Your pregnancy belly is astonishing, your pants are getting tighter, your back and feet hurt, and you’re on an emotional roller coaster. Sound familiar? Here are 4 tips to help reduce stress and relax during pregnancy.
You’re Glowing! (Or Is It Sweat?)
Congratulations! You’re expecting- and now you have nine months for your body to adjust to all the physical and hormonal fluctuations of pregnancy. Some days you’re ravenous; other days you are completely nauseated. You’re full of excitement and joy one minute but overwhelmed with anxiety or feel stressed about your tiny bundle.
Fortunately, pregnancy doesn’t have to be miserable! You can survive, and even thrive while a tiny human life grows inside of you. Pretty spectacular, right? How, you may wonder?
These four easy tips won’t make your stretch marks disappear, or cause you to take fewer trips to the restroom, but they will provide some much-needed relief during your pregnancy.
1. Turn Your Bathtub Into a Spa
Light the candles. Cue the relaxing mood music, and let the wafting aroma of your favorite bath salts or essential oils melt your cares away. Easier said than done, right?!
But the simple act of taking a bath can work wonders to calm your mood. Use Epsom salts for an added dose of magnesium, as well as to soothe aching muscles. Some claim that Epsom salts can even improve digestive health and tighten your skin, two more amazing benefits. Feeling better, yet?
As great as baths are, don’t lie in the tub for more than 15 minutes, and don’t neglect to moisturize your skin with some oil afterward. In the advanced stages of pregnancy, your partner should be at home to help you safely out of the tub.
Avoid the hot tub until the end of pregnancy, or even after the baby arrives. Hot tubs can quickly raise your body temperature to a dangerous high, and they’re known to be a breeding ground for germs, so you’re probably better off sticking to the bathtub!
2. Stretching and Toning to Relax During Pregnancy
For some of us, the only stretching we experience during pregnancy is the stretch marks that pop up all over our bodies. But in the right context, healthy stretching can be a wonderful way to reduce stress and prepare for the baby.
Keep in mind, pregnancy affects all of our bodies differently. So if you’re confined to bed rest, don’t compare yourself to the marathon runner who’s still pounding the pavement.
Yoga is considered one of the most balanced forms of exercise since it keeps you fit and helps you to relax. Some of the breathing exercises and relaxation techniques might even prepare you for childbirth. Look for prenatal yoga classes or even special prenatal yoga workouts in order to stay safe, since some of the techniques aren’t best for pregnant women.
In general, avoid lying on your stomach, and perform exercises while standing or lying on your side. Be careful not to over-stretch your body or attempt inverted positions such as headstands. Be very attentive to your body during yoga and stop a posture immediately if you feel uncomfortable or in pain. Consult your doctor if you have any questions.
3. Relaxation in a Prenatal Class
Many pregnant women view their prenatal class as an oasis of calm in the midst of their busy lives. Prenatal classes, ranging from Lamaze to prenatal pilates or yoga, supply many valuable tips for dealing with the challenges to come. Your teacher will also show you breathing exercises that will help you during birth and also beyond.
Other people could find a prenatal class stressful. If this is the case, don’t fret! You’re not a failure- you just didn’t find a class that’s a good fit. If the talk of pregnancy is causing you more anxiety than peace, look for another class, or just drop it altogether.
Sometimes an overdose of pregnancy advice can drive anyone crazy- if this is you, that’s okay! Everyone is different. Just getting more casual advice, like a casual chat from friends or family on the FamilyApp, can be more relaxing than a structured class.
4. Meditation Helps to Relax During Pregnancy
If you can, treat yourself to a relaxation break every day, by closing your eyes and consciously practicing your breathing exercises. Concentrate fully on your breathing, and you may feel balanced after only a few minutes. If you just can’t get into a relaxed zone, focus on something else that brings you joy. Don’t stress about the fact that you’re finding it hard to relax!
Pregnancy is an exciting journey full of new experiences, but what may be relaxing to you might stressful to another. So when in doubt, go to your tried and true relaxation methods. Classical music has been shown to improve our ability to relax, so try listening to some Mozart, Bach, or any other music to take your mind off of things.
There’s No “Right Way” to Relax
We’re all different. Every pregnancy is different. So there’s not a “one size fits all” approach to pregnancy relaxation. Get a massage. Take a walk with your best friend. Listen to your favorite playlist from college, or read your favorite novel for the hundredth time. If it brings you joy and helps you relax, keep it up!