It's a fact: happy, healthy mothers produce happy, healthy babies!
High levels of cortisol (the stress hormone responsible for the body's fight-or-flight response) in pregnancy are associated with babies who cry more and sleep less after birth.
Chronic stress in pregnancy has also been linked with low birth weight in babies. It's therefore in everyone's interests for Mom to pay extra attention to her emotional state, making relaxation and stress reduction two of her top priorities.
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, life is stressful during pregnancy. If this is the case for you, then be sure to take time out regularly to do something that soothes you - be it yoga, meditation, listening to your favorite music, watching your favorite TV show, or taking a warm bubble bath (but avoid very hot water, which is bad for the baby).
The importance of the physiological effects brought on by such activities can hardly be overstated. The simple act of relaxing deeply will alter the chemical composition of your blood, reducing cortisol levels and improving immune function. Not only is this good for your baby's developing nervous and immune systems, but you will feel stronger and less frazzled, too - particularly as you contend with the dramatic physical changes of the third trimester.
Mom will of course also want to keep her energy levels up in preparation for the birth (not to mention the job of looking after a newborn!). Now is the time for the whole family to pull together and help Mom and the baby be as healthy and happy as possible - by encouraging Mom to eat well and get plenty of rest, by reminding her to take her pregnancy supplements (pregnant women can be very forgetful!), and by helping her to remain as calm and relaxed as possible.