Carve out some time in your diary to unwind, and the happy hormones your body releases will help your baby grow.
Life doesn’t slow down when you’re pregnant – it gets busier. Suddenly, you are shoehorning midwife appointments in to your already hectic world and coping with all the physical changes that come with having a baby on board.
‘It isn’t easy to relax during pregnancy,’ says midwife Denise Tiran. ‘But finding the time to slow down is nothing short of vital. When you relax, the levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline in your system drop.
‘In turn, the feel-good hormone oxytocin rises. The result is that you feel calmer and your circulation improves. You take in more oxygen, which, crucially, oxygenates your placenta, nourishing your baby and helping him grow.’
Taking time to relax will also help you feel less tired, as that extra oxygen will keep your body and muscles working well. ‘It will also reduce any anxiety you may be feeling,’ adds Denise. ‘And being worried and stressed is tiring! Stress also increases your perception of pain, so removing it will make any pregnancy aches and pains feel less intense.’
Put your feet up and take some me-time with these seven at-home relaxation products:
Hypnobirthing for Pregnancy Relaxation CD, £11.99, natalhypnotherapy.co.uk
Hypnobirthing for Pregnancy Relaxation is a CD which gets you to put your feet up to de-stress thoroughly for just under half an hour. To a background of quiet music, it talks you through calming breathing techniques and visualisations to remove tension and anxiety.
The Body Shop Peppermint Cooling Foot Lotion, £3, thebodyshop.co.uk
Pregnancy is hard on your feet, so give them a bit of extra love with The Body Shop Peppermint Cooling Foot Lotion. Applying this fresh, minty lotion at the end of the day feels so good – especially if someone else is doing the rubbing in for you!
U-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow, from £30, pregnancypillows.net
Nothing is more relaxing than a good night’s sleep. The lavender-scented U-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow helps you get comfortable on your left-hand side, the optimum position for pregnancy, taking pressure off your back and your tummy for a deep, restful sleep.
Sea-Band, £8.59, boots.com
The Sea-Band features two wristbands with studs that press on acupressure points on the inside of your wrists to ease nausea from morning sickness and leave you feeling relaxed.
Sanctuary Mum to Be Pure Pamper Bag, £12.50, sanctuary.com
Sanctuary Mum to Be Pure Pamper Bag is a stash of goodies to help soften and pamper pregnancy skin. All the products smell amazing, so head to the bathroom, lock the door and have a relaxing DIY spa experience.
Timeless Truth Multipeptide Calming Revitalising Facial Sheet Mask, £4.90, ttmasks.co.uk
Made for sensitive skin, so ideal for use in pregnancy, the Timeless Truth Multipeptide Calming Revitalising Facial Sheet Mask will relax facial tension as well as working wonders for your skin. And the best bit? You leave it to work its magic for 20 minutes, so it’s great for an evening switch-off.
Freya Gemstone Bracelet, £16, artsychicas.co.uk
The sparkly Freya Gemstone Bracelet features rose quartz, which is said to protect mum and baby, and moonstone to reduce anxiety. Plus, whether or not you believe in the powers of gemstones, the pretty butterfly charm is a symbol of life, and a lovely reminder to take time when you can to relax for your growing baby.