The countdown is officially on, girl!
There are cots to be built, books to be read and babies to be birthed.
As we say in our Pre-Bump Manual: Pregnancy isn’t all sunshine and glow.
We get it. BUT.
Not only can you do this (and do it while showcasing your signature style of awesomeness) but you can do it with reduced stress levels.
Four ways to reduce your stress during pregnancy
Practice diaphragmatic (belly) breathing.
Breathing is breathing, right? You can’t do it wrong. (And you’ll definitely know when you’re not breathing!)
Well … not all types of breathing are made equal.
When you’re stressed, your body shifts into flight or fight mode and your breathing becomes shallow and rapid. This kicks up your stress levels.
To counteract this type of stress breathing, you need to return to deep, slow inhalations and exhalations that expand your belly.
Give it a go by sitting on your bed with your feet flat on the floor. Place one hand on your chest, and the other hand on your upper belly. Inhale while keeping your chest hand still and unmoving. Breathe by expanding your lower ribs and belly and feel most of the movement in your belly hand. Breath in for four counts and out for eight counts. Repeat ten times.
Stretch those pecs.
With bubba putting extra pressure on your body, it’s important to stretch and soothe your back. A pec stretch is amazing for relieving tension in the upper back and neck. Once you release the tightness in the front of the body, the neck and back can take a vacation and stop fighting gravity so much.
Here’s how to do a pec stretch properly…
Stand in a doorway with feet slightly staggered in a lunge position
Place arms in a goal post position at 90/90 with forearms resting against doorframe
Lean forward gently and control the movement with your legs, feel the stretch in your breast meat!
Hold x 30-60 seconds/ Repeat after each baby feed or at least 3 x daily.
Ditch the phone and go for a walk outside.
Inside your mind is a busy place. Especially with all the pregnancy to-do’s taking up space! It’s time to step outside (both literally and figuratively) and give yourself a chance to breathe.
Spending time in nature is a great way to infuse your day with some mindfulness (plus it’s great for your health!)
We recommend mindful walking. Which basically means ditching distractions (yep, that includes Instagram scrolling while you’re strolling) and focusing solely on the present moment.
Feel the sensation of your feet striking the ground and pushing off with every step. See the many shades of green you’re surrounded by. Listen to the birds, wind and children laughing. Be here, now.
Practice quadruped core ab activation.
During these crucial baby-making (and baby-delivering) stages, it’s vital that you cultivate and maintain core strength. But … how?
A good place to start is to practice quadruped core ab activation. Here’s how.
Position your knees beneath your hips and hands beneath your shoulders. Carefully find your ‘neutral spine’.
Inhale then on the exhale gently draw up your pelvic floor (which also recruits your deep abdominals). Your lower abdomen draws gently toward the spine.
REMEMBER … this is quite a subtle movement.
Next, turn on your deep abdominal muscles for ten seconds, then relax.
Continue breathing normally and lengthen through the spine and crown of your head.
Repeat for ten reps one to two times daily.
Doing this exercise correctly is like a meditation; it requires concentration and will absolutely keep you focused. Perfect for combating pregnancy stress!
Once you’re done, give yourself a pat on the back and take a few minutes out for you.
And remember … nothing lasts forever. Including your pregnancy!
Want more ways to cultivate a healthy pregnancy?
Explore our Body Beyond Birth prenatal program