It’s no secret you’ve got a lot going on in pregnancy. Amid the whirlwind of appointments, preparations and daily life, self-care might feel like yet another “to-do”.

However, true self-care doesn’t feel like a chore, but an essential and nourishing activity – when you pick the right one for you.

What is proper self-care, actually?

Self-care means looking after your physical and mental wellbeing. It’s not a “nice idea” but a “must have” – especially when you’re creating another human.

For example, research shows that exercising while pregnant can reduce stress and improve your quality of life. Practising mindfulness is another self-care activity that can lessen anxiety during pregnancy. Social connections are important too.

While the bath bomb industry might think self-care equals spa days, you’ll get greater benefit from more meaningful activities.

Here are 6 self-care activities to fill your cup – which one taps into something that’s significant to you?

 

1. For the enthusiastic gourmet: Take a healthy cooking class

Are you happiest in the kitchen? We know that eating well is another self-care activity that boosts physical and mental health in pregnancy. Why not learn yummy new recipes and techniques in a class that focuses on nutrient-rich meals.

As well as having fun and meeting like-minded gourmets, you can level up your skills to nourish yourself and bub.

Nothing available locally? Online classes expand your options.

 

2. For astronomy lovers: Moonlit stargazing

Your nights out on the town may be turning into cosy nights in. But here’s a nighttime treat you can enjoy alone, or with a special someone.

On a cloudless evening, lay out a blanket under the night sky and admire the beauty above. Bring along a stargazing app to identify constellations and planets.

Relaxing in the fresh night air, and perhaps reconnecting with your partner, can rejuvenate your mind and body.

 

3. For your inner artist: Creative belly art

Celebrate your changing body with a fun and artistic twist. Gather non-toxic body paints and brushes. Transform your baby bump into a canvas for creativity.

Whether you paint intricate mandalas or something quirky (watermelon?), this interactive art project can be a personal way to bond with your baby.

If you want to record your belly’s growth, repaint the expanding canvas every month or so.

 

4. For the reluctant exerciser: Walking and photography

Sometimes, walking for the sake of walking seems pointless. But if you love snapping pics of interesting and beautiful things, this is the “exercise as self-care” activity for you.

Combine therapeutic activities on a mindful stroll with your shutter finger at the ready, no step-counter required. Wander through your neighbourhood, a park, or wherever interests you. As you enjoy the outdoors, capture moments of beauty or contrast.

 

5. For the writer with a busy brain: Journaling with prompts

Pregnancy can be a fantastic time to try journaling as a way to get your thoughts on paper and free up your headspace.

Grab some time each day to reflect on your pregnancy experience, your hopes and fears. You can free-write or use prompts to deepen your self-awareness.

Try these for starters:

  • Is there one key piece of advice you would give to other pregnant women?
  • Do you have a favourite memory of your pregnancy so far?
  • What would your ideal third trimester look like?

If you keep the diary on hand, it’s easy to jot down your thoughts whenever inspiration strikes.

 

6. Attend a mums’ group get-together

If there’s one thing that’s true for every new mum, baby’s arrival means you’ll need the support of your “village”.

Start growing that community now, before you have to juggle a nappy bag and an infant. Look for local or virtual groups where you can find advice and friendship as you trade sleep-deprived stories over cake.

As well as these 6 activities, remember self-care is as much about the things you don’t do, and declining things that aren’t your jam.

During this time of transition, embrace whatever form of self-care is fulfilling to you – bath bombs optional.

By Louise Wedgewood