During pregnancy, mothers produce their own natural tranquil-User—a hormone known as pregnanolone—to help keep them relaxed and stress free.
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When you stop work and sit or she down and relax, the muscles of your abdominal wall and womb relax too. Relaxation helps to optimize the flow of blood and nutrients to the womb and counteracts the potentially harmful effects of stress.
Babies of mothers who take part in prenatal relaxation classes, such as yoga, have few obstetric complications and have a lower risk of having a low birth weight baby than do mothers who fail to relax regularly throughout pregnancy.
Babies born to relaxed mothers are also less likely to suffer from anxiety, depression or hyperactivity in later life. It is therefore important to sit down for increasing periods of time as your pregnancy progresses.
From around 30 weeks of pregnancy, it is also important to lie down for at least an hour mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Lying down relaxes the uterine muscles as well as boosting circulation through the placenta.
Try to stop working by around the 30th week of your pregnancy if you can. After this time, increased rest is vitally important for the health of both you and your growing baby. Prolonged standing and doing physical work for more than eight hours during the last three months of pregnancy can have the same damaging effect on your baby’s development as heavy smoking, with babies weighing around 100g less than those of women working 20 hours a week or less.
Keith Wright, acupuncturist and member of the International College of Oriental Medicine, especially advises women to rest when there is a full moon towards the end of pregnancy. He and local midwives have noticed that there is a greater tendency for premature breaking of waters at these times. According to one midwife “The ward is full of broken waters when there is a full moon and low pressure weather. If the moon can pull on the tides, I’m damn sure it can break a few membranes!’