During pregnancy, especially in the first trimester, there are often weeks between each ultrasound scan or prenatal appointment. Waiting patiently between the pregnancy visits and wondering how your baby is doing, especially as your body is going through new physical & emotional changes can be challenging.
There are some constructive things you can do as you wait, though, to ease your nerves. Here are 10 tips to stay sane between prenatal appointments and ultrasound scans.
Unfortunately, it is a fact that there are always risks of complications in any pregnancy.
Because miscarriages and other complications are a possibility, it can be a scary journey for any expecting mom, whether you’re considered high-risk or not.
During my first pregnancy, I was internally terrified that I was going to miscarry in early pregnancy- or even in later pregnancy.
And throughout my whole life- even as a child- I always worried somewhere in the back of my mind that I might die giving birth.
Thankfully those things didn’t happen, but there is one thing I realized. Even if I had experienced some sort of serious complication with my pregnancy, I would not have done myself any favors by being overly stressed & worried. All these anxieties didn’t help me.
Yes, you should acknowledge that things can go wrong. Just like with so many other aspects of life right now, we are not immune to something negative happening during pregnancy, labor, or delivery.
But having a constant, fearful dread of all the ‘what if’s’ and ‘could happens’ is not helpful. Worrying increases your stress. And higher stress levels during pregnancy, while certainly not the only factor, can contribute to things going wrong.
It’s important, at least to a reasonable degree, to take care of yourself during pregnancy. This means not skipping meals, eating nutritious food, and avoiding activities, substances, foods, and drinks that could harm your baby.
Talk to your OB-GYN about general lifestyle tips for a healthy pregnancy, recommendations for any nausea or food aversions you’re dealing with during pregnancy, as well as any specific recommendations that apply for your personal pregnancy or medical history.
There are at least 2 ways you can do this.
My husband and I both dealt with some stressful situations during my pregnancy. I had to learn that I couldn’t control all the circumstances around me, and to not overly stress about things out of my control.
Instead, I tried to adjust circumstances I could control that would minimize stress. One choice I made was to quit my job of 6 years as a medical receptionist at 7 1/2 months pregnant.
The workload, while manageable before pregnancy, was difficult on me both mentally & physically as I got to be farther along.
I was afraid the stress and pressure could cause me to go into pre-term labor. So I talked it over with my husband and we agreed I would put in my notice. And even though we struggled financially a little around that time, I don’t regret my decision because it allowed me to lower my overall stress level.
So it may not be your employment, or even if you are pregnant with a stressful job, leaving may not be an option, but look for ways to avoid or alleviate stress in your life that you can control.
This is probably the most popular way pregnant women worry themselves unnecessarily.
Don’t get me wrong, I think you 110% should do valid pregnancy research on medical decisions you’ll need to make, your baby’s development, and any specific factors affected by your personal health history.
Some of the information you come across may discuss different complications that arise. And you do want to be accurately informed on common things to expect and decisions to make.
But reading horrible experiences and birth stories of every bad thing in the universe that has ever happened in the name of pregnancy is not constructive.
Doctors, nurses, midwives, and doulas will tell you that being able to relax during labor can contribute to a smoother delivery. And reflecting on all of the worst-case scenarios in advance, won’t help you relax during contractions, trust me.
It’s true you want to avoid unnecessary stress. At the same time, you do want to discuss with your OB-GYN or midwife any unusual or concerning symptoms you have.
If you have a reason to think something may be wrong, give them a call right away. Alternatively, you can choose to get yourself checked out at another appropriate facility if your doctor is unavailable to respond and the situation could be urgent.
You’ll also want to inquire about any warning signs to watch out for, especially those common in the trimester you’re in, and the symptoms of pre-term labor.
Make sure you go to all of your recommended prenatal and testing appointments so that you are seen regularly.
Note: If you’re planning on changing your OB/GYN during pregnancy, these are the steps you need to take.
Think about someone you are comfortable opening up to about your concerns- whether it’s your spouse or a close friend or relative.
Having a supportive person is so important during pregnancy, which is why I recommend having a birth partner.
Even before you go into labor, you want to have someone you can trust to open up to about everything you’re physically and mentally going through.
Talking things out can help relieve anxiety you have about miscarriage or other fears about your pregnancy.
There are so many things that need to be done before you give birth.
Additionally, there are a lot of baby items you need to register for and/or stock up on.
And there are a lot of decisions you need to research and then make.
All of these things are constructive distractions to the time you have to wait, and will help you stay sane between prenatal appointments and ultrasounds.
Granted, being pregnant may limit some of the options you have when it comes to hobbies and activities, because you want to choose things that are safe for your baby.
But there are still a ton of things you can choose to do that are relaxing and enjoyable- reading, drawing, baking, doing crafts, playing an instrument, etc. Activities such as these can help you stay sane between prenatal appointments.
Once you have a baby, especially during the first 2-3 months postpartum, it will be more challenging to make time for those close to you.
So plan a girls’ night or a date night with your spouse. As the saying goes, ‘Time flies when you’re having fun,’ and it can also take your mind off of any worries you have.
Writing down things that are happening during your pregnancy as well as your thoughts, desires, and concerns helps you acknowledge how you feel.
And you may feel less stressed after you organize your thoughts on paper.
I actually designed this this free printable pregnancy journal worksheet to help expecting moms to express their concerns in writing, as well as to point their thinking in a positive direction.
Your home should be a place where you feel comfortable and relaxed. For myself personally, while this is certainly not the only factor, I have noticed a strong connection between the state of my house and how well I handle stress.
Of course, during pregnancy you want to be safe, be careful not to overdo it, and to avoid lifting things that are too heavy.
One thing that will help you to maintain your house is using a daily cleaning routine. If you need help with this, you can grab my free daily cleaning checklists here.
Maintaining a calm & clean home environment can help you to feel less stressed during pregnancy and in general, because you’ll feel comfortable in the place you are supposed to feel the most relaxed.
So those are 10 ways to stay sane between prenatal appointments and ultrasound scans.
By doing what you can to take care of your physical & mental health, by talking to your doctor and a friend, and by staying busy with activities that are constructive & relaxing, the time will go by faster, and you’ll have more peace of mind.
Don’t forget to grab our free positive pregnancy journal worksheet before you go!