Pregnancy is often portrayed as a glowing, joyful time when unfortunately its quite obvious that its not quite like that for all of us. There can be sickness, constant worries, sleepless nights, lists (holy moly so many lists), crazy hormones and then sometimes, there’s the fear. It’s a time where anxiety can start to rear its ugly head and its no surprise that it’s a time in your life when it’s a time when you can really benefit from mindfulness and meditation (if you haven’t already).
Mindfulness promotes the practice of acceptance, meaning accepting things exactly as they are, paying attention to our thoughts or feelings without any judgement. It promotes adaptability and the ability to surrender, which can be ideal during pregnancy, even if its not your first.
Studies have shown that pregnancy related stress, anxiety and depression can be dramatically reduced when pregnant women practice mindfulness and/or meditation. This great sense of safety can happen; not only helping keep the stress and anxiety levels down and mamas spirits up, but can also lead to healthier babes. Practices such as calm birth and hypnobirthing were actually developed to give women direct ways to raise the quality of health in child birth, whether or not medical interventions are applied.
Ways you can introduce mindfulness into your pregnancy:
Day to day basics
Calm Birth / Hypnobirthing courses or classes.
Its amazing to see how many women wish to join a prenatal yoga class, purely with the hope to learn a specific breathing technique to help them through labour. The truth is, there are no specific breathing techniques to remember. Learning to breathe deeply and efficiently will teach the power of the breath in relation to calm the mind when faced with a stressful or challenging situation.
Breathing techniques highly recommended to practice during pregnancy to help with mindfulness.
Guided meditation/ Progressive relaxation
A guided meditation or progressive relaxation can help you listen to your body, listen to your voice or even help connect with your baby.
There are countless amount of apps or websites where you can find guided meditations to practice at home:
Prenatal yoga classes are well known for sharing a physical practice to support the changes in the body during pregnancy and helping build strength for birth, but finding one that also encourages birth preparation, mindfulness and breath connection can help encourage a healthy, holistic pregnancy.
Find a prenatal yoga class that incorporates breathing techniques; the more we allow ourselves to move the body in connection with the breath, the more likely this breath will become second nature when you need it most. Find a prenatal yoga class that combines calm birth, hypnobirthing or guided relaxation into the practices, even if you are taking one of their courses.
To prepare for an exam, you study. To prepare for a marathon, you train. Now, to prepare for labour and birth you must do the same – and a good prenatal yoga practice is the perfect place for just that.
Study, become educated, become informed, understand what is happening and why… and then you need to practice, especially mindfulness, relaxation techniques, but also labour and birth positions.
Take care Mamas!