5 ways to relax while pregnant

The idea of being a new mom can be overwhelming - even if you've already done it before! Pregnancy is a wonderful and miraculous state of being, but it will be sure to take its toll on your body and mind. That's why most health experts council pregnant women to make sure they make time for relaxation within their regular routine.

No matter how much you're looking forward to being a mom, you still have to handle the stress pregnancy places on your body and mind responsibly. Here are five ways that moms-to-be can de-stress in style.

1. Take a scented bubble bath
A warm bath is a luxurious way to pamper yourself into relaxation. Run the hot water tap and add bubbles and calming essential oils such as lavender, chamomile or mint and slip into a state of bubbly bliss. For extra pleasure, take your current page-turner and a (small!) glass of wine. You'll begin to feel soothed in no time!

If you're still in your first trimester, you'll have no problem getting in and out of the tub - but ladies who are more advanced may want to ensure that help is close at hand - just in case there's any difficulty getting in and out of the bath.

2. Practice grateful meditation
Most mental health experts will agree that meditation is healthy for the mind as well as the soul. Engaging in meditation gives you an opportunity to unwind completely and allow all of your cares to melt away. Many women even report that their problems tend to solve themselves when they let their minds wander freely during meditation.

In particular, focusing on what you're feeling grateful for while letting all other thoughts slip into the background can leave those who meditate feeling better and more secure about their place in the world.

3. Watch a stress-free movie
It may seem indulgent to sack out on the couch and enjoy a little screen time, but so what? When looking to relax with minimal effort or preparation, nothing beats watching a movie in your own living room. Relax with a heartwarming movie that will be sure to make you smile, rather than an action flick that will leave your heart racing. Dim the lights, pop a little popcorn, wrap yourself in your favorite blanket and start the show!

4. Take a short run
Running may not seem like a stress-reducing activity, but it is. In fact, engaging in any activity that helps get the cardiovascular system pumping will help decrease your body's cortisol levels - hormones that are associated with stress.

In addition to helping you relax, exercise will help you stay in control of your body even as it grows and changes during pregnancy. Women who stay fit and active while pregnant often have an easier time getting their pre-baby bodies back after delivery. If you do choose to exercise while pregnant, make sure you discuss your activities with your doctor or a licensed fitness trainer. He or she can help you determine which types of exercise will be best for you based on your pre-pregnancy level of fitness and exercise.

5. Practice yoga
Yoga, sometimes referred to as the "poetry of the body," is such a popular relaxation and fitness technique for pregnant women that there's a whole branch of the art dedicated to its practice. Prenatal yoga is a fun, safe and healthy way for you to limber up and get your stress levels down, especially after a hard day. It doesn't matter whether you're new to yoga or you've been practicing it for years - everyone can reap the benefits of prenatal yoga during pregnancy.

Have any other relaxation tips for new moms-to-be? Share your favorites with us in the comments section!