Every doctor, midwife, nurse, or specialist will tell you that during pregnancy it is extremely important to be relaxed. Every birthing book, pregnancy website, and parenting article will give you the same long list of inherent dangers and side effects to your baby if you are stressed, anxious, upset, or otherwise unhappy during the course of your pregnancy.
What the majority of these sources do not tell you is how you are to remain in a state of bliss when your whole life is being turned upside down from the inside out and you have suddenly lost all control. Pregnancy is a time when emotions are running high, stress kicks in, and tears are imminent. While it may seem impossible to regain any semblance of control in your baby-centered life, it is possible and it is incredibly important. Your emotions become your baby’s emotions; become aware of how you are feeling and realize that your baby is feeling that same way.
You and your growing baby both deserve a little Zen and a lot of peace. Practicing meditation during pregnancy has so many benefits that it’s certain they haven’t all been named yet. Here are some simple ways to start incorporating meditation into your pregnancy and just a few of the benefits that it will have.
Simple Meditation Practices
Your life was likely already hectic before you found out that you were harboring a new life and about to become a mother. How in the world are you going to find time to meditate on top of work, family, Lamaze classes, and doctor’s appointments? You will be truly amazed at what just a few minutes will do.
If you can wake up just 20 minutes earlier each morning, you can do yourself a world of good for the day that lies ahead. Make sure that you are really awake; maybe have your breakfast or tea first so that you don’t drift back to sleep. Find a comfortable place to sit, close your eyes, relax, and breathe. Meditating does not have to be like what you see in the movies; there are not awkward positions or loud chants required. Simply place your hands on your belly, relax your mind and body, and allow yourself to focus on you and your growing baby. You can play soft music during this time, or anything that helps to relax you. Pay attention only to your breathing and the movements of your baby.
If you can’t do this in the morning, perhaps you can fit it in when you get home from work, after dinner, before bed, or even while in the tub or shower. Anywhere and anytime that you can find 20 minutes to be alone with your baby, relax, and breathe; you can take advantage of the benefits of meditation.
Remember that there is no right or wrong way to meditate; it’s all about forgetting about stress and problems and only focusing on you and your baby.
Meditating Keeps You and Baby Healthier
While it may seem silly, meditating actually does help to keep you calm, reduce stress, and keep your emotions in control. Many people believe that all of the benefits they get from meditating come while meditating, but this is not the case. The time that you take to meditate in the morning (or whenever you choose to) stays with you throughout your day. Instilling that sense of calm and clarity within yourself each day helps to actually make you a calmer person as well as helping you to keep control of your emotions.
When you are better prepared to handle stress, your baby is allowed to relax as well. Every time that you get worked up about something, your heart rate increases, your blood pressure rises, and your oxygen level drops. And your baby feels the effects of all of these things. When you begin breathing rapidly, that oxygen is taken away from your baby and he is put into a state of distress.
Some of the actual physical effects of meditation during pregnancy include:
• Stress relief
• Increased production of DHEA which supports your immune system. DHEA also helps to prevent depression during and after birth
• Melatonin levels are also increased; this is another mood-enhancing hormone
• Helps to prevent pre-eclampsia which is caused by high blood pressure and heart rate
• Increases milk production
By meditating, that sense of calm and clarity that you feel is also felt by your baby. He feels at ease, safe, and comfortable. With a little practice, both you and your baby can enjoy this feeling all of the time.
Meditating Helps Prepare You for Childbirth
It’s no secret that childbirth is a rather painful experience. More and more women are attempting natural drug-free pregnancies, but either way, breathing is important. During childbirth, your water breaks; that fluid is what has protected your baby for nine months and made it so he doesn’t actually have to breathe. As that fluid leaves your body, it gets more and more difficult for your baby to remain calm.
At the same time, you are in a state of stress because of anxiety, nervousness, and of course; pain. These things are putting even more stress on your baby. If you can train yourself to focus and breathe during pregnancy, you will automatically be able to do it during childbirth. Whatever that place is that you send your mind to while meditating, you can send it there during the course of your labor and delivery as well. An added benefit; meditation increases the production of endorphins, which help to relieve pain and decrease stress.