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Everyone knows that us pregnant ladies are a little nuts. We can’t help it, it’s the hormones fault!! However, as a mama with 6 other littles at home I can’t just give in to the irrational irritability all the time. Some days I do better at curbing the crazy than others, but here are some of my go to tricks for keeping myself under control.
Raspberry Leaf Tea
OK, I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical about this one at first. I heard about it several pregnancies ago, and never actually tried it until now, with baby #8. I am actually quite amazed by how well it works! I have a giant mug that I put 2 bags of Organic Pregnancy Tea and 1 bag of Celestial seasonings fruit tea in. I really like the Raspberry Zinger and the Peach Sleepytime tea is also really great, especially right before bed. I’ve been doing this once or twice a day and seen pretty impressive results. My episodes of craziness have definitely decreased. I forgot to drink any for a few days and yesterday I was getting rather nutty. Had a big mug last night and another one this morning. My mental state is definitely on a much more even keel now.
Epsom Salt Bath
In addition to the crazies I tend to get leg cramps and restless leg syndrome in later pregnancy. These are often caused by a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium deficiency can also cause nausea, fatigue, and insomnia; all of which can contribute to that irrational irritability. It can also lead to pre-eclampsia or preterm labor. One easy way to get some extra magnesium is by taking an epsom salt bath. Added bonus a warm bath in and of itself can be VERY relaxing and rejuvenating. I really love Dr. Teals Epsom salts that also include essential oils. The Chamomile and Lavender are my favorites, though it is recommended to wait till the second trimester to use oils during pregnancy. For an added dose of relaxation play some soft music or meditation tracks and enjoy your pregnancy tea while you soak. Yesterday when my crazies were especially present I sat in the bath for over an hour while the youngest kids napped and the older ones watched a movie. I drank my tea, read “The Gift of Giving Life” and did some deep breathing. It was magical!
Yoga is something I discovered with my 4th pregnancy. We had joined the YMCA and I started attending classes. I was blessed with an amazing instructor who was great at giving me modified poses as I progressed during my pregnancy. Those modifications are definitely necessary, so if you can find a prenatal class in your area it will be better for you than a regular class. I also have a few DVD’s that I love to do when I can’t get to the gym. In the Gaiam Prenatal Yoga DVD there are three examples, one for each trimester, so you can follow along with the woman who most accurately represents your current abilities. In the Elements Prenatal Yoga DVD there is only one instructor, but she does tell you how to modify if necessary as you grow larger. This one also includes a postnatal yoga routine. One reason why yoga is so relaxing is because of the deep breathing that is consistently encouraged throughout the practice. By relaxing your breath you can also relax your mind.
This is something that I am admittedly not very good at. My mind goes a mile a minute and it is hard to shut it down. I have started consciously deep breathing and trying to empty my mind each evening before bed. I use this time to try to connect with my body and my baby. I imagine her moving around in my belly and picture what it will be like when she is born. Visualizations are very powerful in accomplishing a peaceful and empowering labor. When I am able to focus back on these moments during my labor and slow down my breathing in the same way it calms my mind and reduces pain. When I do it during pregnancy it allows my mind and body to relax and washes away the tensions that cause all my irritability.
I am definitely prone to anemia during pregnancy. For me this manifests as EXTREME lethargy and tiredness in both mind and body. It is incredibly difficult to remain calm with an emotionally immature child when my brain is just not fully functional. I try to really focus on high iron foods while pregnant, but still often need an iron supplement to get me through. I can feel a HUGE difference when I forget to take it (which happens much more often than I’d like to admit).
Fresh Air and Sunshine
Vitamin D deficiency can also contribute to lethargy and tiredness. As a species we spend FAR more time indoors than we have in years past. This, along with several other causes, is leading to Vitamin D deficiency being very common. Getting outside to take in the fresh air and sunshine for 20-30 minutes a day can make a huge difference. It has also been proven that simply being in nature can help reduce stress and increase satisfaction and happiness. Sometimes, however, the most beneficial thing for me is to send the kids out for some fresh air and sunshine while I hide inside and enjoy a few moments of peace and quiet!
I know it is soooo hard to do when you are exhausted and grumpy, but regular exercise can really help you get out of the doldrums. It doesn’t need to be anything crazy, simply going for a walk or a swim can work wonders. I love the book “Exercising Through Your Pregnancy” by Dr. James Clapp and Catherine Cram. Dr. Clapp has been studying pregnant women for decades, and this book is exceptionally well researched and written. they discuss the effects of exercise on pregnancy, postnatal recovery, and milk production. They also give great advice on developing an exercise routine and maintaining healthy nutrition.
Hopefully something in here will help you curb the crazies during your own pregnancy. I’ll be the first one to say I’m no expert at following them all myself, but when I do I know that they work!
Do any of these things work for you? What other tips do you have for expectant mom’s to help keep their emotional state on a more even level?