The first 12 weeks of pregnancy are equal parts exciting and - for many - tiring.
The NHS describe morning sickness as a “very common” symptom of early pregnancy. This, paired with the jet-lag akin tiredness can make it hard to keep up with everyday tasks in those first three months.
Many people choose not to tell anybody they’re pregnancy until they’ve had their 12 week scans, this can feel overwhelming to some, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Elise Tobias, hypnobirthing coach at Birth Bubble, explains some of the ways to keep yourself feeling calm and centred in those early weeks.
“In the first 12 weeks there’s a lot of internal chatter and worry,” Tobias explains to Yahoo UK.
Much of this can be down to the miscarriage rates being higher in initial weeks after that positive pregnancy test. In the UK, one in four women have experienced a miscarriage.
That doesn’t mean that women need to feel on edge. With the majority of pregnancies not ending in miscarriage, it’s best to think positively.
“I would suggest in this time, for women to be aware of how they can help themselves to feel calmer; things like practicing calming breathing techniques to keep any anxieties at bay really help,” the hypnobirthing expert, who was also a guest on Yahoo UK’s The Baby Bump with Lauren Pope, explains.
“In my hypnobirthing course, I teach a calming breathing technique, which can be used for whenever any stress is experienced. A nice slow inhalation through the nose for the count of 4, and then an exhalation - also through the nose - for the count of 6, is really effective at turning on your relaxation response and helping you to stay in your calm nervous system, which keeps panic and worry at bay.”
Typically, women wouldn’t start hypnobirthing before their 12 week scan, but that doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from the teachings of it.
“Other elements of hypnobirthing can also be used early on, such as positive affirmations - which are short, simple statements for how you want to think or feel. In those early weeks, even simple sayings like ‘everything is ok’ or ‘my body knows what to do’ will be powerful in helping to mentally feel calmer.
“There are lots of lovely calming relaxation tracks for the first trimester of pregnancy available on YouTube too which many mums may find very helpful when trying to feel more calm and relaxed ahead of the 12 week scan.
“I would also suggest practicing tuning in and listening to your body early on - the body has a very clever way of telling you what it needs. If it is asking for rest, give it rest! If it is asking for cheese and steak, go for it!” Tobias shares.
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Another element of the first 12 weeks of pregnancy that divides people is whether or not to tell your friends and family.
It’s an unwritten rule to wait until the 12 week scan is over before telling them, but Tobias recommends confiding in a close friend or family member if you feel you need to.
“I would also encourage women to think about if there is a close friend or relative who they would like to announce their pregnancy to in the early days.
“There seems to be this taboo that a woman shouldn't really announce the pregnancy until 12 weeks, but that could make a loss even harder, if the woman feels very alone going through such a difficult experience.
“I always suggest thinking about who you would tell should things not go to plan, as those are the people who it could be worth telling about your pregnancy earlier on, knowing that they will be there for you should you need them, through the good and the bad.”