Deep Relaxation Techniques to Use During Your Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a stressful time for expecting mothers. There are a number of scary changes with your body, a never-ending whirlwind of thoughts, and the pressure to get prepared while still keeping up with your daily tasks and/or work. However, relaxing is important for a healthy pregnancy and you need to take some time to prioritize it.

While forcing yourself to relax sounds like the opposite of actually relaxing, once you start to work some techniques into your schedule you’ll notice a huge different in your mental clarity, energy, and stress.

There are a number of benefits that accompany deep relaxation techniques including less stress, reduced overall muscle tension, stress and anxiety reduction, increased levels of serotonin, increased mental clarity, decreased risk of diseases, better sleep, stronger heart muscles, and a more powerful immune system. All of which are a great addition to a healthy pregnancy.

Deep Relaxation Techniques

Everyone is different. Some women prefer to break a sweat while others would rather read a book with a warming cup of herbal tea. Regardless of what you’re into, there are number of deep relaxation techniques to choose from. Check out some of our favorite ones below to create your perfect relaxation formula.

Practice Yoga

One of the best deep relaxation techniques to do during pregnancy is to practice yoga. Not only does it help you relax, it also helps you get in some great pregnancy-safe exercise. There are a number of different prenatal classes available to take or find a yoga studio near you.

Stick to non-heated yoga classes and practice them a few times a week. After you’ve gone to some guided classes try putting together your own routine at home or check out some of these great prenatal yoga videos online.

You don’t have to create a full-blown routine to get the benefits of deep relaxation from yoga. Even just a few stretches or postures when you wake up and before you go to bed will do wonders to increase your zen.

Perform Muscle Relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique that works to release tension in all of the muscles in your body. It’s a practice that takes some time to master, but is well worth the learning curve.

You start out lying somewhere comfortable, in a relaxing environment. Then, starting with your hands, you will tense and then relax individual sets of muscles along each side of your body. After your hands, work your muscles relaxation up your arms, into your shoulders and jaw, and then down the length of your body.

If it feels weird at first, keep it up and you’ll begin to notice a huge different pre and post session.

Get a Massage

Many people view getting a massage as a luxury, but it doesn’t need to be. There are plenty of massage parlors that are much more affordable than a typical luxurious spas. Check your local listing and find out what your town has to offer and then start shopping around. Talk to the owners about whether or not they have experience working with expecting mothers, if they have a special table and/or pillow, and if they offer any prenatal massages.

Since a full-blown body massage isn’t recommended early on in a pregnancy, opt for a relaxing head, shoulder, arm, leg, hand or foot massage. Once you find a place that you love, treat yourself! Relaxation helps both mom and baby.

If you’d prefer to visit a spa for the full package, see if there are any good rates on Groupon or discount codes. There’s something about spending a day in a robe that can’t be beaten. Make sure to talk to the spa and your doctor to understand what is safe and what should be avoided.

Focus on Deep Breathing

Deep breathing offers a number of overall health benefits in addition to increased relaxation. It helps lower your heart rate, induces sleep more quickly, and helps you control your emotions. Deep breathing takes some time to master, but once you do it’s easy to practice at any time of the day.

Sit or lie down in a comfortable position and slowly breathe in deeply through your nose. Place a hand on your belly and one hand on your chest and feel the rise in your belly as your lungs fill with air. Use your diaphragm to take deep breaths. Once you cannot breathe in any longer, hold it for a few seconds before slowly exhaling out of your nose. Continue for as long as you need before you start feeling relaxed.

Work With Guided Imagery

There are plenty of apps and even playlists available for free to help take you through a guided imagery practice, but it’s also possible to do on your own.

All you need to do is envision yourself somewhere beautiful, serene, or relaxing… your happy place, so to say. Include all of the miniscule details for every sense and try and imagine yourself there right now. If you’re having difficulty doing this without any images, try looking at a picture.

Practice Meditation

If you want to take your relaxation to the next level, try meditation. Meditation works to combine deep breathing and, in some practices, guided imagery. The focus of meditation is to bring about a sense of calm while you work to clear your mind.

Many people get frustrated with mediation because they aren’t able to stop their thoughts from entering and leaving their minds, but that’s okay. Meditation takes practice and whenever you notice yourself thinking about something, just return to your breathing.

There are also a number of meditation practices that combine deep breathing with guided imagery. If you want some help, check out some free apps online or listen to some of these guided meditations.

Get Some Exercise

Even mild exercise helps your body release endorphins, which make you feel happy and relaxed. It doesn’t matter what you do, whether it’s an easy walk, doctor-approved weight lifting, swimming, or a class at your gym—just get out there and move. Even though you may feel tired and unmotivated, you’ll be happy you did it when you’re done.

Rest

Women have a lot on their plate, which is why simply taking an hour or two a day to just sit down and rest will do wonders for your overall feelings of relaxation. Take advantage of the time you have now and put your feet up. Pregnancy comes with a lot of changes to your body and mind, but pretty soon you won’t have the luxury to just stop and enjoy the silence.

Go Outside

Fresh air does the body and mind good and if it’s sunny outside, that’s even better. It doesn’t have to be for long, but getting outside will boost your mood. If the weathers nice, head to the park with a friend and have a picnic, take the dog for a walk, or simply sit outside for a few minutes. We’re inside for so much of the day that anything outside helps.

Communicate

Talking through your stress with your partner, family members, doctor, or friends is a great way to practice deep relaxation. More often than not, we bottle up our problems and that only causes anxiety and stress. When we talk to someone and share our feelings, there’s a sense of relief that follows.

If you’re having trouble talking to the people in your life, head to an expecting mothers forum and see if you find some release there.

Take a Bath

At the end of a long day, nothing works better to relax your body and mind than a nice warm bath. Just avoid scalding temperatures and talk to your doctor before using any aromatherapy to make sure it’s safe for the baby.

Conclusion

After learning a little more about the deep relaxation techniques available for you to practice during your pregnancy, you’ll be prepared for a happy and healthy journey. Being relaxed provides many benefits to both you and your baby and helps you develop and sustain a healthy mindset. As with everything that you do during pregnancy, make sure to discuss changes in nutrition or exercise programs with your doctor prior to starting. You can also find more great pregnancy tips, info, and product reviews on our website. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, don’t forget to order your free, insurance covered breast pump through Byram Healthcare!

If you have any other deep relaxation techniques that worked during your pregnancy, post them on our Facebook page! We always love hearing what other mothers-to-be have to say!

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