Prenatal Stress Management

For the benefit of both the mother and her developing baby, please pass this information on to any pregnant women that you may know.

Being pregnant can be very stressful. It is a time of extreme change. Though a positive experience for many women, it can be impacted by the way these women deal with their stress. One of the main reasons that labor and delivery is slowed (and sometimes stopped) is the direct response to stress and anxiety. Levels of pain and anxiety can be greatly elevated during labor and delivery as a result of poorly managed stress.

I know of one woman, who was neonatal nurse, and learned that after 28 hours of her own labor that her birthing progress had stopped and her doctor had to perform a “C-section” to deliver her baby. She was very disappointed but understood that her response to stress had caused this undesired complication.

When I was in training in stress management and medical hypnosis, the pediatrician (and OB-GYN) physician who was teaching this part of my course, claimed that a “normal” labor and delivery should be a 3 hour event. He said that labor often takes much longer because women are poorly prepared for the delivery and to manage their levels of stress and anxiety. I was a bit shocked by this statement, but he had 30 years of experience and I did not.

When my wife was 39 nine, pregnant, and trusting in me, we began a program of stress management, visualization, and positive suggestions to encourage a “3 hour labor and delivery.” We went to “birth classes” and met a birthing coach to assist us with the pregnancy and delivery. She said that the stress management practice should begin as early in the pregnancy as possible. Even in the first trimester (first 3 months) was not too soon to begin. She said that the health of the developing baby would be improved by the mom’s relaxation by encouraging better blood flow with oxygen and nutrients getting to the baby more easily. It was also useful for the anxiety control of the mom. As the pregnancy moved along, we found that when my wife practiced the relaxation techniques, the unborn baby would feel her relaxation and begin to move around. For us, labor and delivery came a week earlier than the predicted due date. The contractions started around 11:30 AM and the baby was born a little past 3:00 PM about 3 and ½ hours later. He was not able to make the 3 hour time limit because he was a bit bigger than predicted at 9 lbs 4 oz. but he was very healthy and my wife seemed to recover quickly for a 39 year old mother of the big baby.

I have done follow up research since the baby was born 29 years ago, and found that with women who had had slow labor and delivery or problem births had better results in subsequent deliveries when using the relaxation techniques and visualizations to control their anxiety. After practicing relaxations these subsequent births had fewer complications, were shorter, and the birth weights of the babies were generally a bit higher. Please consider these advantages for bringing healthier babies into the world and helping their moms deliver with greater ease and grace.

Get more information about birth preparation from an experienced birthing coach. You may even get some assistance from your physician, but they are often too busy to spend the time for coaching you in preparation for your labor and delivery. It will require your time and motivation to allow this program to work best. Remember that your best results will come if you begin practice earlier in the pregnancy. Try to allow at least 8-12 weeks prior to your delivery date for the best results.


Please take good care of yourself.


L. John Mason, Ph.D. is the author of the best selling “Guide to Stress Reduction.” Since 1977, he has offered Executive Coaching and Training.Please visit the Stress Education Center’s website at for articles, free ezine signup, and learn about the new telecourses that are available. If you would like information or a targeted proposal for training or coaching, please contact us at (360) 593-3833.If you are looking to promote your training or coaching career, please investigate theProfessional Stress Management Training and Certification Program for a secondary source of income or as career path. Health care professionals who work with women (and their families) prenatally, can benefit greatly by learning or developing their skills at teaching/coaching stress and anxiety management.

Having Emotional Balance at Work

In many companies, the work culture includes many difficult requirements. Long hours, intense competition, conflicts, changing priorities and trying changes which create the need to adapt. If you do not have “Emotional Balance” you run the risk of burning out or getting into other physical or emotional difficulties. “Being Centered” or balanced are concepts that are easier said than done. Most of us do not even know what emotional balance is, what it feels like, or realize that it is an ever changing situation that we have to continuously pay attention to and change with. The pulls from “internal” company needs and “external” (outside work) expectations can feel insurmountable. Each of us are different and the way we respond to the various sources of pressures will also be unique. To beat being a victim to these pressures we must:

1. Understand specifically how you respond in your own individual and unique habitual way. By knowing this you can find the systems that hold this habitual response and learn to minimize, if not eliminate, the negative manisfestations of the pressure.

2. Learn what Balance feels like so you can determine if you are off-balance. It is difficult to learn to relax into a “balance state” but it is worth it for most people because it feels good and saves so much time and energy.

3. Find the 8 essential areas of your life and learn to honor the ones that you do not make time for in your life. This will help to re-prioritize your life and give you greater balance as you pursue your long term goals and aspirations. The 8 essential life areas include: career, finance, family, friends/relationships, education/life long learning, health, creativity/aesthetic, and honoring the spirit. If you do not have a plan for honoring each of these 8 areas then you may not have balance and may have to fight to sustain emotional and physical health and well-being.

4. Finally, you must take (or make) time for yourself. Often, by taking time to regain balance you find that you SAVE TIME and ENERGY. Many people forget this principle until a major negative manifestation takes place. The body will get your attention in rude ways if you do not honor your commitment to self-care and maintaining balance. No time, is the excuse most often heard and people hide behind this idea.

Finding your balance and re-prioritizing your life goals is not an easy task and often can not be done effectively without external counsel, coaching, or mentoring. It is worth your investment of time, energy, and resources if you want to be most productive and have the best quality of life. If for no other reason, you may want to be a positive role model for the important people around you.

There are many principles taken from Sports Psychology that can help executive leaders to find their balance and to get the pressures and competitive forces to have minimal impact on their performance. These same principles help “world class” athletes move ahead of their competition. Just attend to the upcoming Olympics competition to find that more than 60% of the athletes training involves the “mental side” which helps to create balance for the winners. The mental side of training trims away the unnecessary distracts that rob the athlete of energy or the flexibility needed to win.

Emotional Balance reduces distractions that can lead to team turn-over, increased replacement costs, health cost containment, better communication and leadership, increased productivity and enhanced performance, and increased bottom-line in sales, services, and productivity.

If you find that you would benefit from coaching support, considering contacting the Stress Education Center at or call 360-593-3833

Stress Management Techniques a list

Stress Management Techniques a list

The book, Guide to Stress Reduction, is a cook book with recipes for relaxation and stress management. Find the formula that works best for you and read the step by step guided strategies for deep relaxation. The following is a list of some of the most effective stress management strategies from this book.


  1. Breathing Techniques: Diaphragmatic Breathing, 1-8, 1-4 1-4 1-8, Alternate Nostril Breathing
  2. Autogenic Training Phrases
  3. Active Progressive Relaxation
  4. Passive Progressive Relaxation
  5. 10-1 Countdown
  6. Visualization for Deep Relaxation
  7. Indirect Suggestions
  8. Biofeedback: temperature training, EMG, GSR/EDR, EEG, Cardio feedback
  9. Meditation for Relaxation: Yogic meditation, Kundalini, transcendental, Zen Meditation
  10. Hypnosis
  11. Goal Setting and Planning for Stress Management
  12. Communication for Stress Management
  13. Physical Exercise and Movement for Stress Management


There are also specific stress management protocols for working to lessen or eliminate certain stress related physical and emotional symptoms like:


  1. Chronic Pain Management
  2. Contolling High Blood Pressure
  3. Tension Headaches
  4. Migraine Headaches
  5. Gastro-Intestinal Disorders
  6. Poor Circulation – Raynaud’s
  7. Panic/Anxiety Control with Desensitization and PTSD
  8. Sleep Disorders – Insomnia
  9. Coaching to Increase Productivity from Sports Psychology


Through the Stress Education Center you can get coaching or training for you or your organization. You can also get the Stress Management On-line Course (Five sessions with handouts, biofeedback, and recorded stress management techniques.) Articles and this blog are available through the website. Consider whether this will benefit you and get more information at