6 Ways to a Stress-Free Surrogacy and a Healthy, Happy Baby
Is your life too stressful for pregnancy as a surrogate mother?
We all know that life has its stressful moments from when we go through job changes, to having toddlers running around, to relationship problems or finances.
Stress is common.
But add in a surrogate pregnancy and now you’re fatigued, have shortness of breath and swollen ankles. For many women, pregnancy is a beautiful, blissful experience, but sometimes stress can be unavoidable.
For starters, pregnancy as a surrogate mother is a time of physical and emotional changes that can result in stress.
You may be feeling uncomfortable due to morning sickness, headaches, or constipation. Your hormones are in full swing and they may contribute to mood changes whether you are weepy or irritable.
If you are a first-time surrogate, you may be worried about how to manage the pregnancy and your job, or the labor and delivery experience and how that will work with the baby’s intended parents.
No matter the stage of pregnancy and delivery you may be facing emotional or physical stress.
Aside from pregnancy and managing your surrogacy, life is already busy and stressful. Sometimes the stress we go through is unexpected, but how does this affect the baby and how can you cope to be on your way to a stress-free pregnancy?
Not all stress is bad, but when you go through chronic stress that is a result of a negative life event you could potentially be putting the baby at risk.
High stress can trigger health problems such as high blood pressure and, in some studies, high stress can lead to preterm birth, low birth weight, or it could be seen in the child’s development or immune system responses.
Of course, not all surrogate mothers who experience stress will have a negative impact on the baby. They may have a healthy child, but how they cope with their stress will make a huge difference for their quality of life through the surrogacy process. Let’s talk about a few ways you can try to cope with stress during your surrogacy pregnancy.
#1 – Plan Ahead
For starters figure out what exactly is contributing to your stress or what may cause the stress before it happens and see if you can make a change.
Some of you surrogate moms may even be able to eliminate the stressor completely with enough deep thought and planning. Think through your surrogacy with the following questions:
- Do you currently work full-time while you are facilitating the surrogacy fertility appointments, and OBGYN appointments?
- Are you able to discuss your upcoming needs with your employer to adjust your schedule in a way that you can manage- before your surrogacy begins?
- Will you need to arrange for childcare or ask a family member to help you watch your children during the pregnancy or for doctors’ appointments/checkups?
Assess where your stress may come from and try to plan ahead or make a to-do list to prevent the anxiety that the situation may result in.
#2 – Healthy Diet and Adequate Hydration
It’s important to maintain a healthy diet and stay well hydrated while you are a surrogate.
In the beginning, we required a healthy BMI standard so that your body is in the best place physically to undergo pregnancy. Now that you may be pregnant, it is still important to take care of your body through a healthy diet and adequate hydration. We do not encourage “dieting” while you are pregnant, but rather be sure to eat lots of protein rich foods and fruits and vegetables so that your body is able to adequately fuel itself and provide a strong supply of nutrients to the baby.
Eating a healthy diet can also help prevent complications such as gestational diabetes.
Drinking plenty of water and fluids will also help to reduce stress as pregnancy can result in dehydration from morning sickness or a loss of appetite. Remaining hydrated will help you to eliminate toxins that contribute to your stress, and may even help eliminate the physical stress of a headache or swelling.
If you haven’t already, we suggest all potential surrogates get a HydroFlask or something like it. Count 3 of the 40oz per day when taking medications and while pregnant during your surrogacy.
#3 – Fresh Air and Exercise
If approved by your OBGYN, it is always helpful to exercise as a way to reduce stress and lower cortisol levels.
Sometimes merely getting outside in the fresh air and taking a walk will lift your spirits and give you a clear mind. Other surrogates have found that activities like prenatal yoga or swimming are ways to unwind from the daily stressors.
Exercise is a powerful stress reliever not only for the mind but also for the body as it can help maintain a healthy weight.
#4 – Rest
I’m sure we don’t need to tell a pregnant woman to sit down and rest in order to unwind, but pregnancy demands lots of energy to go through the physical changes to grow a baby.
If you are feeling stressed, try to take nap after work, or when your toddler is napping to give your body a chance to recuperate. If you are unable to take a nap, try to find an opportunity to sit down and put your feet up for 30 minutes.
#5 – Support Network
We encourage each surrogate to have a healthy support network.
Your support network- whether that person is your husband, a friend or even another family member – is important to have someone you can rely on for emotional and physical support through your surrogacy journey.
Do you have someone you can call to help you watch the kids while you take a nap or go to your doctor appointments? Are you able to ask your husband for a foot rub when your feet are swollen and achy after working all day? Who do you see driving you to the hospital when you are in labor?
It’s important to have a solid support network to get you through the times when surrogacy and pregnancy may not be comfortable.
#6 – Birth Plan
As a surrogate mother, birth can be stressful as well.
Are you nervous about what to anticipate your labor and delivery experience?
Talk to your agency coordinator about your fears, wants and needs. At Made in the USA Surrogacy, we will ensure that we have established a proper birth plan in place between you and the intended parents. It is important to decide who you are comfortable having in the delivery room with you. What methods would you like for pain management? Would you like the lights dimmed or music playing?
At Made in the USA Surrogacy, we will also work with the parents and preparing them for the newest family member and it is our job to ensure that all paperwork and decisions are made ahead of time in order to prevent any last-minute confusion and stress on the surrogate.
If you are a parent who has been looking for a surrogate mother, or you are ready to get the process started to find a surrogate – there’s no better time than to start right now.