As amazing and exciting as pregnancy is it can also be pretty overwhelming. Coping with symptoms, a changing shape, steep learning curve and adjusting to our new normal can be tough. New mamas take us through their top 10 tips that helped them relax during their pregnancy.
1. Take time out for yourself every day
Do something you enjoy that’s just for you. Take a warm bath, chill out to some music, close your eyes, gently massage your bump – whatever makes you feel peaceful. Remember the better you feel, the better it is for the baby!
2. Talk to someone you trust
Talk about how you’re feeling. It will probably help to discuss some of your concerns with your partner or others close to you. But, especially in the early days of pregnancy, your partner may not be able to relate to your voracious desire for pregnancy knowledge and for talking through all the issues it raises. Getting things off your chest and talking your worries through with an understanding and trustworthy friend, family member can be extremely beneficial, and be reassured that, whatever the pregnancy-related problem is, you’re not alone
3. Stay active every day
Exercise releases endorphins that will lift your mood however when your body’s aching and you’re over-tired exercise is probably the last thing on your mind! But a bit of gentle exercise can really give you a mental and physical boost and be a great source of relaxation in pregnancy. Walking is great, as is pregnancy yoga, which should cover relaxation techniques and breathing that may later come in handy during labour.
4. Rest when you need to
It’s hard to feel cheerful if you’re exhausted and uncomfortable, so make sure you take time to rest when you can. When you’re pregnant you need to get used to the idea that putting your feet up and simply doing nothing for a while is not a waste of time, but an important opportunity to relieve the physical stresses on your body and to give your mind a break.
5. Ask for practical help from family or friends
Can they cook you a meal, help with the shopping, or look after your children? Family and friends are there to support you, so don't be afraid to ask for help, especially in these current times.
6. Be realistic about how much you can do (whether at work, at home, or in your social life)
We are all guilty of taking too much on for fear of letting someone down. Saying no can be tricky, but now you need to take care of yourself. The people around you will understand if you need to say no.
7. Eat well
A balanced and varied diet will keep you healthy and help your baby grow and develop. In addition to drinking 8-10 glasses of water each day, you should eat five or six well-balanced meals with plenty of folate-rich foods like fortified cereals, asparagus, lentils, wheat germ, oranges, and orange juice. Folic acid is crucial for the proper development of the baby's neural tube
8. Be informed
When you first find out you’re pregnant you’ll probably have a mountain of questions, anxieties and concerns, particularly if it’s your first baby. Arming yourself with information should help to put your mind at rest, help you cope with any pregnancy problems that do arise and get you mentally prepared for birth and life with a new baby. Your doctor or midwife will be able to address your medical and health questions and books and websites will be useful sources of all kinds of information.
9. Meet other pregnant women or new parents at local groups or on online forums
Ask your midwife what’s available locally. Sharing your feelings with other people having similar experiences can help you feel less isolated. The Pod Collection run digital Wellness events covering topics from nutrition to midwifery antenatal tips tips It’s also a good idea to sign up for antenatal classes where you’ll both be primed for coping with pregnancy discomforts, labour and the early weeks of parenthood. Birthfit Ireland hold great digital antenatal classes.
10. Don’t believe the hype
It may seem like everyone else is happy and coping all the time (especially on social media) , but everyone will be facing their own challenges. Lots of women feel low in pregnancy or after the birth, but a lot of people hide their real feelings, especially in public. Know that if you are feeling down, firstly you are not alone and secondly its good to chat. Nurture Health provides excellent counselling services.