20 steps to a blissful pregnancy

Yippee, you’re pregnant! Instead of feeling nervous and stressing about how you’re going to cope when your baby arrives, now’s the time to kick back and relax

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Yoga is a great gentle pregnancy exercise

1) Accept your life is changing…

Pretending your pregnancy won’t alter the way you live and just continuing as you are isn’t great for your energy levels or your emotions. Being pregnant is a life-changing event, so acknowledge that it’s going to have an impact.

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2) …but don’t morph into Mumzilla

You’re pregnant, not ill, so try not to make your whole life about your bump. For starters, it’ll bore everyone around you, and secondly, your world is soon going to be all about babies, so there’s no need to switch to full-on mummy-mode too soon.

3) Focus on the bigger picture

This can help you get through the moments when you’re hugging the toilet bowl, feeling down, or just knackered. Remember, your body’s working hard to create a new life.

4) Take a power nap

Catch up on sleep with catnaps and lie-ins before your baby arrives. Doctors suggest sleeping on your side with your knees bent to increase blood flow, so try a pillow under your bump and between your knees for support.

5) Ditch mirror watching

If you’re bothered about your lumpy bits, it’ll only bug you if you keep looking at yourself. Everyone gains weight in pregnancy, and you need food for your growing baby and to produce milk, so try to accept your changing shape.

6) Be proud of your bump

Revel in your mum-to-be status and don’t try to disguise your tum. You’re only going to be pregnant for nine months, and will probably only show for six of those, so make the most of it and show off your bump.

7) Forget about your skinny jeans

Contrary to what happens in celeb-land, the reality of baby weight is nine months on and nine months off. So don’t pressure yourself to get back into your jeans three weeks after giving birth.

8) Watch what you eat

You may feel it’s being over-cautious to avoid certain foods, such as Camembert and raw shellfish, but your immune system is lowered when you’re expecting, so you’re more susceptible to food poisoning.

9) Ignore the pregnancy police

If you’re being sensible and making informed decisions, don’t let people start telling you what you should and shouldn’t be doing. Pregnancy doesn’t make you public property, so don’t be afraid to tell ‘experts’ to back off.

10) Go easy on yourself

You don’t have to be a Supermum in training. It’s fine if you want to read up on pregnancy, but do things at your own pace. Exercise? Have a walk in your lunch hour. Cooking from scratch? Just make sure that you eat your five a day.

11) Take things one day at a time

You don’t need to freak yourself out about labour if you’re only 12 weeks, nor do you need to worry about baby routines while in your second trimester, and you definitely don’t need to fret about being a working mother when you’ve only just brought your newborn home.

12) Make yourself relax

Allow yourself time to lounge about on the sofa in your jim jams and enjoy doing nothing. You might feel guilty, but remember that once you have a baby this’ll be a thing of the past, so lap it up while you can.

13) Try HypnoBirthing and meditation

These are self-hypnosis, relaxation and breathing techniques that’ll help you relax and also benefit you during labour. Don’t worry, you’re not in a trance pretending to be a rabbit; instead, you’re perfectly aware of what’s happening to you, but you’ll able to tune out worries and distractions and just relax.

14) Keep possible baby names to yourself

It’s bound to drive you crazy when someone declares your choice of name ridiculous/common/silly/weird. It also pays to think carefully about how your baby’s name will be shortened and how hard it is to spell.

15) Don’t stop moving

Gentle exercise, such as walking or swimming, not only lifts your mood, but it also helps your aching body deal with the extra load you’re carrying. Prenatal yoga and Pilates are also good, although you can’t do these until the second trimester.

16) Remember your pelvic floor

Ignore your pelvic floor muscles and there’s a chance you’ll be peeing your pants every time you sneeze, cough or laugh (it sounds scary, but it’s true, ask your mum or friends).

17) Forget trying to make baby brain

Whether you plan to eat more fish, or teach him Einstein’s theory of relativity, give your bump, and yourself, a break. There’s plenty of time to help your tot develop when he arrives.

18) Pamper yourself

Your skin, hair and nails all change a lot when you’re pregnant. Sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse, which is why taking time out for a bit of pampering pays off, not only in terms of maintenance, but also when it comes to feeling good about yourself.

19) Have a sex life

You’ll feel closer to your partner, and it’ll release some feel-good endorphins and help you to relax. If you’re not in the mood to get jiggy, don’t despair – your sex drive will come back once the baby’s born. In the meantime, just hang in there and spend quality time together, make sure you have lots of cuddles or get your partner to give you a massage.

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20) Don’t sweat the small stuff

There’s nothing like impending motherhood to make you worry about everything, from whether you’ve got enough space at home, to how you’re going to afford to bring up a child and be a good working mum. Just try to face each issue as it happens and refuse to do more than that.

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