As Black women, we carry a lot on our shoulders every day. We take on many roles such as mothers, nurturers, caregivers, providers, and problem-solvers. Wearing many hats can be stressful, especially during pregnancy and postpartum.
"As African American moms, we think ‘-let’s not put our problems on them’, we tend to go into our shell."
"When you’re not feeling good or not taking care of yourself, there is no way you can take care of your baby.”
“Black women have been known to carry the weight of the world. We’ve endured a lot"
We cannot completely avoid all of life’s stressors but there are ways to manage stress to help you have a healthier pregnancy and postpartum experience.
INHALE....EXHALE.... Show me some tips!
Try to get rest
Your body and mind deserve rest! Try to go to sleep as early as you can and incorporate rest periods throughout your day when possible.
If you need a break, help with children, or chores, ask for help from a trusted person in your life. There is no shame in asking and accepting help! Help can come from various sources: A partner, parent figure, sibling, best friend, etc. You can even try to schedule rest, so you can plan ahead with your support system.
Spend time outside
If the weather and air quality permit, spend time outside and get fresh air. Take a walk or plan a play day with family at a park!
Activities and exercise
Find activities and exercise that you enjoy and are safe during and after pregnancy. Talk with your doctor about safe options for you.
Prenatal yoga is a beneficial and often safe way to get movement in while you’re pregnant.
BENEFITS OF PRENATAL YOGA INCLUDE:
Improved confidence and control over the body
Reduced daily stress and anxiety
Increased muscle strength
Increased endurance needed for childbirth
Decreased pain in the lower back
Decreased nausea, headache. and shortness of breath
Stay tuned for our upcoming community yoga sessions with BWPC starting in July!
Build your Circle of Support
A circle of support can help you manage stress. Having supportive people in your corner makes a huge impact on how you deal with stress during and after pregnancy.
Building trusting relationships with women like yourself can also help you feel less alone. BLACK Wellness and Prosperity Center is now an expansion site for the The Black Infant Health Program. The program is focused on supporting and connecting Black pregnant women and new mothers. Participants meet consistently and build a sisterhood with other Black women throughout 10 weekly sessions. Weekly meetings include:
A circle of support & trust
Pregnancy & newborn care tips
Self-care activities like yoga and nutrition
Gifts like cribs, strollers, car seats, crockpots, etc.
Enrollment is open now! Sign up for the BIH program and check your eligibility visit: www.blackwpc.org/bih
You Deserve a Doula
Photo above: Doulas-in-training with BLACK Wellness & Prosperity Center
Doulas provide education and emotional support before, during, and after your pregnancy. YOUR Doula places your needs at the center of your care.
Women, especially Black women with culturally appropriate doula support:
Experience lower rates of unnecessary C-sections
Deliver healthier newborns
Experience lower rates of postpartum depression
Are more likely to receive recommended postpartum care from their provider
Experience lower rates of delivering preterm. Preterm birth is when a baby is born early--37 weeks or sooner. Babies born too early are more likely to die before their first birthday
Initiate breastfeeding at higher rates and breastfeed their babies longer
To learn more about doulas visit: www.blackwpc.org/doulas
Go to your prenatal care appointments
Receiving healthcare before and during pregnancy can help decrease the risk of pregnancy complications. During your appointments you can ask questions you have about your pregnancy.
Write down your questions, symptoms, or concerns before the appointment so you don’t forget to ask when you’re there. Remember! You are the expert on YOUR body. You know best what you are feeling and experiencing.
If you are struggling to manage stress and anxiety during or after your pregnancy, talk with your provider as soon as possible. Getting support earlier on will lead to better outcomes for you and baby.
Read our brief about Pregnancy and Stress here