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Q&A: Kicking Stress at Work

Q. I have a stressful job, but I want to keep calm for the health of my baby. Any hints for stress busters at the office?

A. Pregnancy can be a time of anxiety, and a stressful job can make that even worse. Finding ways to relax is important because life is only going to get more stressful after your baby is born.

Throughout the day, make time for short relaxation sessions. These allow you to shift from shallow chest breathing-which is how you breathe when you're nervous-to deep, calming abdominal breathing. A mini-relaxation session lowers your heart rate and blood pressure; it helps your body back down from the anxiety response that it automatically adopts in a stressful situation. You can do a mini relaxation anytime, anywhere.

Here's how to do a mini relaxation: When you feel anxious, stop whatever you're doing and slowly take a deep breath. Slowly count: one, two, three, four. Pause. Then exhale: four, three, two, one. Repeat two or three times. Do these mini relaxations throughout the day: when you're stuck in traffic, when you're angry at a coworker, or when you're racing to get things done.

Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

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