Whether you are pregnant for the first time or you already have children, keeping fit and healthy throughout a pregnancy is important.
Exercising and eating properly will keep you fit and stop you from putting on too much weight. But, there’s also another aspect of being pregnant that is sometimes overlooked. Your wellbeing. How you feel and cope with the changes in your body and deal with labour is as much about mindfulness as it is about physical activity.
If you feel tired and overwhelmed when it comes to labour it can affect how you cope. If you are prepared both physically and mentally then you are more likely to have an easier birth.
Try and make some time for just you. Get your partner, your mum or a friend to look after any children you already have for 2 or 3 hours each week so that you can practice some mindfulness techniques. Good ways to keep an even balance is to take classes especially for pregnant women. You’ll stay focused, remain calm and you’ll also get to meet other soon-to-be mums in your area.
It’s safe to practice yoga during pregnancy as long as your yoga instructor knows about your condition. Or, you can join on of the many yoga classes for pregnant women that are available in many towns up and down the country.
Many yoga positions relieve muscular tension, improve circulation and tone up your body. More importantly the breathing exercises in yoga help to relax your body and teach you how to breathe from your stomach. This technique makes you breathe deeply and as the body relaxes it becomes less tense and there’s more oxygen available for you and your baby.
Another safe exercise which also includes mindfulness is pilates. Like yoga you learn how to breathe deeply which keeps you focused. The movements in pilates are precise and the pelvic exercises are designed to strengthen your pelvic and abdominal muscles which ensure baby is in the best position for birth. The control and breathing techniques will help you have an easier birth and recover faster afterwards.
Again, like yoga, pilates in an exercise based on body awareness and it increases control and concentration.
Meditation will reduce stress and help you to stay calm and positive. You can meditate at home whenever you can fit in a time to relax and concentrate on yourself. The National Health have a series of videos about yoga and meditation which you can watch.
You can also download an app like Headspace. If you’re short on time this app only takes 10 minutes a day and you get ten sessions free. There are other apps available too. Have a look at this article from the Guardian.
Getting your body and your mind ready during pregnancy will have a big impact when it’s time to give birth. If you’ve done it before you’ll know it isn’t easy, but with right state of mind you can make it a positive experience.