By Erin Ollila
There’s a lot of responsibility placed on your shoulders when you’re pregnant. Not only are you—and you alone—in charge of growing a baby in your body, but you’re also responsible for all of the preparations: your work for maternity leave, your home for the baby, and yourself for your new role in life!
Pregnancy is a perfect time to learn how to develop a self-care practice. It’s a moment in life to give yourself some grace and be kind to yourself as you embark on a new journey in life.
But where do you even begin? For some people, practicing self-care is not something they’re used to doing, and others might know how, but don’t consistently make the time.
Here are six tips for self-care during pregnancy that you can use during any trimester.
1. Make Time for Self-care
You might not think that you have extra time in your schedule to practice self-care, but that may not be the case. Even if you’re booked to the brim while waiting for baby, you can manipulate your day to center yourself and make time for you.
In an interview for this article, Lori Mihalich-Levin, mom of two boys, lawyer, and founder of Mindful Return, a program that helps new parents transition back to work after parental leave, suggests using your commute as a self-care opportunity.
She says, “Read something just for fun. Listen to a podcast you know will make you smile. Take some of the stress out of getting from here to there while pregnant!.”
If you’re not a commuter, there are still ways to stretch your time to work for you. Watch your favorite television show on your laptop while weeding the walkway or listen to an audiobook while walking the dog.
2. Schedule Extra Girls’ Nights
Your friends lift you up, and your mood improves every time you get together with them, even if you had an incredibly hard day at work or you’re stressed about big life decisions.
It’s vital to up the gal time during your pregnancy, especially if some of your friends are already mothers. Use these get-togethers as a chance to voice your anxieties (we all have them!), and ask your friends for tips on being a first-time mom. If you’re the first friend in your group who is having a baby, your nights out are still just as important for the laughs and memories you’ll make with your greatest supporters.
3. Relax With a Shower and Baths
If you are struggling with coming up with things to do for self-care, a shower or bath is a great first step. It’s something you do every day, but soaking for a few extra moments will leave you feeling refreshed and recentered. It’s also an ideal moment to repeat affirmations or practice meditation.
Mihalich-Levin says, “I created an acronym for myself to use in the shower every morning. It's ‘ISS’. The acronym reminds me to: set an intention for my day, anything from ‘go to bed earlier tonight!’ to ‘remember that you are enough, mama’; stretch, like a few yoga stretches in the shower; savor by sinking into the fact that I'm alone with hot water running over me.”
4. Journaling Your Thoughts
You’re in such a major moment of transition. If you enjoy writing, take some time daily to reflect on the changes in your body and in your life.
If you are not sure you can commit to a daily practice, try jotting down your thoughts every week. Ask your partner to take a picture of you and paste it to one side of your journal. On the opposite page, write down what happened during that week. List out your anxieties, your dreams, your cravings, or whatever else comes to mind. Not only can journaling be a form of meditation, but it also creates a keepsake you’ll always treasure.
5. Enjoy Your Hobbies
We are all multifaceted humans, and because of this, we’re going to have different hobbies that we enjoy. Make a list of yours and block off time in your schedule to actively pursue your hobbies while pregnant. Like fishing? Grab your rods and head out for the water. Enjoy gardening? Get your hands dirty. Are you a scrapbooker? Set up the baby’s book now so you only have to drop the pictures in later.
6. Get Some Rest
Growing a baby can be exhausting! One of the best ways to take care of yourself is by making the time to get as much rest as much as possible. There’s no need to complicate self-care—it can be as simple as sleeping. Trust your body. Take naps whenever you need them. Go to bed earlier than normal if you’re feeling stressed or overworked. Sleep late when you’re able to. Sleep is the fuel that will keep both you and baby healthy, so get as much of it as you can (while you can!).