Meditation is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself and your baby during pregnancy. A regular practice can help you stay calm and ease labor and a whole heap of benefits for your unborn baby!
In this article, we will cover everything that you need to know about meditation during pregnancy, including its benefits and a few ways that you can prepare yourself for practice.
What is meditation?
Meditation is a practice where we focus the mind on the breath, the present moment, or a mantra (a phrase that we repeat over and over). It can have powerful effects on calming the mind, and when practiced regularly, can provide expectant moms with a whole host of benefits.
What are the benefits of meditation during pregnancy?
Though pregnancy can leave you feeling elated it’s also normal to experience stress and anxiety. Meditation can offer a way to reduce stress and help you to rationalize your thoughts. A regular meditation practice can help to bring mindfulness into your day-to-day life and is a great way to stay present and not get caught up in your thoughts when things start to get a bit overwhelming.
Boost positive feelings
Pregnancy can leave us feeling particularly wound up at times. Try meditating on a positive mantra in the mornings to carry those positive thoughts with you throughout the day.
Might help to prevent premature birth
Mothers who experience high levels of stress and anxiety are more likely to deliver prematurely. Using meditation to keep stress levels down during pregnancy could help to prevent premature birth.
Can promote healthy development
During pregnancy, high and prolonged stress levels can affect our babies. Multiple studies have found that prenatal stress affects fetal development and can sometimes impact development during infancy and childhood. Research has also suggested that children born to mothers who meditated during pregnancy had a better temperament than those whose mothers did not meditate. Meditate and you will be rewarded!
Fear and stress are the enemy of oxytocin - the ‘love’ hormone that we rely so heavily upon to get us through birth. Meditation might not stop you from getting through labor without any pain or difficulties, but it could well make it a much smoother process. You’ll be equipped with the methods that you need to still the mind and not allow stress to overwhelm you.
Before the baby comes along, you’ll want to get as much quality sleep as possible! Ironically, pregnancy has a way of getting in the way of a good night’s sleep and can leave us lying awake for hours. A little meditation before bed - or during night wakings - can help to calm the mind and give you a better night of sleep.
Connecting to your baby
Some women feel an instant connection with their baby in utero, whilst others find it a little more difficult and maybe feel a bit silly talking to their bellies. Meditation can help you to empty your mind and focus on your baby - you’ll know that you’re doing something hugely beneficial for both of you, which can help to strengthen your connection. Sending positive and loving thoughts to your baby can help the feelings to flow more easily after birth too!
Lower risk of postpartum depression
By helping you to connect with your baby and lowering stress levels, meditation can help to lower the risk of postpartum depression.
How to relax your mind during pregnancy
Meditation is one of the best ways to calm the mind during pregnancy, but if you’re feeling particularly stressed it can be difficult to meditate. Consider these steps to quiet your busy mind and prepare for meditation.
Yoga - Yoga was designed to prepare the mind and body to sit in meditation! Practicing yoga for as little as 10 minutes can sometimes be enough to still the mind and make meditation a little more accessible. You could attend a class or follow along with a prenatal online video.
Baths - cozy up in a warm bath with dim lights and candles to set the mood for meditation.
Work - it’s especially important during this time to leave your workload at the workplace. Try not to bring work-related stress home with you, and you might start to notice that meditation becomes easier.
How to meditate at home while pregnant
Developing a home practice can be tricky, especially if you have more children or other things causing distractions. Try the following to make your home practice easier.
Use a guided meditation - there’s a whole world of apps, online videos, and CDs available to guide you through a meditation practice - many of them are intended for use during pregnancy and can guide you through connecting with your baby! Guided meditation can make it easier to focus and not let household noises distract you.
Learn about prenatal meditation - learning how to teach prenatal meditation can be one of the best ways to develop your practice. Our prenatal yoga teacher training course covers everything that you need to know to develop as well as teach a solid foundation for prenatal meditation. Our setting is ideal for nurturing a calm meditation practice.
Create an area - dedicate an area of the house to your meditation practice - even if it’s just a corner in your bedroom! Place a cushion or comfortable chair here that you can comfortably use for meditation, as well as a candle, blanket, and anything else that will make it easier for you to relax.
Tell everybody - let everybody else in your household know when you plan to meditate and how long. Even if you don’t want to be specific, just let them know that you need a bit of peace and quiet.
It’s unarguable that meditation can only do good things for you during your pregnancy. Commit to as little as 5 minutes per day and you’ll quickly notice the benefits!
Jennica Joyce Yoga is hosting Pregnancy Yoga Retreats in Southern California. Come prepare for birth in breathtaking nature!