Download script and composition by Granville Wallwork (Clinical Hypnotherapist) and Helen Carr (Complementary Therapy Midwife). Permission given for exclusive use to Bolton NHS Foundation Trust.


Most pregnant women’s lives are busy and nobody’s life is perfect but taking ‘time out’ to allow yourself to relax is not only beneficial for you but is also beneficial for your baby. Relaxation techniques help to reduce stress hormones and increase endorphins (your feel good hormones), which can improve your physical and emotional wellbeing. There are many researched benefits of relaxation, which include improving mood, reducing symptoms of stress, aiding sleep, reduction of pain sensation
and improving general wellbeing.


At the Royal Bolton Hospital we have developed a relaxation audio file that we hope you will find beneficial. This download is suitable for all women and can be used at any stage of pregnancy.

You will have your own ways of relaxing but other suggestions whilst you are pregnant and following your baby’s birth include:

Royal Bolton Hospital’s Relaxation Download

 Suggestions for use:

If possible play the download daily. If you have a busy life you can play the download when you go to bed. Daily use of the download will train your mind and body to relax. This is not only beneficial during pregnancy but can also help when its time for your baby’s birth, as well as in the postnatal period.

If you are not used to taking time out to relax it may feel strange initially but the more time you take to practice the more normal and easier it will become.

You can choose to use the download at different times, for example:

  • after work to help you unwind
  • in the bath (this can be particularly useful if you are planning to use water/a birthing pool in labour)
  • at night to aid sleep
  • in early labour which will encourage endorphin release. Endorphins are 200 times stronger than morphine and are your body’s natural painkillers.
  • when your baby is sleeping.

DO NOT play the relaxation download whilst driving.

The download is possible due to the vision of Granville Wallwork and the gift he has given to many families in Bolton for more than 20 years.

Other downloads can be accessed on our Audio Resources page.


Breathing Techniques

Breathing techniques are simple and easy to use and can be very effective at reducing stress and aiding relaxation. Using an image in your mind can help you to focus on the breath. Breathing techniques are usually included in a pregnancy yoga class.

Summary of the techniques discussed in your Parentcraft class:

Breathing to aid relaxation

  • Slow breath in to about the count of four, allow your tummy to rise, muscles relaxed.
  • Slowly breathe out to about the count of six, allow your shoulders and all your muscles to droop. Let go!

relaxation-breathingProgressive relaxation to aid sleep

Using the above breathing technique focus initially on the breath. Then use each breath to work down the body, i.e. on the in breath visualise/have an awareness of your head, neck and shoulders; on the out breath let go and relax. Work down the body in five breaths.

Breathing for labour

Use the above breathing techniques to relax between contractions. During a contraction having a focal point in the room (e.g. a picture on the wall) or a picture in your mind can help you focus and keep your breathing slow and steady. One image can be of a candle – as you breathe in very slowly the flame is coming towards you, as you breathe out very slowly the flame is going away from you but the breath is controlled and you do not blow the candle out.



Exercise in pregnancy is good for you but listen to your body, don’t exhaust yourself; as pregnancy progresses you may feel the need to slow down. Following birth, again listen to your body and give yourself time to recover.

Suggested forms of exercise include:
Walking – recommended in pregnancy. Following birth, so long as your baby is appropriately dressed, the fresh air is good for both of you.
Swimming – aquanatal classes are held throughout Bolton. Please speak to your midwife about current classes.
Yoga – yoga for pregnancy classes are held in Bolton.



When you’re pregnant you need to get used to the idea that putting your feet up and simply doing nothing for a while is not a waste of time, but an important opportunity to relieve the physical stresses on your body and to give your mind a break. During pregnancy you can use this time to positively connect with your baby, talking to your baby, singing to your baby, massaging your tummy are all positive ways of connecting with your baby. Following birth, sleep when your baby sleeps. Rest and recover!


Be kind to yourself

Doing something that’s just for you will make you feel good which will also be good for your baby. Whether it is treating yourself to a massage, buying yourself something nice or even having a relaxing bath.



Affirmations are statements that you use to help instill a sense of positivity in your mind about a particular subject. You use these short phrases and sentences to help your mind hear a positive message that you wish it to remember.