Let’s face it: in most cases, nothing about pregnancy is quick. From the torturous two-week wait to “find out” and the anxiety-riddled 12-week mark for safely sharing, to the never ending final month spent awaiting your treasure – it’s a LONG, dare I say, boring 40 weeks!
While it’s common to become a bit bored with pregnancy – filling the seemingly endless hours Googling fetal development – make sure to be aware of persistent feelings of boredom or listlessness that are affecting your ability to function. This may be a sign of depression, which should be discussed with your doctor or midwife.
Keep that pregnancy boredom at bay by understanding some common situations and solutions.
7 Physical Activity
Traditionally, women were told to cut out physical activity during pregnancy for fear that exertion could potentially harm the baby. However, modern attitudes toward pregnancy and fitness have changed according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, which states “medical experts now recommend regular physical activity as part of a healthy pregnancy.”
I’ve missed you, serotonin.
Despite the fact that modern thinking touts exercise throughout pregnancy as safe, you may be feeling apprehensive. Perhaps you’ve decided to take a break from the activities you used to enjoy. It’s this lack of serotonin-releasing activity that once filled your day that is likely behind much of your pregnancy boredom.
If you cut out your daily or seasonal activities – such as running, yoga, spin class, skiing or biking – as soon as that cherished positive sign popped up, then try reintroducing modified versions of those activities to keep life interesting and your days varied.
Stay safe while showing baby a good time.
If you are concerned about the safety of your little one, book an appointment with your doctor or midwife to confirm that exercise is right for you at this stage. You can also review The Healthy Pregnancy Guide, published by the Public Health Agency of Canada, to ensure you are taking the proper precautions to stay safe.
As an active woman, you may be trying to maintain your exercise during pregnancy by modifying activity levels or joining prenatal versions of classes, such as yoga. However, you may discover that these tamed down versions are --you guessed it -- boring. It may be perfectly safe for you to attend regular, and more challenging, classes; just check with your health care provider and follow these tips from The Healthy Pregnancy Guide:
- Start easy and progress gradually.
- Don’t overdo it.
- Keep cool and hydrated.
6 The Hot Topic
The only topics friends, family members, coworkers, and even complete strangers want to discuss with you are pregnancy and babies; or the faux pas labor horror stories you avoid at all costs.
The thing is, while your pregnancy and developing baby consume most of your thoughts, they don’t consume ALL of your thoughts. It’s okay to be wildly in love with your baby and in awe of your burgeoning belly, yet still find yourself bored with talking about it all the time.
So take charge of your social interactions:
- Instigate conversations so that you guide subject matter.
- Join a book club.
- Plan a movie date that includes a review.
- Read the news and get talking (people will engage when impassioned).
5 Expanding Your Horizons Beyond Your Belly
Your pregnancy may also be making you feel as though you’re defined by your baby. You may feel you have lost who you were prior to the beautiful bump. When people focus all discussions and gatherings around your pregnancy, they reiterate this and may be feeding the boredom you are experiencing with the new, different, and apparently less multifaceted, you.
Remember that you are everything you were and so much more. Use positive thinking to defy the boredom and take steps to embrace your evolving identity:
- Practice positive affirmations.
- Learn a new hobby.
- Keep doing what makes you happy; modify if necessary but don’t stop.
- Treat yourself (pedicure, quiet time, new album, yoga class, massage).
- Write a letter to baby and note all the things you love to do or have learned about, and explain that you are excited to share them.
4 A Matter of Perspective
Your boredom may simply be a state of mind. Don’t let yourself be bored with your healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy. Think about things in perspective; be grateful you are able to enjoy the process of pregnancy without the worry or anxiety associated with difficult, complex pregnancies.
Turn your boredom around and think about how cherished this quiet and uninterrupted ‘me’ time will be in a few short months. Try to change your perspective every time you feel pregnancy boredom creeping up and watch how you can turn the mundane into the exciting.
Your favorite to-do list!
Write a list of all the things that make you happy or things you’ve been meaning to do but never had time for. File away the items that don’t work with pregnancy and create a Boredom Beater list with the rest. Check one off every time you successful kick boredom in the butt!
Here are some ideas to get your list started:
- Read every (interesting) book you were supposed to complete for book club (but never did).
- Enjoy a full spa day -- not just a pedicure -- by taking the three to four hours to get the works. Check out affordable spas such as BC’s Spa Pure for deals.
- Have lots of sex! You’ll be happy to know that sex improves for many women during pregnancy. According to OB/GYN Dr. Christiane Northrup, blood flow increases to the pelvic area during the second trimester, which may result in greater sensitivity and a greater chance of orgasm during sex.
- When you are too exhausted to move, break out the pen and begin a pregnancy journal.
- Learn how to sew, knit, crochet, or make croissants – whatever new skill you’ve always wanted to master.
- FINALLY try some of those recipes you’ve been filing away on Pinterest. And, freeze portioned meals to help you out in those first few weeks after baby arrives.
- Get through all the Netflix movies and series you’ve added to “My List” but never had the time to watch. Invite friends over for a themed binge-watching extravaganza.
- Take a babymoon and travel before your 36th week, if you have a low-risk pregnancy. Each airline has its own set of rules (i.e. carrying a doctor’s note confirming health and due date) regarding flying during pregnancy, so be sure to check with them prior to booking your flight. Be sure to check with your doctor or midwife before flying, especially after your 36th week.
3 Social Shortcomings
Whether it’s the exhaustion of pregnancy or the fact that most of your friends are aunts and uncles but rarely mothers or fathers, it’s possible that you just aren’t getting out much anymore.
If a baby boom has yet to hit your social circle, you may find you have no one to relate to. Your friends may also be having a difficult time trying to balance being considerate and including you in activities with being aware of situations you may be avoiding.
Your friends may also be getting bored of YOUR constant pregnancy chatter and choose to limit their time with you. (I don’t know why they would do that; I’m sure you’re awesome).
Who else is going to buy us gifts at our baby showers?!
Identify your “real” friends and make an effort to get out with them on a regular basis. Whether it’s coffee, a walk, a movie night, or dinner, it’s important to maintain your relationships and let friends know they have a part in your growing family. Keep the pregnancy and baby talk to a minimum; they want to hear about your ups and downs but don’t want to be inundated by replays of every kick and hiccup.
If you are finding it too emotionally taxing to maintain your friendships, then get involved in your local parenting community. Whether it’s prenatal yoga classes, your local La Leche League Canada, or Babywearing in Canada groups, get out there and get involved to meet mothers and, maybe, new friends.
2 When It’s More than Boredom
Sometimes, the lack of interest and difficulty concentrating you are experiencing throughout your pregnancy is more than mere boredom. Antenatal depression, or prenatal depression, is a relatively newly-acknowledged illness that often goes undiagnosed despite that fact that it affects about 10% of pregnant women, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Unfortunately, “one of the biggest risk factors for postnatal depression is prenatal depression,” if not properly treated, according to Eileen Sloan, a specialist in perinatal mood disorders at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital.
If you experience the following symptoms for two weeks or more, you may be dealing with prenatal depression:
▪Sleeping too little or too much
▪Loss of interest in activities that you usually enjoy
▪Recurring thoughts of death, suicide, or hopelessness
▪Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
▪Change in eating habits
Many health care providers tracking pregnancies will now ask mothers-to-be to fill out a questionnaire at each prenatal visit indicating their current risk of depression. However, it may still be difficult to diagnose prenatal depression as pregnancy symptoms mimic the signs of depression, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The Agency explains that it is easiest to diagnose prenatal depression in the second trimester (12 to 24 weeks), as most women have adjusted to hormonal changes at this point and usually feel better physically.
1 Conquering Prenatal Depression
While moderate to severe forms of depression likely require medical intervention, some women may see an improvement in their symptoms through lifestyle changes including:
▪Maintaining proper nutrition and diet by eating more vegetables, fruits, and other vitamin-rich foods and drinking more water
▪Avoiding all alcohol
▪Getting regular exercise; this produces endorphins (mood enhancers) that help combat fatigue, lethargy and sleep disturbances.
▪Maintaining a regular sleep-wake pattern
▪Using stress management techniques such as yoga, relaxation exercises, time management skills, etc.
Unique Treatment Ideas
Treatment options are also available and are considered generally safe for your developing baby. Some non-medicinal approaches include psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, Omega-3 essential fatty acids that serve to naturally boost mood, light therapy, and acupuncture. New medications and research are comforting mothers-to-be with the news that some antidepressant and antianxiety medications can be used during pregnancy with minimal to no effect on baby, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
If you feel that the boredom you have been attributing to pregnancy hormones may, in fact, be clinical depression, be sure to talk to your partner, a trusted friend, or family member and contact your health care provider immediately. Be comforted in the fact that you are not alone and be confident in the fact that you can get help and find relief.
You can find more helpful information in the following books:
- Pregnancy Blues by Shaila Kulkarni Misri
- The Mindful Way through Depression by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal & Jon Kabat Zinn