By Bailey Gaddis
Growing a tiny person in your body is no small feat. The physical, mental, and emotional toll of pregnancy stress can sometimes push even the calmest woman to her limit. If you’re expecting a baby and concerned about stress management, consider some of these relaxation methods for every month of pregnancy. These tips can help you stay cool, calm, and collected through your nine-month journey and beyond.
1st trimester: A time of transformation
1st month: The first month of pregnancy is a time of great excitement and uncertainty. You may find yourself moving through overwhelming joy, bursts of fear, and moments of physical discomfort. This is the time to make friends with your breath work and practice taking whole and deep breathes as often as possible—especially when you are feeling stress seep in.
2nd month: As you move into the second month of pregnancy you’re nearing the time of your first prenatal visit with a medical care provider, and the first ultrasound. Choosing a wonderful medical care provider is a great opportunity and responsibility. You want to make sure the person you are welcoming into your birthing tribe will align with and support your wishes, whatever they turn out to be. If you feel overwhelmed by the options, take a moment to sit in a comfortable location with your eyes closed, allowing your mind to quiet by visualizing your thoughts as passing clouds, and set the intention that your intuition will serve up the answers that will best support you.
3rd month: The end of your first trimester hopefully marks your transition out of the more uncomfortable aspects of pregnancy, like nausea and dizziness, into the exciting phase of watching your belly grow. Witnessing your body transform may hold an element of surprise. To integrate with these physical changes stand in front of the mirror for one minute every day gazing at your favorite physical feature, and honoring the extraordinary feat your body is accomplishing (it’s growing a new life! Wow!)
This video will help you navigate the release of your fears during the 1st trimester:
2nd trimester: The golden age
4th month: Leaving the physical growing pains of the first trimester behind creates more space for your mind to start processing the changes that are flowing into your life. There will likely be an overflow of questions, concerns, and to-dos pouring in. First, take a moment to breathe, and then make a list of all the stuff in your mind. Getting it out of your mind and on to paper will allow your mind to relax and begins the process of creating a manageable plan of action to gently and gradually get it all done.
5th month: If you choose to discover the sex of your baby this is the month it will happen. If the sex is not what you expected or hoped for, you may experience a bit of disappointment. This disappointment is nothing to be ashamed of and is natural. To integrate yourself with this discovery, write it out. Get out a journal or piece of paper and pour your feelings about the sex of your baby, and what that means for your future, onto the page. Be honest, be open, and don’t censor yourself. You can always throw away the writing after you’ve released the thoughts.
6th month: You now have a round baby belly, but are hopefully still able to move around easily and travel comfortably. If this is your first baby, this is the last time you and your partner can “get away” before becoming parents. Travel restrictions begin to pop up during the third trimester and you may not feel like moving through the steps that traveling entails. If you’re able, go ahead and plan a baby-moon with your partner. This can be as elaborate as two weeks on the beaches of Bali, or a weekend at your local bed and breakfast. Set the intention that this time away will be for the two of you to connect and remember why you’re in love—leave the “new baby to-dos” behind.
This video will assist you in appreciating the value of water in your journey and in creating your birth preferences:
3rd trimester: It’s baby time
7th month: It’s baby shower time! Baby is ready to party and you deserve some time to kick back and relish in the love and gifts of your friends and family. If someone offers to throw you a baby shower, I recommend taking them up on it—allowing yourself the pleasure of sitting back and enjoying instead of having to plan a get together. If you want more control over this party, keep it simple, and remember that the whole purpose is to celebrate the new life you’ll soon be welcoming into the world, and to enjoy yourself!
8th month: Do you have an insatiable urge to clean, paint walls, and order baby stuff online? Welcome to the nesting stage. Follow these instincts but remember that it’s important to harmonize all the physical exertion with relaxation. After you’ve had a nesting session, put on some comfortable clothing, eat a snack, drink some water, nestle into your favorite position on the couch and listen to one of these guided relaxation downloads (after going pee of course).
9th month: Hey mama, it’s time to have your baby! Review all the knowledge you’ve gained over the past nine months, in regards to childbirth preparation, relaxation techniques, and more. Then, let it all go. Trust that the path you’re meant to walk will naturally unfold for you. Take this time to sleep late, go to the movies, go out to dinner with your honey, and generally do whatever the heck you feel like. You will soon be spending a great amount of time nurturing someone else, so this is your time to be pampered.
This video will help you navigate the planning (and enjoying!) of your baby shower, and how to prep your bedroom for the introduction of a new tiny human:
4th trimester: Welcome to your new life
The first few months postpartum are full of bliss, uncertainty, learning curves, and discovery. Be gentle with yourself, knowing there is no such thing as perfect parenting. Your baby will cry, you’ll likely cry, and your heart will be filled with so much love it will make you dizzy. Go with it and know there will be a time in your future when you’ll get a full night sleep, take a leisurely shower, and feel the desire to have sex.
In the meantime, honor your need for self-care and accept the help of others—remembering that occasionally taking time for yourself does not make you a bad mother, it makes you a better mother. Relish in the newness and don’t shy away from your authentic emotions. You’ve had your baby, you’re a badass, and you can accomplish anything.
Did you enjoy these tips? They’re all integrated in the upcoming book Feng Shui Mommy: A Guide to Harmonizing Your Life Before, During, and After Childbirth. You can find out more about it through the book trailer and on the Facebook page.
Ojai-based Bailey Gaddis, known as the “Feng Shui Mommy,” is is a certified hypotherapist and birth doula—most recently, having assisted in a 40-hour natural birth. She offers online services for women striving for a peaceful pregnancy. Learn more at YourSereneLife.