The three-part documentary series "Expecting Amy" chronicles comedian Amy Schumer's stress-filled pregnancy and her remarkable resilience — a result, in part, of her sense of humor.
At a checkup when she sees a sonogram of her pea-sized fetus, she tells it, "You're going to get bigger, and we don't want you to be body shamed. Eventually you'll be the size of a lima bean, and that's fine."
Finding ways to counter stress (humor is a powerful antidote) is essential for a healthy pregnancy. It's also vital for getting the best results from your COVID-19 vaccine.
According to researchers at Ohio State University, stress and depression interfere with your immune system's response to vaccines, so they take longer to begin to protect you from infection and the protection lasts for a shorter length of time.
The researchers also say there are benefits from using even short-term stress-busting techniques to strengthen your immune response. Getting vigorous exercise and a good night's sleep the day before you're inoculated will improve your vaccine response.
Other immune-strengthening techniques include:
• Guided imagery, a meditative process that the Cleveland Clinic says "helps create harmony between the mind and body." Google "Johns Hopkins Guided Imagery" for a link to an instructive video.
• Progressive muscle relaxation, a technique that releases stress from your toes to the top of your head. For instructions visit https://wellness.mcmaster.ca/topics/mindfulness-and-relaxation.
• Taking a daily multivitamin and getting a good night's sleep in combination with stress-relieving techniques super-boosts vaccines' effectiveness.
In addition, walking 10,000 steps a day is the foundation of stress relief and good health.