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Women's Health
Reduce stress

Stress is real and can increase your risk for some health problems. Some stress is short-term stress. Some stress is long-term. It's important to "get a handle" on the stress you feel now before you become pregnant. Stress that affects your health can also affect the health of your growing baby!

Short-term Stress

Getting stuck in traffic and meeting new people are examples of short-term stress. These kinds of everyday activities can make people feel worried or anxious. One way to deal with stress is to change our reaction to it.

What Can You Do to Reduce Short-term Stress?
(Reproduced with permission from the 2004 issue of Copyright © 2004 American Academy of Family Physicians. All Rights Reserved.)

  • Don't worry about things you can't control, like the weather
  • Prepare to the best of your ability for events you know may be stressful, like a job interview
  • Work to resolve conflicts with other people
  • Ask for help from friends, family or professionals
  • Set realistic goals at home and at work
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat well-balanced meals and get enough sleep
  • Meditate
  • Get away from your daily stresses with group sports, social events and hobbies
  • Try to look at change as a positive challenge, not a threat

If you find that short-term stresses are affecting you too much, talk to your doctor or nurse. They can help you and can point you to other resources in your area.

Long-term Stress

Long-term stresses -- such as a broken relationship, being in an abusive relationship, the death of a loved one, racial discrimination, money problems, and sexual harassment -- are larger and longer-lasting sources of stress. These are stresses that can affect your health over time. Some long-term stresses have been linked to complications in pregnancy that can cause problems for the developing baby.

What Can You Do to Reduce Long-term Stress?

Long-term stress often comes from complex problems. These problems may seem impossible to solve. But there are people and agencies that can help you:

Everyone has stress. Don't be embarrassed to ask for help. Finding help to lessen long-term stress can go a long way to improving your health. Be sure your doctor or nurse knows about the stress in your life. If they know, they can better monitor your health, and they can suggest community resources that can help.

A healthy you is key to a healthy pregnancy!

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Last updated: July 2013

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