There are many alternative therapies for different conditions, such as the emotional ups and downs of pregnancy. During pregnancy it is important not to take any medication unless absolutely necessary so it is useful to try other approaches. Many midwives are now gualified in complementary therapies, such as aromatherapy, massage and reflexology, so ask when you go for your check-up.
Yoga combines movement and meditation to promote the wellbeing of body, mind and spirit. The exercises improve posture, muscle tone and breathing, and have the knock-on effect of improving the circulation.
Tell your yoga teacher that you are pregnant in case she needs to adapt some of the exercises. There may be yoga classes aimed specifically at pregnant women in your area, and these have the added advantage of enabling you to meet others in the same situation as you. The emphasis on breathing, concentration and visualization will benefit you not only during your pregnancy, but also during labour, helping you to relax and focus throughout the contractions.
Reflexology can be beneficial for your emotional wellbeing and is safe during pregnancy, provided you are treated by a qualified reflexologist. It works on the principle that the feet are a map of the body, and different areas of the feet correspond to particular parts of the body. Therefore,'treating'the feet benefits these areas of the body. A reflexology treatment is similar to having a foot massage - although your feet may feel tender at times, it should prove very relaxing.
Stress and anxiety cannot be alleviated by one session, so you may need regular sessions over some weeks. If you have a complicated pregnancy, reflexology should only be done by a member of your maternity team, such as your midwife or doctor.
Imagine sinking into an armchair at the end of a day. Nobody has to tell you how to breathe when you do this - you automatically take a deep breath and 'sigh'. Breathing plays an important part in relaxation because, when tense, you breathe more quickly and take shorter breaths, your heart beats faster and your muscles tense. This uses up energy, which makes you feel more tired.