15 MUST-TRY WAYS TO KICK BACK, RE­LAX AND EN­JOY YOUR PREG­NANCY

En­joy your bump!

Mother & Baby - - CONTENTS - BY TA­NIA TARAFDAR

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.

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