The Benefits of Meditation During Pregnancy
Meditation during pregnancy has many wonderful benefits for you and your baby.
Pregnancy comes with a huge range of emotional ups and downs. You can feel happy, sad, anxious and elated – all in the span of an hour.
The physical changes your body is experiencing and the life changes that come about with welcoming a new baby into your family – all this can make you feel worried and stressed, even though there’s so many positives too.
Meditation during pregnancy can bring you to a centred space that allows you to step back from the emotional rollercoaster.
1. Reduce stress and anxiety
Being pregnant is so exciting. But let’s be real – it can also make you really anxious and stressed. Most pregnant women worry a lot about things out of their control, and even ones that they can do something about. Pregnancy hormones add their own special slant to things. It’s not uncommon for women to feel as though they’re bouncing between emotions.
Meditation and mindfulness creates a daily space where mamas-to-be can shift from being in a constant fight or flight state, to centred and calm. Research shows meditation during pregnancy can reduce your body’s stress response, helping to bring down cortisol levels. This allows your body to settle into a calm and peaceful state.
2. Lower heart rate and blood pressure
Too much stress can elevate your cortisol levels and blood pressure. High blood pressure can have very negative effects during pregnancy, for you and your baby. When your blood pressure is high, it decreases the amount of blood flow to the placenta. This can mean your baby doesn’t get as much nutrient and oxygen, leading to slow growth, premature birth or low birth weight.
Meditation is a wonderful way to access your inner calm to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level. By promoting lower levels of stress, you are also keeping inflammation at bay.
3. Up your inner resilience
As said earlier, pregnancy throws plenty of challenges into your path. Whether it is dealing with a different ache every day or the rollercoaster of moods that is pregnancy…meditation helps you to build and maintain your inner resilience.
Research has shown people who engage in meditation and mindfulness have higher levels of psychological resilience – in other words being able to adapt to stress and adversity.
Meditation won’t make a sore pelvis or crying at all-the-things go away, but it does make it easier for you to cope and deal with these ups and downs.
4. Deep connection with baby
Mindful meditation allows you to create the space and time to sit quietly and restfully – providing the ability to dive deep into connection with your baby. You might visualise your baby, hold your hands over your belly or whisper positive affirmations.
This connection during pregnancy brings into play a powerful tool you can use in labour, when you are travelling deep into yourself during contractions – working with your body and baby.
5. Body awareness
There is so much happening to your body during pregnancy it can feel overwhelming at times. During labour and birth, sensation can be all you know and being able to focus your attention away from feeling overwhelmed can be a positive benefit from meditation.This mindfulness on the space between contractions encourages and restores you in those moments when you feel challenged. Being aware of your body during pregnancy gives you the awareness to seek support if you sense something isn’t right. you to seek
6. Postnatal recovery
Many new mamas are genuinely unprepared for how they will feel after giving birth. Elated and in love with their baby, but also exhausted and challenged by the responsibility of the tiny human they’ve created.
Many women experience baby blues in the week after they give birth, and reports show at least 20% of new mamas develop postnatal depression (with many experts thinking this number is actually much higher).
Mindfulness provides mamas with the opportunity to understand what their needs are and reach out for support.
7. Face the birth fear
There are few women who aren’t at some point worried or even scared about giving birth. It’s a very normal part of pregnancy, even for mamas who have birthed before. Fear of birth can increase stress and create a situation where the brain gets in the way of the body during labour. Pain relief is more likely to be requested, and labour can even be prolonged when a woman is experiencing deep fear.
Meditation and mindfulness during pregnancy provides you with the opportunity to uncover your fears and bring awareness of your body and its capabilities. It’s also been shown in small studies to encourage women to be more aware of their bodies during labour and feel more satisfied with their birth experience after.
How to bring meditation into your life
Now you’re aware of how beneficial meditation and mindfulness is during pregnancy, how do you go about bringing more of it into your life?
First, start as soon as you can. It’s never too early or too late to weave meditative practice into your daily pregnancy routine. The benefits of meditation can be experienced immediately. However when mediation becomes a regular practice then you really start to experience the life-transforming benefits.
Nurtured Birth provides meditations sessions for pregnant women that are simple and deeply enjoyable. You don’t need to have any previous meditation experience, just a willingness to go deep into your inner space. All you need is a comfortable and quiet place to sit (depending on how pregnant you are this might be cross-legged on the floor, in a chair or even lying on your side).