Stress and worry is easy while pregnant. There are a lot of things you can worry about. I don’t think I need to list them all for you. If you are someone who has had a miscarriage or stillbirth in the past you may have significant anxiety and stress about your pregnancy. I’m sure no one needs to tell you that all this stress and worry is not great for yourself or your growing child. The problem is, just because you know that doesn’t mean you can just make it all go away.
Mindfulness and meditation during pregnancy can be so beneficial in helping you to overcome stress, anxiety or worry. It can help you connect with yourself, your body, and your growing child. It can increase your health and help with your sleep. There are so many benefits that can truly make life seem much more manageable. I encourage you to take a look at how it can help you and how to get started.
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8 Benefits to Incorporating Meditation Into Your Pregnancy
First sit down and get comfortable. Take a deep breath …. Then out….. Notice your breath. Notice the rise and fall of your chest. Just this simple step of focusing on your breath and tuning out the world for a few seconds can begin to give your body and mind enormous benefits.
How Can Meditation Decreases Stress and Anxiety?
As we practice mindfulness and meditation we learn to pay attention to the present moment and not the non productive, racing, repetitive thoughts that attack us all day. These thoughts can lead to a lot of worry and anxiety as they introduce things that may or not actually be a threat. You will learn to perceive the world around you differently.
There is also a physiological reduction of stress hormones and adrenaline, increased blood flow to the brain, and melatonin regulation. This allows your body to perceive threats differently and not jump to its natural fight or flight response.
Why Does Meditation Decreases HR and Regulates Blood Pressure?
When our body is stressed it will cause a constriction of our blood vessels. That constriction leads to an increase in blood pressure. When blood pressure remains high over long periods of time it can actually do damage to our heart. High blood pressure in pregnancy can lead to many complications such as preeclampsia, eclampsia, placental abruption, and stroke. It can also have effects on your baby as it can decrease blood flow to the placenta, leading to intrauterine growth restriction, and increase chances of premature birth.
As we decrease the stress hormones of cortisol and epinephrine in our body through mindfulness meditation our heart rate will lower and become more consistent. Our blood pressure with drop and be less variable. This leads to a healthy heart and reduces many risks for both you and baby.
How Can Meditation Lead to Better Sleep?
Sleep becomes more of a challenge as pregnancy advances. The aches and pains are stronger and your little ones movements may start right as you are trying to fall asleep. Mindfulness meditation can help you quiet your mind. Your brainwave activity while meditating is actually very similar to stage 1 and 2 sleep (non REM sleep). So it can easily help you drift off into that natural sleep that your body is craving.
How Does Meditation Decreases Depression?
Whether you are suffering from depression during your pregnancy or experiencing postpartum depression mindfulness can help. Your body and mind are going through many changes but research has shown that mindfulness can decrease your chances of suffering from PPD. If you want to avoid taking antidepressants during your pregnancy mindful meditation can also be an option to help you through your pregnancy.
How Can Meditation During Pregnancy Increased Connection With Your Baby?
This will give you quiet time to just be present in your body. You will have time to ponder and think about who he/she is and what she will become. You place your hand on your abdomen and feel the baby’s movements. These quiet moments will allow you to get to know your baby before they are born.
Does Meditation Really Increase Resilience?
As you continue with your mindfulness practice you will become more aware of yourself and your body. You will know what you are capable of. As emotional and physical challenges arise you will be able to take on those challenges and adapt as needed.
How Does Meditation Improve the Birth Experience?
Many women fear the birth experience. Maybe you know someone that has had a poor labor experience or you yourself have had a poor experience in the past. I remember working as a young 20 year old at Macy’s with many other older women. They told me all about their traumatic birth experiences. It created such a fear in me when it came my time to have children. Meditation can help you to connect with your body and its abilities. It can help you to uncover your fears and face them. Many women who have practiced mindful meditation report having lower levels of pain and more satisfying birth experience.
How Can I Increase My Immunity with Meditation?
Stress can do a number on your immune system. As we have discussed above it has many physiological improvements in our health when we practice mindful meditation. Another physiological benefit is greater immunity and increased ability to overcome illness.
Where To Start
There are so many free or paid options when it comes to incorporating meditation into your life during pregnancy or postpartum. If you have never meditated before it is often best to do a guided meditation to help you start to train your brain. It will keep you focused on the task at hand. Here are some great free and paid guided meditations for pregnancy and postpartum.
Pregnancy and Postpartum TV
Built to Birth by Bridget Teyler
Bettina Rae: Pregnancy Meditation for Anxiety
Beautifully created mindful meditations for women to be supported through before, during and after pregnancy. It also includes some pre/postnatal fitness to improve your physical and mental health.
Your mental and emotional health are just as important as your physical health when you are trying to conceive or pregnant. It impacts how our physical body functions and responds in our daily life. I encourage you to give guided meditations a try for 10 days to see how mindfulness can benefit you. Every one of us can find 10 minutes of our day to sit down and dedicate to ourselves.
Jess is a registered nurse with over 6+ years of critical care experience for patients young and old and is the mother of two small children. After having her own children she felt inspired to provide mothers with real actionable guidance and education to make informed decisions throughout their pregnancy and postpartum experience.