11 Ways To Relax During Pregnancy

by Ann deBruyn

Pregnancy brings a lot of changes to the body.

This often leads to feeling anxious, stressed, and vulnerable.

Why?

Because of our thoughts.

Whenever your mind starts to notice your body changing, you’ll have thoughts about that change. If those thoughts are harsh and critical, they will likely cause negative emotions. (This is because your thoughts always cause your feelings.)

If you’re like most of the women in Grow You, you didn’t learn this growing up.

Instead, what you learned is that everything outside of you is causing your feelings.

This is simply not true.

And it’s where the magic of doing the inner work to become more mindful comes in.

When you practice mindfulness, you relax into your body. You relax into the changes. You surrender to your body.

The outcome is that you calm down your nervous system and reduce stress, overwhelm, worry, anxiety, and more.

  • Related: Curiosity (podcast)

11 Ways To Relax During Pregnancy

There are many different ways you can relax during pregnancy.

Below is a list of the top 11 ways to relax during pregnancy.

Each suggestion is something that I’ve personally done or coached moms to do in Grow You (our community).

By doing these relaxation techniques during pregnancy, you’ll understand the cause of your anxiety, stress, or worry, as well as the solution to solve it.

Your pregnancy will be happier, healthier, and less stressful. (Everyone—including your baby—wins.)

1. Get out of your head.

Feeling relaxed is impossible if you’re constantly overthinking and overanalyzing (i.e. if you’re stuck in your head). This happens when your nervous system is activated. You might even feel some low grade anxiety.

To solve this, get out of your head and into your body.

Visualize going into your brain and turning off the overthinking lever. Then close your eyes and take some deep breaths to calm yourself down and lower your heart rate.

You can go from feeling very tense to feeling grounded and relaxed just by practicing this regularly.

Resources:

  • How To Cope With Negative Thoughts As A Mom (free class)
  • Rest On Purpose (podcast)

2. Let yourself cry.

When you feel big feelings, let yourself cry.

Crying is one way your body releases emotion.

If you resist the urge to cry, you’ll tense up and tighten up, creating resistance.

Crying allows emotion to move through your body and will put you into a more relaxed state.

  • Related: How To Become A More Mindful Mom (free class)

3. Create more white space on your calendar.

If you’re constantly in “go, go, go” mode because your calendar is full, it will be impossible to relax.

This is why scheduling “white space” (or margin) is so important.

Particularly when you’re pregnant, you need to let your body rest.

So schedule down time and when that time comes, do nothing. For the Type-A, overachiever this will be really hard to do. But you’ll be so glad you did. You, your body, and your baby need it.

Resources:

  • Reducing Overwhelm (podcast)
  • Time Management Tips For Busy Mom (free class)
  • Marriage Seasons (podcast)

4. Stretch your body.

Stretching your body is an excellent way to take care of your physical health during pregnancy.

Your body is changing fast, and if you don’t take care of it during this time, the changes will create problems.

For example, I had bad tailbone pain when I was pregnant if I sat for too long and didn’t take breaks from work. My body was telling me it needed me to get up and move!

Stretching is a simple and very doable way to take care of your body during pregnancy and can even help with muscle relaxation. Try taking a pregnancy yoga class or even just being mindful of stretching a certain amount of time each day.

Resources:

  • 75 Journal Prompts For Mom (free download)
  • Thursday Inspo (weekly email newsletter)

5. Practice positive self talk.

How you talk to yourself matters tremendously.

There are now over 4,000 studies of how mindfulness (becoming aware of your thoughts and feelings) is beneficial.

While most people think that being harsh and self critical is necessary to create change, the opposite is true.

When you love yourself and practice self compassion, you change from a place of abundance.

In the Being Kind To Yourself Hidden Brain podcast episode, they explore this at length.

The bottom line is that there’s enormous research showing that positive self talk creates a much better overall quality of life.

6. Get around other pregnant women and new moms.

To alleviate stress during pregnancy, get around other expectant or new moms.

This will help you feel better because your brain will have specific examples (from these women sharing their experiences) of what’s to come. Instead of your brain wondering and going into stress or anxiety, it can borrow these stories to feel better.

This, of course, assumes you’re around other women who are sharing positive stories, so choose wisely.

Resources:

  • Podcast Directory (free download)
  • Mom-To-Be Mindset Tips (podcast)
  • How To Practice Pregnancy Self Care (blog post)

7. Spend 10 minutes every day on intentional self care.

It’s important that you prioritize your own self care. This isn’t fluff or a luxury. It’s truly how you take care of yourself.

When you have a full cup and feel good, you have so much more to give. When you try to give from an empty cup, you can end up feeling stressed and even resentful.

If you’re not used to spending time taking care of yourself, start small with just 10 minutes every day. You can download my 75 Journal Prompts For Moms free download and get started with a simple exercise of answering one journal prompt daily.

8. Get outside into nature.

Fresh air and focusing on your breathing while outside has a remarkable way of making it easier for you to relax.

When you get outside, focus on your senses (this gets you out of your mind and the mental chatter you may be experiencing).

When you focus on being present in nature, you can reduce anxiety, as you’ll be getting more grounded.

Resources:

  • How To Clear Your Mind Of Negative Thoughts (blog post)
  • 3 Steps To Reduce Anxiety For Mom (free class)
  • How To Deal With A Challenging Relationship (free training)

9. Educate yourself on all things motherhood.

Stress during pregnancy (or worry or anxiety or any other similar emotion) is often increased by fear of the unknown.

For this reason, the more you educate yourself, the better.

You can’t plan out your labor and delivery, nor can you plan out what being a mom will be like, but you can prepare for it.

By educating yourself, you’ll feel more confident in your capacity and capabilities of what’s to come with all the new upcoming experiences headed your way.

  • Related: How To Increase Self Awareness (free class)

10. Take more naps.

As you begin to next toward the end of your pregnancy, do whatever you can to take more naps.

Even if you don’t completely fall asleep, lie down and let your body pause and be still.

Try to get into a comfortable position when you do this so that you give yourself the beset chance possible of truly enjoying this time to relax.

If you run a little high strong, this won’t be natural. But the more you practice it, the easier (and more enjoyable) it gets.

I loved taking naps during pregnancy, and as a former over-achiever, perfectionist, this is something I never would’ve thought possible. It was 100% worth it.

Resources:

  • What Is Mindful Pregnancy (blog post)
  • Mental Chatter (podcast)

11. Coach yourself.

Coaching yourself is the practice of becoming more aware of what you’re thinking and feeling.

You can start by simply asking yourself:

  • What am I thinking?
  • What emotion (in one word) am I feeling?

This will help you start to become more mindful.

In Grow You, I teach an entire course on how to coach yourself. You can learn more here: Grow You Community.

A Final Note

As you try to relax during pregnancy, notice your stress levels and follow the 11 steps above to make small progress every day.

One of the best ways for you to take care of yourself during this stage of your life is to make sure you prioritize your own mental, physical, and emotional health. This includes making sure you have a way to relieve stress and feel more relaxed each and every day.