If you're pregnant for the first time then you might not quite comprehend how important it is to relax while you're still able to do it with ease, if you're a second (third or fourth!) time mum then you definitely know how important it is to get in some relaxation while you still can! Hypnobirthing and relaxation obviously go hand in hand and as with any skill (relaxing is definitely a skill) the more you do it the better you get at it. One of the core things we teach in hypnobirthing is that if your body is relaxed in labour your muscles will work more efficiently which means you'll have a shorter and much more comfortable labour. So here is my list of the best things you can do to relax in pregnancy that will ultimately help you relax during labour.
A warm bath with essential oils
One of the cheapest and easiest things you can do to relax is to have a good old fashioned bath! Splash a few drops of your favourite relaxing essential oil (but do make sure it’s safe for use during pregnancy), light some candles and turn off the main light, and then lay back and let the warm water ease your tension away whilst you read a book or listen to some chilled music (or your relaxation audio if you’re doing a hypnobirthing course).
Go on a 'babymoon'
You’re probably working the whole way through your pregnancy right up to a week or two before your ‘due date’ and whilst your boss may give you a little leeway for being pregnant you may have one like mine who said things like “If I do it for you then I have to do it for everyone”! Your normal workload coupled with the commute into work can really tire you out when you’re pregnant. If there’s anyway you can afford it I would wholeheartedly recommend going away before the baby comes and just spend a week relaxing, laying in the sun and letting someone else cook and clean for you! It really does help recharge your batteries and will be the last time you get to go on holiday without your child (which some people need a holiday to recover from!) for a long time.
Take the day off work & binge on Netflix
If you can’t take a full week off work for whatever reason you should at least be able to book one day off. Take a days holiday, get your favourite snacks in, stay in your PJs, order takeaway for lunch, put your current favourite series on Netflix and binge the hell out of it! The only time you should get off that sofa is to go to the toilet (which will probably be about 50,000 times) or to answer the door for the takeaway!
Listen to your hypnobirthing audio
If you’re doing a hypnobirthing course part of your ‘homework’ will be to listen to your relaxation MP3 as often as you can. When I was pregnant and taking a hypnobirthing course my favourite part of the day was going upstairs, laying on my bed and putting my audio on. I’d never before done any kind of meditation or relaxation so it was a new experience for me but I really loved having an excuse to go and lay on my bed and truly relax for half an hour, it really felt like such a treat. I have to say it definitely worked, when it came to the day of my labour getting in to a relaxed state of mind and body was so easy, I didn’t have to ‘do’ anything to achieve it because of all the practice I did.
On a similar vibe to listening to your hypnobirthing relaxation audio, doing a spot of meditation can do wonders for relaxing your mind and helping you unwind which will ultimately help you relax your body. If you’re new to meditation and don’t know how to do it yourself I can recommend the Headspace app, it has a useful (and free) beginners course on meditation, though once you’ve done that you do have to pay for most of the content after that. Another great resource for this is an app called Insight Timer, it has hundreds of guided meditations and relaxations and they are all completely free! It even has a pregnancy section (it’s not in the main navigation but you can easily find it if you type ‘pregnancy' in the search bar)
Go on a spa day
Spa days can be expensive but so worth it! If you don’t have the cash to spare (especially with the thought of having to live on maternity pay weighing on your mind) ask for it as a present - you're pregnant for 9 months so chances are it'll either be your birthday or Christmas at some time during your pregnancy (unless you’re a little unlucky), They also have loads of spa day deals on Groupon/Woucher/Living Social. If money is really tight and you haven't got anyone who could buy you it as a gift you can create your own spa at home for a fraction of the cost. Get some girlfriends over, buy some mud packs and do each others nails - you really will feel so relaxed whether you do it at home or are lucky enough to go to a proper spa.
Having a pregnancy massage is one of the best things I did when I was pregnant. Having someone rub away your aches and pains with lovely smelling oils really does take you to another place. I felt so relaxed afterwards I practically floated away out of the treatment room. If you’re local to the area I can highly recommend the lovely Nina Traille who is based in Watford. She has such a calming presence and years of experience, you really won’t want the massage to end. We are shortly going to be working together to offer the ultimate pregnancy relaxation package so watch this space!
Pregnancy Yoga or Pilates class
Pregnancy yoga and Pilates classes are brilliant ways to relax, they’re both gentle forms of exercise to help prepare your body for giving birth but also really relaxing. They both incorporate breathing techniques in a similar vein (but not the same) as the ones you’ll learn on a hypnobirthing course.
If you get the chance to do any (or all) of the above throughout your pregnancy jump on that chance and don’t let it go. The more ways you can relax in your pregnancy, the more opportunity you are giving you body and mind to get used to being in the zone so that when the day of your labour arrives it will be a piece of cake getting into the right frame of mind. Happy relaxing ladies! Comment below if you have any other great ways to relaxed in pregnancy.