posted in Pregnancy
Entering the third trimester is like advancing to a graduate course in pregnancy. You’ve passed the initial “intro” courses in the first trimester and flew through the tests and preparations required in the second. Now, the end is in sight and it’s both thrilling and terrifying!
Probably the last thing on your mind right now (and the one thing everyone keeps telling you to do) is finding ways to relax. If you can steal a few minutes or hours away here and there to take care of yourself along the way, you and your baby will benefit. Here are a few ways to relax in the third trimester.
1. Treat yourself
New pajamas, soft socks, even comfy maternity bras can be a real treat these days. You could also go the spa route and get a massage for your aching back or a pedicure for your swollen feet — any way to thank your body for all the hard work it’s been doing. Even something as simple as an at-home facial mask can make you feel a little more rejuvenated.
I love to apply a simple honey hair mask about once a week while I soak in a warm bath. It couldn’t be easier: I just apply a tablespoon or two of honey to my palms and rub over my hair from roots to tips. I twist my hair into a knot and let the honey work its magic for 15-20 minutes before shampooing as normal. Since I’ve been doing this, the balance of oil in my hair is great and my hair has never looked healthier. This is a perfect example of not having to spend a lot, if anything, but it’s a nice way to pamper myself a bit.
2. Indulge in some “me” time
You’re already spending a good chunk of your day thinking about all things baby, so take a little break and get lost in a good book, your favorite magazine, or a season (or two) of the television show you can’t get enough of. Cheesy made-for-TV movies are always a good distraction. Just skip the ones on Lifetime that involve a crazy ex-girlfriend trying to steal a baby from her former lover’s new wife; you don’t need that kind of stress.
3. Focus on your whole body
Your body and your mind are both on overdrive these days so make sure you are taking care of your physical and mental health. Activities like prenatal yoga and Pilates can help with soreness and relaxation, while something as simple as a brisk walk (well, as brisk as you can these days) outside will provide the fresh air and sunshine you need to get your endorphins going.
Practicing deep breathing or meditation can help clear your mind and provide you with a sense of calmness you need right now. There are plenty of free meditation apps or videos to help but I also asked a Pilates instructor friend for some advice on deep breathing. She reminded me that it’s easy to get “caught” in a perpetual inhale in your everyday life. Try to take a moment, put a hand on your chest and take as long an exhale as possible. Make sure your chest actually falls down away from your chin when you exhale — this is a great first step to not only reducing stress, but easing neck and shoulder discomfort.
4. Catch up with friends
I’ve made it a point to get together with friends as much as possible over the last few weeks. I know that once the baby arrives my days and nights will look a lot different and I’m trying to soak up as much social interactions as possible. Even when I’m exhausted and not feeling up to it, I rarely regret being with good friends who make me laugh.
5. Limit the advice you hear
You’ve already had months of friends (and strangers) showering you with words of wisdom and well-meaning advice. (Not to mention terrifying birth stories.) These days, stick to listening to only your doctor and those who are actually involved in your health. There’s no need for any extra anxiety and stress right now. Oh, and browsing forums for labor stories is not going to help you feel better either. Just say no!
These ideas may not exactly end all the stress you’re feeling as your due date approaches, but hopefully they can help take a little of the edge off. Take care of yourself, take a nap when you can, and try to enjoy these last weeks until your sweet reward is in your arms.
What suggestions do you have to relax in the third trimester?
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