Pregnancy can be one of the most exciting and joyous experiences in a woman's life. But it rarely comes without challenges. Emotional and physical difficulties can make the nine long months of pregnancy less appealing than originally anticipated, requiring women to have a special kind of strength and patience. In addition to chronic discomfort, pain or sickness, many women also experience anxiety, fear and frustration. Remaining calm and flexible as your body adapts to numerous changes can be a trying task. Pregnant women can benefit from relaxation techniques to help them cope with physical and emotional challenges and focus on the positive aspects as they approach delivery.
The Waiting Game
Getting pregnant in the first place can require incredible faith and patience. Many women wait months or even years to become pregnant, and some eventually resort to alternative methods of conception. When pregnancy is finally achieved, those who have eagerly anticipated a positive symbol on a pregnancy test may finally feel a sense of relief. Unfortunately, a whole new waiting game is about to begin. Once a woman confirms her pregnancy, she embarks on a long journey that requires even more patience. Now she must wait to see if the fetus survives, if the fetus has any abnormalities, if the baby will be a boy or girl, what the baby will look like, how uncomfortable her last trimester will be, what labor will feel like and how healthy the newborn will be in the first days of life. All of this waiting and wondering requires an incredible amount of patience, which isn't easy when you are tired and nauseated with fluctuating hormones, aching breasts and a sore back.
Taking Care of Yourself
Putting yourself first and making sure you are taking care of yourself physically and emotionally throughout your pregnancy is the first step to feeling more patient. In her Parents.com article "Understanding and Managing Pregnancy Mood Swings," Ellen Parlapiano recommends that women try not to worry about their worrying, meaning that a woman should allow herself to feel however she feels in any given moment. It is typical to feel nervous and even out of control during pregnancy. Talk with family and friends. Parlapiano suggests setting up extra appointments with a doctor -- an OBGYN or even your primary care physician -- so that you can frequently discuss your fears and seek reassurance that everything is going smoothly. During appointments, women should ask any questions they might have, as silly as the questions might seem. Opportunities to discuss your anxieties with a doctor can help you feel more educated about what is happening to your body and therefore more at ease during each trimester.
Exercise and Relaxation
Exercise during pregnancy helps many women feel relaxed and more patient. Speak with your doctor about what types of exercises are safe for you during each stage of pregnancy. Low-impact exercises such as walking, stretching, yoga, or swimming can be beneficial. According to Mayo Clinic, exercise can ease back pain, increase energy, prevent excess weight gain, lower the risk of gestational diabetes and increase stamina and muscle strength. Feeling physically healthy and strong may help you feel more in control emotionally. You can also try deep breathing techniques. According to WebMD, breathing exercises help with relaxation and stress relief by sending a message to your brain to calm down. It brings oxygen to the brain and body and helps women focus on something other than their worries.
Indulge the Senses
The American Pregnancy Association advises women to indulge the senses in order to help ease fear and anticipation as they approach the end of pregnancy. The Association suggests that relaxing sights, for example, can help decrease anxiety. Look at photographs that make you happy. Sit on the beach and watch the ocean or have a picnic in a park. The American Pregnancy Association recommends soothing sounds as well and suggests the following: " ... After you have found music and sounds that you find relaxing, play the music throughout your pregnancy [to] program yourself to automatically relax when the time for birth arrives." Try classical music or nature sounds. Scents can also have calming effect. Try incense, candles or lotion scented with lavender, rose or sage. For taste, eat frequent nutritious snacks or allow yourself to have the occasional sweet dessert. For touch, get a massage, go for reflexology or take a warm bath. All of these strategies can help women feel more grounded, comfortable and patient, especially toward the end of pregnancy.