15 MUST-TRY WAYS TO KICK BACK, RELAX AND ENJOY YOUR PREGNANCY
Enjoy your bump!
Pregnancy can be many things--overwhelming, exciting, stressful and awesome. Every mum’s journey to motherhood is uniquely her own, and there is no guaranteed hack to ensure that you will look and feel a certain way. But there are always a few things you can do to stay positive, and enjoy this phase of your life to it’s fullest. Here’s how...
1 JUST GIVE IN
If there is ever a time in life to just say ‘no,’ it’s now. If there are a million things on a weekend to-do list, and all you can think about is taking a nap, go for it. Or if you had shopping plans with girlfriends after work, but are simply too exhausted, reschedule it for some other day. Listen to your body’s cues and act accordingly. You will have a healthier and happier pregnancy.
2 APPRECIATE THE CHANGE
Prepare your body for things that you never thought were possible-— whether it’s baby action, that feels like a tiny alien kicking its way out of your stomach or entering into unchartered territory in the bra department. Embrace the changes in your body as much as you possibly can, and appreciate all sides of yourself.
DO NOT PUT YOUR LIFE ON HOLD 3
Once a baby comes into the picture, going for a night out can get a little complicated. Take advantage of your pregnancy as a party of two by catching up on movies, hitting up your favourite restaurants, and making plans with your friends. You won’t realise what a luxury it is until you are paying a babysitter by the hour.
4 AVOID UNSOLICITED ADVICE AND GOSSIP
The world around you would either want to become your pregnancy mentor or guide. It’s good if help is pouring in from all directions but the downside is, that often, this advice is unscientific and notional. This can do you more harm than good. Try not to stress yourself out. Stop listening to others’ horrific pregnancy and birth stories. Remember it’s their story, not yours. Tune in and focus into your own birthing instincts and be aware of what’s happening within.
5 TAKE A SOAK
We do not need a study to back the fact that baths are the best when it comes to relaxing. A good soak can be a great way to soothe muscles and reduce anxiety. Just make sure you keep the water temperature warm, not hot, especially during the first trimester when the baby is still developing. Also, skip using essential oils that haven’t been approved by your doctor. Try some visualisation techniques too. Imagine your stress melting away from your mind and body as the warm water trickles down. This can be the most inexpensive and affordable way to beat stress.
6 TRY ALTERNATIVE THERAPY
Hypnotherapy is known to have a deep calming and soothing effect on the mind, body, and soul suggests a study published
in the Western Journal of Medicine in 2016. A session on hypnotherapy can help you unveil its wonders. In a similar manner, acupressure can also help ease anxiety and help balance out emotions. If you wish to try these therapies out, look for an experienced practitioner in your city. You can consult Hitesh Chakraworty in Delhi and Neeraj Handa in Mumbai.
7 LISTEN TO MUSIC
You cannot deny that music is an alltime mood lifter. Listening to soothing melodies can be a great way to calm down your nerves. An extended music hour just before sleep or in the confines of your room can not only lighten you up but also relieve the foetus of stress if any. Practice visualisation listening to music, positive thinking has a positive effect on you and your baby.
8 STOP STRESSING
Anxiety over everything from what to expect from childbirth to how to take care of your newborn can drive you insane. If you are having a hard time getting sleep at night, take a break from reading pregnancy blogs and parenting books during bedtime, and include in a juicy novel instead. Just remind yourself that everything is going to turn out just fine.
9 SHARE YOUR CONCERNS
If you have non-medical questions that Google and your expert is not of much help, the best person to turn to is someone you like and trust. Invite your girlfriend over coffee, and drill her for the best pregnancy and parenting advice. She will feel flattered, you will feel better, and end up laughing about things off topic in the process too. In short, it is a total win.
10 BE INCLUSIVE
It’s true that only you will feel the physical effects of pregnancy but remember that it’s not a solo journey. Including your partner in the experience will remind you that you are not in it alone. Besides, hormonal changes during pregnancy can heighten emotional responses that can cause stress, says
Mumbai-based gynaecologist Dr Arundhati Dhar. Talking to your partner about things that are making you unhappy, or are bothering you, can go a long way in not just bringing you closer, but will also relax your mind.
According to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology in 2014, laughing decreases the cortisol level in your body, which allows your brain to release chemicals called endorphins that can lighten your mood. So, laugh as often as possible.
12 GET MOVING
Exercising certainly does not seem like an appealing task. However, a little bit of physical activity can help you de-stress. You always knew this, didn’t you? Now, be a bit more persistent about it. Working out will do wonders for your physical and mental state, and will make for easier postpartum recovery. If you do not like hitting the gym or jogging, trying some gentle stretching or light yoga can release tension from your body. Simply taking a walk in the morning or evening can be a major de-stressing tool too.
13 EAT WELL
As soon as you find out that you are pregnant, talk to your doctor to have a firm understanding of what you can consume and what you can’t. So, every time you encounter a new menu at a restaurant or go to a friend’s house for dinner, you do not have to do any guesswork. Remember, everything that goes into your body nurtures your baby. Therefore, it is more important to eat well now more than ever. Plus, nutritious food will give you the energy to deal with the daily stresses of life.
14 SLEEP TIGHT
If you have never followed this golden rule before, pregnancy is the right time to do it. Your body needs to rest during this time of increased demand. You need way more sleep during the first three months of pregnancy. Try to take a nap whenever you can. If you can catch a 15-minute nap during the day, you will feel much more relaxed at night. And if you get in bed and are unable to relax, try to find a relaxation technique that works for you. Simple things like reading before going to sleep, listening to music and even meditation can help you rest better.
15 SIP ON PEPPERMINT TEA
Keep some peppermint tea bags in your purse or briefcase, so you can fight stress and tummy trouble wherever you go. Sipping on this tea is a healthy, all-natural way to relieve stress during pregnancy. Peppermint leaves contain menthol which acts as a muscle relaxant and a sedative, says nutritionist Priya Kathpal. Peppermint also helps relieve gas from your stomach and resolve stomach issues like nausea and vomiting. The tea is naturally
caffeine-free so you can sip on it all day at work or while lounging at home.
BYE BYE ANXIETY!
Meditation can be a powerful practice during pregnancy. Whether you are feeling frustrated, depressed or just not yourself, mediation can help you feel more balanced. Follow these guidelines by yoga expert Deepak sharma to make the experience more comfortable and effective: Meditate in a position that is most comfortable: While most forms of meditation instruct you to sit upright, when you are pregnant you can sit in any position. Whether you are comfortable with a pillow between your knees or like head and neck support, just do what gives you that comfort. Meditation can come in handy when you wake up nauseous. Just continue to lie in bed and meditate until you feel settled. It is also amazing if you can’t fall back asleep in the middle of the night. Close your eyes and be in the moment. Even if you do fall back to sleep, you will get the much-needed rest your body needs. Try out different techniques to see what is best for you: When you are pregnant the best idea is to meditate often. If you are worn out, try some mantra-based technique, and if you are stressed out or worried, practice breath meditation to calm your nerves. As you practice more, you will figure out which techniques bring you comfort during specific challenges. In fact, meditation will give you the bonding experience in the deepest, most intimate form. You will begin to know your baby more. Focus on deep breaths: While fast breathing techniques like bhastrika pranayama can make you feel light-headed and dizzy when you are pregnant, techniques, that follow natural breath or extend your exhalation, can bring you to the present moment, and help you deeply relax. Sit comfortably, and make sure your knees are relaxed and your hands are soft. Take a deep breath in through your nose and count till four. Your belly should expand while you breathe in. Hold your breath for two seconds, breathe out slowly and count till six. Repeat this sequence 5-6 times. Meditate as often as you need to. When you are pregnant, you may cycle through feeling overwhelmed, moody and tired several times a day. Most meditation techniques ask you to practice only once or twice a day for a specific duration but when you are pregnant, you can meditate as often as you like. Your body, mind, and soul are working hard to meet the needs of the baby so meditating often can help you beat the stress. You are taking on stress at a faster pace and you can quickly and easily release it, too. When you meditate more and more, you will be able to quickly find your calm no matter what has thrown you off balance. It can be valuable for preparing for giving birth, too. So when you are in labour you will know the way to the calm, quiet and stillness within. You will be able to go to the labour room and relax while your baby does the rest.