The moment you discover that you are pregnant, you become a mother. Sure, your baby has nine months of incubation before they get here, but being pregnant is part of the motherhood experience.
While there are plenty of amazing moments to enjoy during pregnancy, you can also expect a few rough patches on your journey to motherhood. Hello, morning sickness. Nice to meet you, cankles.
So how can you get through those trickier pregnancy moments without stress? Here are 15 things that may help expectant mamas have a stress-free pregnancy.
1. Quell queasiness
First stop on the “Happy Pregnancy check-list” is something to soothe your stomach. And The Morning Sickness Mama Essential Oil Blend can do just that. Designed to help mamas-to-be cope with nausea, it can be applied to your pulse points to help ease that sick stomach feeling. It’s the ginger and peppermint oils that do the trick to relieve morning sickness.
Available online from Etsy store Harper Apothecary ($11).
2. Push past the anxiety that something might go wrong.
One of the worst parts of the first trimester is the fear that something bad will happen. Not all mothers experience this anxiety, but many do, especially if you have had a pregnancy loss before.
Try to keep your mind clear and all irrational thoughts away. Focus on getting through one day at a time and remember, there is nothing you can do to control what happens. So there is no point in worrying about something you cannot control.
3. Snack right
You’re starving, but your stomach is having trouble accepting any food. Welcome to pregnancy. And time to welcome Franjo’s Kitchen’s Belly Bump Pregnancy Crackers into your cupboard for a guilt-free snack, no stress.
These bickies are packed full of goodness like sunflower seeds, buckwheat flour and brown rice flour to help boost your energy, reduce sugar cravings and tackle morning sickness.
4. Indulge in a comfy bra
Take it from Beyonce. All you need to get through pregnancy (and a maternity photo shoot that will be seen by the world), is a decent maternity bra.
5. Give in to your cravings
With wine off the table, food is pretty much all you’ve got to help keep you sane on those extra stressful days.
6. Make peace with your changing body
Don’t let social media fool you. After pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, your body is most likely not going to look the same. It is not going to ‘bounce back’. It is not a ball.
Part of becoming a mum is accepting a new body – one that comes with a few extra stretch marks. These are the marks of a mother. And they beat perfectly-perky breasts any day (or so we keep telling ourselves).
7. Accept that hormones are (most likely) to blame
Rationality goes out the door when you are pregnant. It is perfectly logical to assume that the world is ending because there’s no milk left in the fridge.
When your emotions are out of control and you are flicking between wanting to weep and wanting to throw a shoe at your husband’s head, take a deep breath and remember – it’s the hormones.
With that being said, however, sometimes, it’s not just hormones. Sometimes, it’s perinatal depression. Please, if you’re not coping, talk to your doctor. Speaking to someone about your concerns can make all the difference to your pregnancy and well-being.
8. Blend away the baby belly blues
Nothing says “it’s okay, the back pain will end soon” quite like a fancy schmancy margarita. But, since that’s not allowed, how about the next best thing?
A smoothie! Smoothies can keep your energy up, help ease morning sickness and provide you with a daily dose of antioxidants. Plus they taste delicious. And they won’t leave you with a nasty hangover.
9. Pick up a cute pair of shoes for comfort
Because you cannot expect to carry around an extra 10 or15 kilograms without requiring pregnancy friendly flat footwear.
10. Ice your sore bits
Childbirth is going to leave your lady bits battered, bruised and in need of some serious icing. But pregnancy can also leave you aching all over (including down below).
The Woman Maternity Care pack delivers cooling or warming relief to your most sensitive spots. Pick up one pack for pre-baby and one for post-baby. Because a stress-free pregnancy demands special care for all your bits.
Available from Bodyice. ($79).
11. Escape with a feel good pregnancy flick
Not sure what to watch? Check out our top pregnancy movie choices. Some will make you laugh, some will make you cry, and some will make you more impatient than ever to meet your baby.
12. Write it out
There are a number of ways you can use your hands to relieve stress – drawing, colouring in and writing are just a few. If you do enjoy writing, then a pregnancy milestone journal may be something you will fancy filling out.
If you’re not really the ‘keeping track’ kind of gal, colouring in may be more your pace. These quiet activities can be great for calming overactive minds and alleviating stress.
13. Sleep it off
There will come a time in pregnancy (probably at least once in each trimester), that your body will just give up and need sleep. Don’t fight it. Go to bed at 7pm. Sleep the entire weekend away. Your body wants to sleep. So let it.
If you happen to miss a dinner party (or seven), blame the baby bump.
14. Accept that floating in a pool is a-ok
Embrace your inner hippo and hop on one of these extra-awesome pregnancy lilos. If you’re pregnant during summer and pretty much ready to implode from the heat, then this clever invention can make your pool lounging dreams come true. Or take it on your babymoon.
Plus, you can use it as a mattress so you can lie on your stomach safely while your partner gives you a back rub. Win-win.
15. Keep the end goal in mind
Pregnancy is an experience that changes you, challenges you, and often consumes you. It can be painful, confusing and embarrassing at times. But every backache, every bad dream and every bladder leak is worth it in the end.
Find more great pregnancy advice and useful tips in our jam-packed pregnancy section.