recommend zero alcohol for pregnant womenExperts recommend zero alcohol for pregnant women

10 babies born to first-time mothers aged 50 plus in 201710 babies born to first-time mothers aged 50 plus in 2017

Healthy eaters more likely to exercise in pregnancyHealthy eaters more likely to exercise in pregnancy

Chrissy Teigen felt ’embarrassed’ suffering from postnatal depressionChrissy Teigen felt ’embarrassed’ suffering from postnatal depression

More in this Section

This is how to make black lipstick work in real life, according to a catwalk make-up proThis is how to make black lipstick work in real life, according to a catwalk make-up pro

These are the dishes to try if you’re going to Tokyo for the Rugby World CupThese are the dishes to try if you’re going to Tokyo for the Rugby World Cup

This Much I Know: Actor Aislin McGuckinThis Much I Know: Actor Aislin McGuckin

Wedding on the Week: Supporting a cause close to their heartsWedding on the Week: Supporting a cause close to their hearts


Latest Showbiz

The actor calls himself ‘a lifelong body-hater’.‘Courageous’ Christopher Eccleston praised for revealing anorexia battle

The star has also opened up about getting older.Brad Pitt says he was failing to live an interesting life

The couple were married last year.Priyanka Chopra pays tribute to ‘light of my life’ Nick Jonas on his birthday

The US reality TV star took part in the show.Kendall Jenner shows off new look at Burberry show

More From The Irish Examiner