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Maternal mental health: 6 self-care tips

We’ve partnered with Bubble – the on-demand childcare app – to get their top maternal mental health tips. From pregnancy self-care and postnatal recovery, to the first few years for new mums, we look at six simple ways to look after yourself while navigating the ups and downs of motherhood.

Published: 02/02/2023

Pregnant client is smiling as she receives a relaxing head massage
Pregnant client is smiling as she receives a relaxing head massage

There’s no one way to do motherhood. From the early stages of pregnancy to well after childbirth, it’s all about finding what works for you.

As at-home pregnancy treatment specialists, we know just how challenging life can be for new mums. Suddenly you’re in charge of a little bundle with a complex set of needs, and you might feel like you missed the class on how to manage. Here are six simple ways to look after yourself while navigating the ups and downs of motherhood.

Pregnancy self-care

1. Don’t forget to eat and sleep

The first step of self-care at any life stage is looking after your physical needs. Eat plenty of fruit and veg and at least one nourishing meal a day (and of course a prenatal vitamin with folic acid, iron, and iodine). It’s important to stay hydrated too. 

Sleep can be a struggle, especially in your third trimester. Now’s the time to sleep when you feel you can – if you need a nap at a strange time of day, don’t overthink it, just take one.

2. Get help with muscle aches and pains

Massage might be something you previously considered an indulgence, but during pregnancy it’s a form of legitimate health care for the aches and pains of growing a new life. 

Safe to book from your second trimester, a specialist pregnancy massage is always tailored to your needs. Not only can it help soothe muscle tension, but it gets endorphins flowing too – leaving you feeling relaxed in your body, and more upbeat and resilient.

Try an at-home massage with Urban and let the calm come to you. Check out our pregnancy category for safe prenatal and postnatal treatments tailored to you. Depending on where you are in your maternal journey and how much time you have, you could book a prenatal massage (from 13 weeks), postnatal massage, osteopathy, or a pregnancy-safe facial.

3. Meet other pregnant people

Try attending antenatal classes. You’ll meet lots of other pregnant mothers and learn great tips on staying healthy during pregnancy as well as relaxation techniques, breastfeeding tips, how to carry your baby and much more. You could also try pregnancy specific exercise classes like prenatal yoga, pilates or other fitness classes. Look for groups in your local area. You never know who you might meet.

Read more: Make better mental health a priority with online counselling

Woman and baby smile at each other

Self-care after childbirth

1. Remember that self-care isn’t selfish

Our friends at Bubble stress how important it is to prioritise your own mental health as a mum.   Early motherhood can be especially taxing, and taking time for yourself can really help improve your maternal mental health. If you’re feeling good, you’ll be more resilient and feel more able to take care of your baby.

Parenting coach (and friend of Bubble) Natalie Costa advises to ‘fill your bucket’ every day. It doesn’t need to be prescriptive just as long as you take some time for yourself. It could be journaling, an at-home massage, or just sitting in silence. “Exercise is a good bucket-filler even if it doesn’t feel that way.” says Natalie. “The endorphins are flowing and you have more energy.” Many new mums choose postnatal yoga or pilates. It’s specially designed for your body’s needs and gets you meeting other mums too.

2. Accept help

After your baby is born there’s a lot of uncertainty to deal with. You could be in pain and your energy may be very low. You may even be feeling sad, anxious or a little lost. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help, whether that’s talking to friends and family or getting advice from a medical professional. It’s crucial to look after your maternal mental health so you can in turn look after your baby.

Some friends or neighbours might offer to help you with shopping, cooking, childcare. Make sure you accept the help. In fact, try spreading it out so you have help throughout the week. If you don’t have friends or family close by, you can always hire a trusted sitter through companies like Bubble. New mums often feel like they have to do it all themselves but that simply isn’t true, the support is out there.

3. Leave perfectionism at the door

It’s important not to set your expectations too high when it comes to being a parent. Try not to compare yourself to other mothers, everyone has a slightly different experience of those first few years. Talking to other new mums will really help, allowing you to share your worries and anxieties. They’ll respect you all the more for being honest and may share some of those difficult feelings. 

If you feel your inner thoughts becoming self-critical, ask yourself, ‘Is this something I would say to a friend?’. As a brand new parent, everyone makes mistakes and has bad days and that’s okay. There’s no such thing as a perfect parent.

Get £10 off your first Bubble sit with the code URBAN

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