We all experience anxiety and stress on daily basis. Getting pregnant, especially for the first time, is exciting! However, as exciting as it may be, it can also be stressful. This means that on top of all our everyday stress factors, parents-to-be have quite a few extra things to worry about. Just like everyone, or even more so, mummies-to-be need to relax. The problem often comes from the fact that as your body begins to change, you may find that things you used to enjoy before your pregnancy are no longer enjoyable or possible for you to do.
Many of your pastime activities which you were using to de-stress may need to be adapted to suite your new needs.
Or even better, you may want to use this precious few months to explore new activities and things you’ve never done before!
Here are our 7 suggestions for ways to relax during pregnancy.
Take Time Off
This may sound deceptively obvious but that doesn’t make it any less important. Many mothers try to keep the same schedule from before they were pregnant, and they try to take on the same amount of work up until their water breaks. We often feel guilty we aren’t doing enough work or doing enough preparations for when the baby comes. Although work, preparing the nursery and child proofing your home are important, so is your wellbeing.
So, take a step back, sit down and try to relax. Just do nothing for a day, or if you feel like you really can’t spare a whole day, even an hour would do you a lot of good. Sit on the sofa with a nice book, binge watch your favourite show, take a nap or simply just close your eyes and breathe deeply for a few minutes to help you switch off from your daily stresses.
If you are looking for something more structured, you may want to try some exercise classes – yoga is a great, effective and safe way to exercise whilst pregnant. You may be looking for something less intense than your usual exercise routine to help you stay fit in these precious 9 months. Pregnancy yoga classes are perfect for both these goals. They also have the added bonus, as they are specifically designed for pregnant women, of helping you strengthen your pelvic floor, back and hips which can help you experience an easier childbirth.
Yoga may be something you have never tried before, and pregnancy could be the opportunity to do something new. Of course, you could also be a regular at yoga – usually pregnancy yoga classes like ours are suitable for anyone, regardless of their level of experience. They are also a wonderful way to meet other mummies-to-be.
Aquanatal Yoga is another type of yoga that you could try. Aqua Yoga is what it sounds like – a yoga class taken in water. It’s once again perfectly suitable for anyone, even if you can’t swim. Aquanatal yoga classes are a fantastic way to keep fit and exercise during pregnancy whilst also having a little me time and unwind in the pool. Unlike regular yoga, aqua yoga helps you relax your full body in the water, your back and feet will be very grateful – just imagine that pleasant feeling of near weightlessness.
Aquanatal yoga classes are also a great opportunity for some gentle stretching, without straining, and a full body workout without overheating. And, like regular yoga, it helps you strengthen your muscles and prepare your body for labour.
Ask For Help
Even if you were successfully a superwoman in your daily life and could do a hundred chores, get your nails done and have time for dinner in the evening with friends, this may get more and more difficult as your pregnancy progresses. You will find you need more rest and that your energy levels are quite different. This is a good time to learn to ask for help and to delegate work to others.
Your partner, family and even friends can be a great support network whilst you are pregnant and in the first few months when baby is born. Your partner probably won’t mind taking on a bit more of the house work, just like your mum or dad probably won’t mind coming and helping out or even simply to be a shoulder you can lean on and someone you can share your worries about your pregnancy and life with. But you won’t know until you ask. Similarly, if you have older kids in the house, you could also ask them to do little tasks that may help you out during the day. Learning to ask for help and delegating some tasks to other will help you get a moment for yourself and relax during your pregnancy.
Take A Walk Outside
And if you’re not fan of group activities or don’t necessarily feel like exercising, you may prefer to simply go for a walk outside. Keeping active is important in your day to day life and it is also important during pregnancy. Walking, like any other exercise, helps your body release endorphins which are the hormones that make you feel good. This makes it a very good stress relieving activity.
If you’re taking a walk outside don’t forget to carry a water bottle with you to prevent dehydration and make sure to stay cool and protect your skin if it’s hot and sunny. And, of course, listen to your body (and your doctor!) and don’t overdo any physical activity and walk to the point of exhaustion or breathlessness.
Hypnobirthing is probably our most holistic suggestion out of our list because it’s a wonderful way to calm your body, soul and mind. Why? Well, hypnobirthing is a complete program which teaches parents to be prepared for the birth of their child. It teaches mummies-to-be both how to relax through various techniques and also educates them on their birthing options so that they know what to expect from their pregnancy and labour.
Hypnobirthing is often described as ‘’meditative labour.” Hypnobirthing courses, like ours, teach mummies-to-be different breathing exercises and calming, light self-hypnosis techniques. The skills you learn during the course help you to put yourself in the right state of mind to work through your contractions with less fear and pain, and keep you focused on the incredible beauty and significance of the birthing experience. Plus, as we said above, we educate parents on their options which gives you a piece of mind and prepares you better for the important day.
And finally, indulge yourself a little. You are making a new life and that is incredible!
However, you may often feel like baby and the preparations for baby’s birth are occupying all your and your loved ones’ thoughts, all the time. This is of course normal, but often mummies-to-be start feeling like they are ‘’losing’’ themselves and suddenly they’re just a walking baby machine. These feelings are normal – you are going through enormous changes, your body is under a lot of stress and you may be experiencing a lot of things and feelings for the first time, especially if this is your first pregnancy.
So it may be a good idea occasionally to do something that you will love and enjoy. Doesn’t matter what that is – go out with your girlfriends, go to a beauty salon, pamper yourself or enjoy a relaxing day at the spa. If you have more budget and time, maybe even book a weekend getaway with your partner and enjoy some time alone together before baby comes. And, of course, you don’t have to splurge on that; you could even just both get a night off and spend a relaxing evening in each other’s company.