Have a hygge win­ter preg­nancy

This win­ter, take your nest­ing to a new level by prac­tis­ing the Dan­ish art of hygge, which will help you cher­ish this spe­cial time. Best of all, it doesn’t have to cost a thing, writes Me­lany Bendix

Your Pregnancy - - Pregnancy Files -

THE DANES KNOW HOW to han­dle a long, cold win­ter. They bring light into their lives by break­ing up the dark months with hygge (pro­nounced hue-guh), the art of creat­ing or feel­ing a spe­cial mo­ment, ei­ther alone or with friends, at home or out. You can’t buy hygge, or or­der it in, or fake it – you can only feel it. “Hygge lit­er­ally only re­quires a con­scious ap­pre­ci­a­tion, a cer­tain slow­ness, and the abil­ity to not just be present – but to recog­nise and en­joy the present,” ex­plains Alex Beauchamp, a Dan­ish me­dia strate­gist who shares her love of hygge through her blog hygge­house.com. So how do you bring a bit of hygge into your life? Sim­ple, says Alex: through ac­tions and small rit­u­als that bring about joy and in­ti­macy – two im­por­tant emo­tions for a happy, healthy preg­nancy. “The con­cept of hygge is a bril­liant one and should be em­braced by women and men alike – uni­ver­sally,” says doula and hyp­no­birthing ed­u­ca­tor Char­lene Yared West of Re­lax Into Birth. “Its im­por­tance [in preg­nancy] can­not be em­pha­sised enough,” agrees Gayle Fried­man of the Sun­shine Health Academy, who is a doula who also prac­tises pre­na­tal and post­na­tal aro­mather­apy mas­sage.

PUTTING IT INTO PRAC­TICE

Hav­ing a hygge preg­nancy this win­ter can be as sim­ple as tak­ing a few min­utes each day for re­lax­ation, vi­su­al­i­sa­tion and pos­i­tive af­fir­ma­tions, says Char­lene, who runs a monthly course, Re­lax Into Birth, de­signed to help preg­nant women do just that. “These prac­tices are de­signed to help women be­come more aware of their bodies and ba­bies and how per­fectly de­signed the process is. Once they un­der­stand how pow­er­ful they re­ally are, it can re­ally en­hance their sense of self-con­fi­dence and elim­i­nate fear around the process of birth,” she ex­plains. “I see this as a daily dose of hygge, which will con­di­tion the mind and body to­wards a happy ex­pec­ta­tion of labour and birth, no mat­ter if it ends up as a nat­u­ral or cae­sarean birth.” Yoga in preg­nancy is an­other way of prac­tic­ing hygge daily, says Gayle. “Yoga helps women to con­nect to their bodies in preg­nancy. It should not be a time of over-us­ing, over-ton­ing or even over-strength­en­ing the muscles–it is a time of soft­en­ing and stretch­ing the muscles to make it eas­ier for birth… Daily yoga prac­tice helps mothers to breathe through labour, birth, life and par­ent­ing with a sense of well­ness and a sense of be­ing able to cope.” Reg­u­lar mas­sage is an­other way to re­lax and stay in tune with your changing body, she adds. “Emo­tion­ally, mas­sage can help the mother re­lax and help her to con­nect to her own body and to her baby. Con­nec­tion is so im­por­tant and often taken for granted. If a woman is too busy with work or other is­sues re­quir­ing her at­ten­tion, she might not pay at­ten­tion to her phys­i­cal or emo­tional needs, and this can come up in the birth and be prob­lem­atic.” Hygge can take many dif­fer­ent forms, though, from tak­ing a bub­ble bath (un­less you’re in Cape Town!) to light­ing a can­dle ev­ery evening, tak­ing a daily walk, keep­ing a preg­nancy jour­nal or lis­ten­ing to a song and do­ing noth­ing else ex­cept lis­ten. And don’t for­get to make your own “hyggekrog” – a cosy cor­ner or nook, where you can get comfy, have a cup of tea and just be. Ul­ti­mately, there’s no right or wrong way to prac­tice hygge – do what­ever you like to cre­ate a warm and cosy at­mos­phere where you can savour your preg­nancy this win­ter. YP

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