The benefits of meditation have long been proven to help many different problems, whether these be medical or emotional, daily or recurring. Even if you have no problems at all, meditation can elevate your life experience and you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing it all along.
When you become pregnant, the connection between your mind and your body becomes stronger. Meditation is said to increase your awareness and make your pregnancy that much more enjoyable, with purposeful connection to your baby and your body. What better reason to start today!
How does meditation help and why do we need to do it? What if I’ve never done it before? How do I start? Is it difficult? So many (stressful) questions. Just breathe and let’s dive in…
What is meditation?
Meditation is the practice of focusing the mind on a particular object, thought or activity to train attention and awareness. This focus may achieve a mentally clear, emotionally calm and stable state.
Meditation techniques you should try during pregnancy
There are so many types of meditation and some are so easy to practice, you can do them right here and now while you’re reading this! From everyday mindfulness to Vipassana, if you are able to focus your thoughts and your breath – this is meditating.
There is also guided meditation. This is when someone is talking you through the time in which you’re meditating. I quite like this as my mind wanders and this ensures I’m not going to think about other chores or the shopping list (as much) or forget my breathing.
There are many apps and YouTubers that focus on this type of meditation. Try a few out and figure out which one is right for you.
Benefits of practicing meditation
We all know that meditation is good for us and even better for us during pregnancy. But why is this so?
1. Meditation reduces stress
When you are meditating, it can produce a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. When you focus your attention and eliminate the myriad of interruptive thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress.
This process may result in enhanced emotional wellbeing. The calm experience is known to benefit your baby as their heart rate and food intake is more steady and less likely to spike resulting in their stress.
Stress is one of the most common reasons for preterm delivery. Preterm birth is the major risk factor for infant mortality and represents 63% of all deaths in children. This is alarming news that I wish I knew when I was pregnant with my 2nd child. I was completely stressed but didn’t think this would affect my baby.
When I was airlifted to hospital at 31 weeks because my waters broke, I was physically fit and healthy, but not mentally. This stress I was feeling is the ultimate result as to why I delivered 8 weeks early. I gave birth to her alone at 1am and then she was immediately placed in an incubator. We then spent the next 6 weeks together in different hospitals away from home until she was healthy enough to breastfeed on her own.
The doctors performed all sorts of tests on me to check my physical health and traces of drugs, alcohol or nicotine to try to ascertain why my waters broke so early. They cut up and tested my placenta for the same, but found that I was completely healthy and doing all the right things, except for lowering my stress levels.
I would go so far as to say that meditation is vital if you are experiencing any sort of stress throughout your pregnancy for the ultimate wellbeing of yourself and your child.
Not only does meditation help you during your pregnancy and birth, but also has so many benefits for you at all stages throughout your life. Some of these include:
2. Better sleep
3. Connecting to your changing body
4. Peace of mind
5. Less tension
6. Positive labour preparation
7. Lower risk of postpartum depression
8. Lower blood pressure
9. Managed anxiety
10. Inner peace
11. Less likely to be depressed
12. Reduced risk of diabetes
13. Enhanced self awareness
14. May help addictions
15. Lengthened attention span
16. May reduce age related memory loss
How can I practice meditation?
I was hesitant at first because I thought I needed a heap of spare time, a candle, gentle music and a small gold bell, but it’s super easy and you don’t need anything to start.
Lets try right now (no excuses):
- Focus on your breath as you are sitting right now.
- Breath in for 6 seconds and sense your diaphragm rising.
- Breath out for 6 seconds and feel the warm air leaving your body.
- Now breath in for 7 seconds and out for 7 seconds. Then for 8, then for 9. Then for 10. Back to 9 in and out, then 8 in and out, then 7 in and out and 6 in and out.
If you can do this at least 3 times a day, you may feel calmer and more relaxed than the day before. You can do this when waiting for the kettle to boil, when washing your hands or when in bed ready to sleep.
Prenatal meditation and the throat and womb connection
There is an undeniable, magical connection between the throat and the womb. Not only do they physically resemble one another and are made of the same cell tissue, but they are also energetically linked. They are divine mirrors.
When your mouth and throat relaxes, so does your pelvic floor. When you are in labour, it’s very uncommon for you not to make any noise. Many women when experiencing contractions make a low groaning noise and this is in time with their uterus contracting.
Prenatal meditation, for this reason, usually also exercises your throat with humming, gentle singing or vocalised breathing. This practice connects your throat to your womb and when one relaxes, so does the other.
In whatever way, shape or form you are able to focus your mind, breathing or thoughts, this is considered meditation. The calm that will come with the deliberate attention on these actions may result in the soothing effects for your baby too. It’s a win-win situation for your baby, your birth, your pregnancy and your body.