Every expectant mom hopes for a simple and healthy pregnancy, but sometimes it’s hard not to succumb to stress. Here’s the good news, though: there are plenty of ways to make this important time easier on yourself, starting with the ten simple tips listed below.

1. Have some alone time with your baby every day

Bonding with your unborn child is a key part of pregnancy that helps prepare both of you for the birth and everything that comes afterwards. This daily ritual can be something as simple as sitting for ten minutes and talking or singing to your belly.

2. Eat well, but don’t obsess over your diet

Despite what you might read, you don’t require a special diet during pregnancy. While there are some foods that you should stay away from – certain soft cheeses, caffeine, pâté – you can generally stick to your regular diet.

Just bear a couple of things in mind. Firstly, eating lots of fruit and vegetables will help prevent constipation. Secondly, low fat dairy products will give both of you a boost of calcium and nutrients.

3. Embrace your new body

It can be startling to look in the mirror and see how much your body is changing, but staying positive about your new look is an important part of having a happy pregnancy. Besides the fact that lots of women find that their hair and skin improves, a blossoming body is also a good sign that you and your baby are both healthy.

4. Meditate

No matter how well-prepared you are, sometimes it’s just impossible to stay calm and happy. Meditation is a brilliant way of tackling stress, anxiety and insomnia, and there are plenty of free guides out there that can give you an introduction. Even just taking five minutes to do some deep, slow breathing can be a really effective relaxation technique.

5. Do some gentle exercise

Like meditation, gentle exercise is a great way to tune out and de-stress. Talk to your doctor or a pregnancy expert about which activities are appropriate. Three good ones are walking, swimming and yoga – read our prenatal yoga guide for more details. Ease into them slowly, making sure you don’t overexert yourself.

6. Avoid negative situations

If there’s one thing you don’t need during a pregnancy, it’s needless emotional stress. Remove yourself from negative situations at work, and don’t make time for friends or family members who are dragging you down. It’s really not worth it!

7. Keep a journal

Help to cherish and record those precious nine months by keeping a daily journal, charting your baby’s growth along with the changes in your body and your thoughts and feelings. It’s also handy to keep a maternity calendar, taking note of key dates and milestones and monitoring your general health. You can find plenty of useful free resources online to help track your progress.

8. Share your worries with someone you trust

It can be tempting to bottle up your worries when you’re pregnant – after all, what if you’re just “being hormonal”? Well, although your hormones do have a lot to answer for, remember that these emotions are real and that keeping them pent up won’t do you or your baby any good. Find someone you trust and share your concerns – they’re bound to respond with love, sympathy and comfort.

9. Ask for help

Along with sharing your worries, it’s also important to ask loved ones for help when you need it. Whether it’s assistance tying your shoelaces when you’re eight months in, or a shoulder to cry on when things get too much, expectant mothers are always going to need some extra love and support.

10. Take care of yourself!

You’re having a baby – you get to be a bit selfish sometimes, OK? Remember that you’re looking out for two people and not just one, and that some TLC and self-indulgence is really important for staying calm, relaxed and happy.

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