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Stress Reduction During Pregnancy: Exercise for Your Brain

pregnancy-stress-585Wouldn’t it be lovely if the time spent pregnant was full of massages and relaxation, all the sleep you could ever need and being fed chocolate-covered strawberries? Unfortunately, women must fit pregnancy into life. Already stressful life that doesn’t slow down just because we’re gestating little humans. So of course, we’re bound to be stressed out. But as we know that kiddos already start learning in utero, it’s a good idea to de-stress for the benefit of you and your baby. Today, Dr. Sean Daneshmand, a practicing maternal-fetal medicine specialist at the San Diego Perinatal Center, shares his thoughts on reducing stress in pregnancy. Turns out you can exercise your mind as well as your body during pregnancy! Whether you’re dealing with a high-risk pregnancy or just combating daily stress, read on for how to cope.

Stress Reduction During Pregnancy

It is very important to make all efforts to reduce stress during pregnancy, not only for your health as a woman but for your child or children’s well-being. Our children are affected by the DNA we as parents pass on to them and the environment that these angels are exposed to. This includes our diet and emotional state. It is therefore imperative to exercise the mind just like any other organ in the body in order to maintain emotional balance and peace. There are obviously numerous exercises that one can engage in to reduce stress. In order to keep it short, I will share two exercises of the mind that I teach my pregnant patients: 1) Protect your mind and 2) Fast recovery.

Before going any further, I think that it is important to learn a little about the brain’s anatomy and its emotion centers that allow us to react differently to certain stimuli. For example, why is it that one person may react violently to someone as opposed to diplomatically? Well, the reason is that we have two brains. The “primitive” brain (limbic system), and the “thinking” brain (neocortex).

The primitive brain has two goals: Survival and pleasure. The primitive brain is also at the root of all types of addiction whether it is to drugs, alcohol, smoking, television, etc. The neocortex or the thinking brain is what separates us from reptiles.

The key to maintaining an emotional balance is to suppress the primitive brain in order to allow the thinking brain to take over in cases were emotions are rising. This is because once our primitive brain is in turmoil and overwhelmed with emotions, it takes over our thinking brain not allowing our rational thought processes to occur.

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