If you're in the last trimester, give yourself a well-deserved boost with our pick of the best pregnancy pick-me-ups. They're all affordable and very do-able, so indulge yourself!
Have a relaxing pregnancy massage
"Just 20 minutes of massage releases endorphins that can help to keep you calm," says midwife Zita West. Massage also nourishes your skin, which can be tight, dry and itchy during pregnancy. Book a professional pregnancy massage, or ask your partner to give you a massage at home – here are a few pointers:
- Don't lie flat on your back. Prop yourself up comfortably on pillows.
- For a back massage, kneel with your bottom resting on your heels and lean forward, supported by plenty of large cushions or pillows. Keep the pressure off your lower back, especially from 32 weeks onwards.
- Use carrier oil such as sweet almond oil (ideally organic). Always consult a registered aromatherapy practitioner about which essential oils are safe to use during pregnancy.
- Use light strokes rather than firm pressure, and avoid direct contact with the spine.
Hang out with friends and meet other mums
There's nothing like getting together for a chat with other mums-to-be. If you don't know many mums in your area, an antenatal class is a good place to start – ask your midwife or contact your local branch of the National Childbirth Trust.
Try this instant back reliever
If you suffer from lower back pain, this variation on a yoga exercise called 'the cat' may help: get on all fours with arms and legs hip-distance apart (or kneeling with your elbows on a supportive, comfortable chair) and slowly arch your back, tucking your head into your chest. Then let your back slowly return to its natural position, raising your head and chest to look straight ahead. Repeat 10 times, holding each posture for a few seconds. Try to breathe out as you arch up, and in as you relax back.
Get some energising exercise
While a snooze on the sofa may seem appealing, a little exercise is a better way to recharge your batteries and benefit your health. Why not try these two easy options.
Go for a walk
Walking is great throughout pregnancy, but especially when you want to take things easy in the third trimester. Head for your local park – exercising in pleasant surroundings will enhance your mood and fitness levels. Don't get breathless though – this means you're using oxygen that should be going to your baby.
Take the weight off your bump with a gentle swim. Ask at your local pool or leisure centre if they run any classes for mums-to-be or find out when the pool is quieter, so you can have a more relaxing swim.
Walking is great throughout pregnancy, but especially in the third trimester. Head for your local park to enhance your mood and fitness levels.