Mental stimulation is considered as anything that stimulates and enriches your mind. It includes everything you do from work, social interaction and leisure activities and it can help to kick your grey matter into action. Expecting mummies need to socialise and be with their friends more than ever before to keep their minds off unnecessary stress in pregnancy. Mental stimulation can keep your thoughts from overwhelming you. But what happens if you cannot find the stimulation you crave externally? What if you are confined to bed rest, for example? Activities that encourage mental stimulation during pregnancy can distract you from concerns that you’re overstressing about and keep you sane and productive.
Mental stimulation: Keep stress in pregnancy in check
It is more than just keeping your mind occupied; mental stimulation during pregnancy is all about keeping yourself in a good state mentally, emotionally and spiritually, for the sake of your growing baby.
There is a pregnancy myth that will have you believe your hormones will protect you from any psychiatric disorders. It is called a myth for a reason and some pregnant women suffer from mood and anxiety disorders during this time.
Mental stimulation can help combat stress in pregnancy. It increases the flow of oxygen, blood and nutrients to the brain. This acts as a signal to trigger BDGF – a chemical which promotes growth and survival of your neurons. As you probably already know, your mental health is directly linked to the overall well being of your baby.
Mental stimulation: Tips to relieve stress in pregnancy
Finding something that stimulates you mentally shouldn’t be hard, but if you are already feeling lethargic, you might need some inspiration. If you are contained to bed rest, you already know it is no vacation. Even if it seems like a lot of work to fire those neurons up, do it anyway.
- Stay social. If it is possible during your pregnancy, keep your social dates with your friends and family. At the very least, keep communication lines open. Even if you participate in online forums and social media, don’t allow yourself to become disconnected from the real world.
- Break out the brain teasers. Whatever takes your fancy – Sudoku, word puzzles, jigsaws… you are spoiled for choice when it comes to activities that will boost your concentration and problem-solving skills. These brain teaser are highly effective in distracting you from stress in pregnancy.
- Get gaming. Yes, even board and computer games can stimulate you mentally. Your husband, however, is not allowed to use this excuse for himself. Games give your brain a real workout in the problem-solving and memory skills department.
- Read. You might not be a big reader, but if you find yourself with time on your hands with nothing else to do, immerse yourself in a good novel. Or get your favourite magazine and read it from cover to cover. You will be surprised at how quickly time passes by. Read aloud to your baby, even if you feel silly.
- Start a new hobby. Try your hand at anything you want. Ever fancied yourself knitting baby booties for your little one? Do it. New skills that you learn will get your brain going in a new and exciting direction.
Mental stimulation during pregnancy does not require a grasp of complex skills; just keep doing the things that brings you joy, and both you and your little one will reap the benefits.
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