Breathe Deep: Two Easy Ways to Relax During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is ripe for anxiety and jitters. Your body is going through a massive transformation and your mind and heart are adjusting to the idea of an expanding family. On top of that, you’re probably not eating, sleeping, or even walking the way you did pre-conception. Thankfully, I’ve found simple ways to keep my body, mind and spirit relaxed during these nine months – and beyond.

1) As Easy as 4, 7, 8

The four, seven, eight breath is one of the easiest – and most effective – ways of calming a nervous mind or a heavy heart. Follow these steps the next time you feel worry or fear coming on. Note: you can do this anywhere: in the car, on the bus or while waiting on line at the post office. I like to do it while riding the subway.

  • Exhale all the air out of your lungs through your mouth
  • Inhale through your nose for four counts
  • Hold your breath for seven counts
  • Exhale through your mouth for eight counts

You may find it challenging to achieve each step when you first begin, but with practice your lung capacity will increase.

Do this three or four times or until you feel your heart rate decrease and your mind relax.

2) Feet up, Breathe Deep

Gravity is the archenemy of pregnancy. Getting off your feet is one of the most efficient methods of relieving body aches and mental stress. During the first trimester, you can lie on your back on a mat or blanket on the floor. After the second trimester, it’s probably more comfortable to rest on your side with a pillow between your legs. Once in the position of your choice, practice conscious deep breathing. This means nothing more than following your breath as it makes its way in and out of your lungs through your nose. I like to think  of the breath as a soothing and calming presence that’s scanning my body for any worries or fears and removing them with the exhalation.

Mentally repeating your version of  “I breathe in calm and peace” on the inhalation and “I breathe out fear and worry” on the exhalation tends to work wonders. You don’t have to be a professional meditator or a yogi to practice a little conscious breathing. Anyone can do it!