Pregnancy can be a stressful time. Your body is going through major changes you’re supporting a tiny growing baby inside you and you’re thwarted by all sorts of pregnancy side effects, like morning sickness and aching legs.
If you’re trying to cope with working, looking after the rest of your family and keeping up with your usual routine, it can all get too much at times.
But it’s important to take time out for yourself and relax and both you and your baby will benefit. Research shows that if you’re regularly stressed, anxious and tense during your pregnancy, you’ve got a greater chance of having a baby that also suffers from stress and anxiety. So if you need some inspiration as to how to relax, here are some helpful tips!
Put your feet up. Aching legs and ankles are a common problem in pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, so give yourself regular breaks and take the pressure of your feet. Sit in a comfy chair with your feet on a footstool or propped up on cushions, lie on the sofa or lie on your bed – whatever is comfortable for you. If your ankles are swelling, stack several cushions together to raise your feet up higher, as this helps reduce swelling.
Listen to calming music. Take time out from the madness of life and whisk yourself away to a calmer place, with the help of some relaxing music. Choose one of your favourites or treat yourself to a special pregnancy relaxation CD. Sit back, close your eyes and let the music wash over and relax you.
Have a massage. Massage is great for easing tension and relaxing the muscles. Rope your partner in to give you a massage or book a treatment with a specialist (many places offer special treatments for pregnant women).
Try a reflexology treatment. Reflexology is a natural therapy that believes your feet are in a sense a ‘map of your body.’ A reflexologist will clear blockages and ease ailments by putting a small amount of pressure on your feet – it’s a bit like a foot massage. It can be very relaxing, can relieve tension and help any pregnancy ailments you’re suffering from.
Have a go at antenatal yoga. Yoga designed for pregnancy can help tone up your body, but most classes also teach special relaxation tips too. These can help relieve any stress you’re experiencing during pregnancy, as well as ease worry about the birth itself. Ask you midwife for antenatal yoga class recommendations.
Try meditation or visualisation. Relaxing your mind is just as important as relaxing your body, but it can be hard to do. Meditation or visualisation could help and there are lots of CDs and classes available that teach it especially with pregnancy in mind.
Have a laugh. Laughter is a great form of natural – and free – therapy. Meet up with your friends, or watch your favourite comedy or film and have a good laugh. Your baby will pick up on the feel-good factor too.
Get some fresh air and sunshine. It’s good to get fresh air and sunshine when you can and can be a good pick-me-up if you’ve been inside all day. Have a stroll around your neighbourhood, walk to the park or even walk around the shops, breathe in the fresh air and relax.
Enjoy a night out with your partner. Spend some time unwinding and relaxing together especially if it’s your first baby, as life will change when it arrives. Have a lovely meal, go to the theatre or indulge in your favourite pastime.
Enjoy water. Water is another form of natural healer. Swimming is ideal during pregnancy, as the water is supportive, and it’s not too exhausting. If you fancy a class, most places offer antenatal swimming sessions, but if a swimming pool isn’t your cup of tea, enjoy a nice long soak in the bath instead.
And finally, enjoy the course of your pregnancy. The nine months will fly by and a new baby will soon be part of your life.