As if you needed one more thing to stress about, recent studies suggest chronic anxiety could be troublesome for you and your little one. Planning for a baby's arrival can be a mix of emotions: joy, anticipation and fear in equal measure. While you can't allay your worries entirely, it's in your baby's best interest to find stress relief – and fast. Studies now show a correlation between a mother's increased stress levels as early as 17 weeks and complications during delivery. Chronic anxiety, studies report, can lead to premature births and low birth weights. That's a lot to worry about. Here's how to find relief and usher in a calmer, more balanced state of mind:
Slip into your sneakers
Time and time again, the best research has shown that the way to stress relief is through exercise. Going for a walk with a friend allows you to not only get your blood pumping, but talk through your worries and fears too. Schedule in a quick workout (getting your doctor's permission first, of course) and you'll feel its mood-boosting benefits within 5 minutes.
Experiment with acupuncture
A medical practice hailing from ancient China, acupuncture uses tiny needles to redirect energy flow throughout the body. It's now a common practice in the Western world and many laud it for its calming benefits. Needle shy? These hypodermic needles are no thicker than a strand of hair.
Write it down
Sometimes the best way to overcome your fears is to work them out on the page. Pick up a journal and each time you feel overwhelmed or scared about your pregnancy – or anything for that matter – grab a pen and start scribbling. You'll find that naming your fears helps you find perspective and leave your worries behind you.