Liz Narins month 4 of pregnancy

How to Give Yourself Extra TLC During Pregnancy

Before I got pregnant with my son, my guiltiest pleasure—besides squeezing in two workouts in one day, which is as certifiably crazy as it sounds!—was getting facials. But during a facial appointment in the midst of my first trimester, I found out that many of the products I'd paid to be slathered in contained chemicals contraindicated for pregnancy. What's more, my facialist was uncomfortable massaging my neck and shoulders since there may be some risks of massage during the first trimester. Overall, the experience was disappointing and felt like a big waste of money.

Make a concentrated effort to embrace all the things that will look a little different when your baby arrives.

I did learn an expensive lesson: While typical spa treatments aren't always appropriate during pregnancy, there are a host of other ways to pamper yourself with a baby on board—and they're exclusively designed for pregnant women. So take advantage of those instead! Here are some other ways you can indulge while expecting.

Prenatal Workouts

Before I got pregnant, I was working out at a high-intensity interval training gym every day. But with a growing baby belly, I constantly worried about my heart rate getting too high and felt distracted by trying to modify moves on my own to avoid diastasis recti. I used to rely on these classes to blow off steam and build my confidence, but trying to keep up in my second trimester just made me feel out of shape.

Ultimately, I stopped going to the studio and found a prenatal-certified personal trainer to build me a customized gym routine. The game plan included moves that I could practice until my due date, and cost way less than regular training sessions or boutique fitness classes.

I also attended a few Saturday morning prenatal yoga classes, which are different from regular yoga in many ways. First off, knowing that the teacher is qualified and looking out for your safety can help you relax and enjoy your me-time. It also helps that the parents who surround you can relate to your aches and pains; they understand all too well that sometimes you just need to lie in child's pose.

Prenatal Massage

If exercise isn't your thing—or doesn't feel like a treat—you still deserve to feel pampered. Prenatal massages are a perk solely available to pregnant folks, so take advantage. It would be odd to book this treatment during your fourth trimester, so the time is now. 

Budget-Friendly Treats

Because anticipating a child—and supporting their every need—can be a financial burden, don’t feel like you need to empty your wallet to take care of yourself. Just make a concentrated effort to embrace all the things that will look a little different when your baby arrives. Take the long way home from work without worrying about making it to daycare pick up on time. Or, relish in a quiet Sunday morning with a cup of coffee and the newspaper without interruptions. Spend a Saturday afternoon window shopping without schlepping a stroller. Take a long bath without having to listen for a baby's cries. Or order a giant ice cream sundae at the local ice cream parlor you’ve been meaning to visit without a tinge of guilt or a fussy baby rushing you out.

Before you welcome your little person into the world, your possibilities are limitless—particularly on those days when you’re feeling pretty good.

If you need more ideas, ask a friend with multiple children. Chances are, they'll tell you how they'd die for a dinner out after 7:30 p.m. without paying for childcare or to hang out in bed until noon without hearing any breakfast requests.

Before you welcome your little person into the world, your possibilities are limitless—particularly on those days when you’re feeling pretty good. So book the massage, make the lunch plans, and get lost for a while in something that will make you feel even better. 

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By Elizabeth Narins
Elizabeth Narins is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer, editor, and social media strategist whose favorite workout is chasing her toddler. Her work has been published by Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Parents, Health, Bustle, and more.