Relaxation tips during pregnancy

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I know you're busy! It proves that you are still able to work and be pregnant. Do enjoy your last weekends of socialising without a baby and getting everything on the list for your new arrival.

Relaxation however is a skill that will serve you well both during pregnancy and in the birth itself.  Here are my top five tips for relaxing during pregnancy:

1. TIME OUT

Take some time out every day to practice relaxing. You could try deep breathing. Focus on the out-breath, try this several times. Progressive body relaxation is also worth doing. Start with the top of your head and work your way gradually down your arms, body and legs, imagining each part feeling heavier and more relaxed.

2. FOCUS ON YOUR NEEDS

Keep focusing on what you do want, rather than what you don't. It's much easier for your brain to relate to a positive, rather than a negative. 

3. PROTECT YOURSELF

Protect yourself from negative images and stories about birth. It's such a cliche, but you are designed to do this and allowing your mind to focus on the negative won't help. Don't be shy about stopping people mid-flow who are determined to tell your their horror story.  I worked with one woman who would say "I really want to hear your story, but please could you tell me after I've had my baby"

4. IMAGINE YOUR IDEAL BIRTH

Allow yourself to mentally run through your ideal birth.  The mind doesn't know the difference between what's real and imagined. Mentally running through your ideal scenario help you feel more prepared when the time comes.

5. CHOOSE YOUR SAFE PLACE

Pick a place where you feel really safe and comfortable, it can be real or imagined.  It could be a childhood hide-out, a holiday destination or your garden.  Practice going there in your mind a couple of times a day, imagine what you can see and how relaxed it makes you feel.  

Natalie Qureshi