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Handling stress during pregnancy

(12 Posts)
emmyhNL Tue 21-Jul-15 09:09:01

Hi there, this is my first post so please be gentle!

I found out that I was pregnant last week and since then mainly due to a really stressful job have been struggling quite a bit with my stress levels.

I had a burnout a few years ago, so I know the symptoms when they arise.

What have other mums to be done? or what would anyone recommend? Ultimately - I know that stress is never good (for me or bump) so I want to be making some changes.

schokolade Tue 21-Jul-15 09:38:51

Hello emmy, sorry you are feeling stressed.

I have (and had, whilst pregnant) quite a stressful job. Mine is a bit like being self-employed - you can do a little or a lot, but you get out what you put in, etc. I ended up being signed off by the doctor. My career definitely took a hit from being signed off. No one else was negatively impacted from me being off, so it was really 'just' something I had to come to terms with in my head: you're pregnant and need to slow things down. The doctors note helped because it was like permission to slow down.

I am not sure what your particular stresses are, and I think the tips will depend on that. Some things I tried that helped on and off:

- I took a 30 min break after lunch. Alone with a big cup of water and a nice view. This helped me keep calm.
- I had a short list of things that needed to be done that day. I made the things as small as possible (e.g. email person x about y) so that I could see progress. There were only 5-10 things on each day's list, and usually the whole list took about 3 hours (bad morning sickness). Anything after that was a bonus.
- I made commuting easier. I was on the train, and was suffering morning sickness that was made worse by people smoking near the train entrances. So I changed my hours to avoid peak times.

Mostly in the end it was mostly just a conscious decision not to feel bad about hours spent in the loo throwing up or whatever. It's just tough, you're only human and can only do your best.

Maybe some of those are applicable? Can you try and identify what your stress triggers are (e.g., a particular colleague, dreaded Wednesday afternoon meetings, etc), and then build some strategies?

Frillsandspills Tue 21-Jul-15 09:39:24

I'm 18 weeks and I've been stressed pretty much throughout my pregancy. It was unplanned but when I came to terms with it my partner left me (in a really horrible manner) so it's only in the last couple of weeks my stress levels have been down. The first 4 months were awful and I was even more stressed worrying that the stress harmed the baby, so I completely understand why you are worried and want to make changes.

I would recommend speaking to your boss, and see if there's any way the work load can be reduce or if he can offer you help with anything specific that makes you feel more stressed.

When you have your booking appointment with your midwife speak to her about it too. I had a breakdown on mine at 16 weeks and she wants to see me at 20 rather than 24 weeks to see how I'm doing, which made me feel a lot better just knowing I was getting an extra bit of help/reassurance that my baby is ok despite the stress.

Perhaps take some time off work if you feel you need to?

I'm sorry I don't have more to offer in terms of reducing stress. I hope you feel better soon.

Congratulations on your pregnancy and good luck flowers

emmyhNL Tue 21-Jul-15 10:01:34

Thanks Schokolade and Frillsandpills!

I've identified my boss actually being the stress. He's very demanding and I cant put a foot right with him. Our work is gong through restructuring and its been 6 months of change and I guess that it's all coming to a head at the moment. I'm trying to do my best but feel like i'm on a wobbleboard and can tip off at any moment.

I don't feel like I can concentrate or really be able to do my job. I've tried some mindfulness techniques and exercise but it's a real struggle for me to switch off/calm down. I was working til 11pm last night to try and finish something off for today and now i'm sitting at my desk not sure if I should scream or cry.

schokolade Tue 21-Jul-15 11:32:10

That sounds very difficult with your boss. Maybe try to keep all communication in emails so you have a trail if things go a bit haywire?

The only thing I can really suggest is that the stress levels are, in the end, down to you. I don't mean that accusingly at all, just that your pregnancy isn't as important to anyone else, and so you have to decide that you will (e.g.) be going home at 6 pm, or making sure you take your lunch break. If it ultimately affects your job/career negatively (and it will, only the extent varies!), then it is basically tough luck. It was a shift that I really struggled with - perhaps the hardest part of becoming a parent for me. But once I'd switched, everything became easier. Actually it helped that I'd developed this mindset during pregnancy because the work sacrifices continued when I went back to work and the baby/toddler got ill constantly, wouldn't sleep in the evenings, etc. I guess this is it for the forseeable future, but the good news is you get to the point where it's the new normal and you don't mind.

One other thing that helped was to switch off the social media at home, except for allotted times. And not too much TV. Any chance of some suitable exercise? Swimming perhaps?

emmyhNL Tue 21-Jul-15 14:30:40

Thanks Schokolade. Tough love is sometimes needed. I'm definitely going to try your suggestion about social media at home and see what I can switch off.

I've worked from home in the attempt to reduce my stress levels and it's working a treat (in comparison to how I felt yesterday).

I normally try to run every day but have been really tired so i'm doing lots of walking/cycling. I've got two huskies who are great for stress relief!

soloula Tue 21-Jul-15 15:07:21

I love my colouring books. grin Maybe see if there's anything like that which could help you zone out at night? Making playlists for when you're in labour? Or maybe do sone knitting or crochet for baby? There are loads of free patterns on the Internet and great tutorials on YouTube if you're a beginner. And even if you don't finish anything it doesn't matter it's just about relaxing - anything else is a bonus. I started a cardi for DD1 when I was expecting her and now I'm pregnant with DD2 I might actually finish it!

emmyhNL Tue 21-Jul-15 15:34:07

Soloula - what a great idea. I've recently got some colouring books that i'm using. I cannot crochet/knit for toffee but playlists and other prep might be a good idea smile

Thanks for taking the time to reply!

soloula Tue 21-Jul-15 16:49:57

No problem emmy. I love making playlists and rediscovering loads of old songs that I've not heard for ages. Takes me away from things for a wee while as I relive old memories. I've got loads of lists - movies, songs that tell a story, songs from a particular period in my life - got one with all the songs they used to play in the club round about the time I met DH in grin. It's a nice way to zone out for a few evenings. I know it doesn't ease the stress of during the day but it does help take your mind off things when you're not at work. If you're travelling to work how about playlists to listen then so you're not stressing when you're heading in/leaving?

monkey2014 Tue 21-Jul-15 20:16:13

I was in the same position as you with an awful boss in the 2nd/bit of 3rd trimester and it is really hard. I did these things:
* chose when antenatal appointments for first thing in morning so I could work from home for the rest of the day
* took as much as I could of the toil i was owed (have never done this before and because of nature of job I had a lot!) meant I only worked 3-4 days for my last 8 weeks at work, then minus antenatal = very leisurely!
* moved offices for pregnancy millions of stairs to old office reasons, but actually meant i was on my own in peace and quiet
* saved up holiday so i had 4 weeks holiday then 2 weeks maternity before due date. lovely lovely stress free time, would highly recommend if you can do this smile
* mainlined chocolate, but otherwise ate well and drank lots of water
* listened to natal hypnotherapy cds when going to bed; slept so much better, it was brilliant. de-stressing/calming techniques they suggest for labour helped me not murder anyone keep calm
* ate lunch outside, forced myself to have proper lunchtime
* made lots of time for feeling for baby kicking, puts things in perspective
* had baby scan pic on phone to look at in dark times!
* wrote a list of all the work i wanted to achieve before leaving and did v thorough handover, so a) could revel and be smug about own good work, b) had a realistic plan for what i could achieve so no real stresses, c) could leave with absolutely nothing hanging over me
* during the first few weeks of pregnancy I was shattered - had naps when could and went to bed at 7pm smile obviously this is my first baby!

emmyhNL Wed 22-Jul-15 08:02:46

Thanks Monkey smile

I've got what could be a very stressful day today but based upon the advice from you lovely people i'm already putting a few things in my back pocket:
1) A proper lunch break
2) I've downloaded some relaxing classical music in the hope of helping when i'm at my desk being bombarded with emails.
3) Not working more hours than I should be.

I can't really save any holiday... it's my life line at the moment blush.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to respond!

Nottalotta Wed 22-Jul-15 08:15:10

Please try to address the stress now. One of my main issues was my boss which made things difficult. He has a history of unreasonable behaviour with pregnant employees.

I tried to soldier on, proving a point i guess (pregnant, not ill was a saying of his. Idiot)

Ended up signed off work for almost 4 weeks. Returned for 2.5wks then started maternity. Too late really, officially started Monday (had couple of days AL last week) and c section is Friday!

I also returned on revised duties which really helped. diot)

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