Pregnancy Relaxation CD

As you'll know from way-back-when, I've been preparing for Baby's arrival with a full self-hypnosis programme from Maggie Howell of Natal Hypnotherapy.
At 33 weeks I'm now about to "move up" to the Birth Preparation CD which forms the later part of the programme, but up until recently have been listening to the Pregnancy Relaxation CD on a daily basis.
If you have no intention of using natal hypnotherapy in your labour, but are keen to enjoy a calm, focussed pregnancy and birth by your own methods, I would strongly recommend just buying the CD as a one off (you can buy individual CD's rather than the entire Natal Hypnotherapy programme).
It claims to help you to sleep, reduce common aches and pains, maintain a healthy blood pressure, make positive choices about the food you eat and also promotes a feeling of calmness and relaxation throughout pregnancy, as well as encouraging communication with your unborn baby.
Since using the CD my blood pressure has stabilised, I'm no longer considered to have "alarmingly low" blood pressure, though this could be a complete coincidence. I can also say confidently that listening to the CD has had no effect what so ever on my food choices (I literally begged Boyfriend to let me order a Domino's Tandoori Hot on a Double Decadence base the other night). However - it has definitely, 100%, improved my overall sense of wellbeing, my positivity, and my confidence in pregnancy. For that alone I'd say that every woman, regardless of how she is planning to give birth, should listen at least to this CD.
I can't stress enough how important I believe it is to regularly take a little time out alone, in day to day life as much as in pregnancy, to really connect with yourself, and when pregnant, with your baby. This is something I've practiced in the past through yoga and meditation anyway, but the CD really gives a focus to my relaxation techniques that promote a much healthier pregnancy and I've been greatful for this.
If meditation or visualisation are alien concepts to you, or you've tried before but found it difficult to "switch off", do give this CD a try with an open mind. At no point are you encouraged to "empty your mind of thoughts" (something I know a lot of yoga instructors try to promote, which usually has the reverse effect), your mind is simply allowed to wander, as if you're daydreaming, which all of us can do.
The CD gives a little focus to your daydream, but the instructions are vague and relaxed enough that you can let your brain do it's own thing.
The reason I suspect that the food thing hasn't worked for me is that I am very good at mental visualisation, maybe it's the writer and reader in me, I find it very easy to naturally imagine and create whole worlds in my mind without very much by way of obstacles. Anyway, in the script of the CD, you are prompted to visualise an environment (in this case a countryside scene), and later on, there is some content about making positive food choices. I tend, more often than not, to get "stuck" in the visualisation, and enter a complete dream state where I'm in a complete trance (I've found that if I sit up to listen to the CD I begin to sway involuntarily). I suspect that the food stuff is going in, I'm just completely unaware of it, and would probably need to listen to the CD for a more prolonged amount of time to start acting upon it.
You can listen to this Pregnancy Relaxation CD at any point in pregnancy, even if you've only just spotted the second line on a pregnancy test (which is actually quite late in the day if you happen to be me!) I would imagine someone who'd been listening to this CD regularly from their first trimester would be well and truly down with the content by the time they switched to the Birth Preparation CD at 33 weeks ish. If the Birth Preparation CD isn't for you though, and you just want to chill out now, then you could also leave this as late in your pregnancy as you liked and still benefit massively (those last few weeks can be stressful, especially if you go "overdue".)
I will probably still turn to the Pregnancy Relaxation CD, as well as the Birth Preparation CD, throughout the remaining 6 weeks or so of my pregnancy, just when I need to tone myself down a little and take a moment to rebalance.
It does state in the instructions for this CD, not to listen to it at a time when you'd usually be going to sleep. This isn't necessarily a problem for someone who works from home (zen lunch break) but the issue I had was that it quite often did send me to sleep, which at a time when you wouldn't usually be sleeping - is not ideal. If I did nap after listening to the CD though it was the most revitalising, refreshing little sleep imaginable - might be worth setting yourself an alarm if you can't afford to lose time though! On occasions when I listen to the CD and find myself able to wake up at the end, I'm left with the sense that I've had a full night's sleep anyway, it has that sort of complete mind/body reset effect (I quite like doing it just before I experience my 2:00pm energy slump in the afternoon because it gives me a real boost). You might not think of deep relaxation and meditation as being the key to getting you up and out of the door, but it works a treat for me.
The script is 25 minutes long (ish) so you do need to be quite militant about finding the time to fit it in to your daily routine, but I probably spend more than double that on Twitter every day, so it's quite easy to make a few lifestyle swaps if you set your mind to it.
The Pregnancy Relaxation CD costs £11.99 + postage from the Natal Hypnotherapy website here, or is available as a download, here.

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