Benefits of Meditation During Pregnancy

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Pregnancy is an exciting time, but can also be filled with some anxiety. The changes that occur to the body, childbirth and becoming a parent can cause feelings of fear and stress in expecting parents, in addition to finances, childcare and changing the family dynamics. This post will share with you the benefits of meditation during pregnancy to help alleviate fears, stresses and feelings of overwhelming emotions that can be associated with this exciting milestone.

Danger of Stress During Pregnancy

Many people know that extreme stress is bad for any living thing and that it can lead to disease and degeneration in our bodies. Pregnancy itself is a particularly stressful time on a woman’s body. The physical and hormonal changes can be quite daunting whether its the first or fourth pregnancy. We currently live in incredibly stressful times. We worry about things close to home like our finances, our relationships with those close to us as well as our safety and security as a country and abroad.

In addition to everyday stressors, many women work for as long as possible during pregnancy to maximize their maternity leave after the baby is born. Many expecting woman may not be aware that excessive stress during pregnancy can have severe consequences for the health of the unborn baby if they don’t learn how to manage it.

It’s already known that extreme stress during pregnancy can lead to increased risk of miscarriage in early pregnancy. In the later stages of pregnancy, extreme stress can lead to things like premature labor, premature birth and low birth-weight babies. The latest findings indicate that prenatal stress can also increase the risk of a baby being born with asthma or allergies.

Research is showing that stress makes cells more permeable by weakening the body’s cells, and it then becomes more susceptible to allergens and that even low levels of exposure to an allergen could trigger a reaction. Stress also suppresses the immune system thereby making us more susceptible to sickness as well as being less able to deal with allergens and other pathogens. Prenatal stress can also impact fetal development. Studies have shown that it can even affect cognitive, emotional, and physical development in infancy and childhood.

Benefits of Meditation During Pregnancy

Meditation is a great way to release stress and anxiety anytime, and pregnancy is no exception. The positive side effects of meditation are beneficial for both mother and unborn baby and there are no negative side effects to date!

Benefits of meditation during pregnancy include:

  • Better sleep
  • Connecting to your changing body
  • Anxiety/stress relief
  • Increased peace of mind
  • Less tension
  • Connecting with your baby before birth
  • Positive labor preparation
  • Lower risk of postpartum depression

Studies also show that meditation improves DHEA levels which is important in pregnant women. This hormone helps you keep your mind clear and focused on what’s best for your baby while simultaneously keeping your organs functioning properly. Other vital benefits include proper immunity, agility, proper vision and ensuring proper motor skills and memory.

Types of Pregnancy Meditation

There are many different types of meditation for expecting parents that can be done during pregnancy. The most common types of meditations include:

  • Fear Release – This type of meditation is used to release fears and anxieties
  • Relaxation – This type of meditation is used to create a state of relaxation
  • Bonding with Baby – This type of meditation used to connect with your growing body and baby
  • Affirmations – These are positive statements to boost confidence and release self-imposed limiting thoughts.

I used these types of meditations regularly during both of my pregnancies which helped to alleviate a lot of physical and emotional stress, alleviated discomforts and helped me to prepare mentally and physically for labor. I had two beautiful, drug-free birth experiences which you can read about here and here. Over the last several years I have taught these exercises to many expecting parents to help empower them to create beautiful birthing experiences as well. I am so excited to share my album of guided meditations on iTunes and Amazon MP3 for other expecting mothers to help find relaxation, release fears and stress and bond with their little one.

Many prenatal yoga classes will do some form of these meditations as well or you can practice meditation alone at home. One tool that really helps me to get grounded during meditation are my mala beads. Another helpful tool I use for quieting the mind is therapeutic grade essential oils. These help to release negative thoughts and feelings from the limbic region of the brain making it easier to become relaxed and at ease. It is best to try different methods and see which works best to get you grounded and to find peace.

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5 Tips for a Successful Natural Childbirth

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If you are planning on having a drug-free childbirth, natural remedies and techniques can assist you and prevent complications during labor. Trusting the wisdom of nature and that of your natural birthing instincts is the way to go. A natural approach to childbirth is one of the best ways to ensure a healthy and happy birthing process for both mother and child.

Natural childbirth involves empowering women to achieve labor according to the rhythm of breath during contraction in a relaxed manner despite having to endure pain. If you are like many women and feel anxious about giving birth, herbs for childbirth can help you have a positive outlook and be able to deal with the physical pain of contraction more effectively.

5 Tips for a Successful Natural Childbirth

  1. Yoga- Breathing techniques used in Yoga assist with coping with labour pain and also assists in strengthening the bones of the body. Practicing yoga postures throughout your pregnancy lowers the chances of complications during pregnancy and at the time of childbirth. Find a prenatal class near you and connect with other expecting moms. Here are some prenatal yoga postures that you can do at home.
  2. Meditation – Meditation during labor and delivery is also particularly beneficial for managing pain and for encouraging an easier overall birthing process.  Meditation has been shown to decrease levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline (which increase anxiety during stressful situations) and can increase hormones such as melatonin, which promote a sense of calm. Meditation also increases the production of endorphins, natural pain relievers in the body. meditation can also help to lower blood pressure and heart rate, reducing the risk of pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia and is helping in reducing anxiety. If you are new to meditation here are some tips for beginners.
  3. Essential Oils- In American culture alternative therapies are making their way into our lifestyles for situations such as labor and birth, among many other things. Essential oils for labor can be just what you need if you are looking for safe, healthy options for labor. Not only can essential oils help ease discomfort, but they can also help keep you relaxed and grounded to help your labor progress well.
  4. Herbs & Supplements- Herbs for childbirth can be very useful in supporting the birthing mother during the stages of labor both mentally and physically. Herbs are used safely during birth to help ease labor pains naturally, without the need for medication or epidural. Herbs for labor and delivery have assisted women throughout the centuries before medical birth was introduced.
  5. Support- The people in the labor room with you have a huge effect on your natural childbirth experience, so choose your support people carefully. Your partner can be an excellent companion during your labor. Some women feel comfortable with their mother, sister, or best friend by their side during labor as well. Many expectant moms hire a doula for additional support during a natural birth. A doula has extensive wisdom about natural childbirth, and will be able to help you and your coach through each stage of labor. Your partner will not know what to expect or what to do during labor if you’re never talked about it so it is imperative that you both be prepared. Taking a natural birthing class in your are, or going through an online birthing class together, gives you both a chance to plan for the labor. Whether you choose to have a doula or not, having any form of continuous physical and emotional support (other than your professional medical team) has been shown to make labor shorter and more positive birthing experience.

These techniques practiced regularly will help to empower your to birth with freedom and joy and will help you have the best advantage when it comes to having a successful drug-free childbirth. If you are interested in learning more in detail about how to utilize the tips mentioned above checkout my Online Mindful Birthing Course where you will learn how to naturally manage discomforts during pregnancy, prepare the mind and body for labor and how to heal postpartum. Even if you are not planning on having a natural, drug-free labor, these techniques are still very helpful in having a stress-free birth experience.

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10 Ways to Treat Morning Sickness Naturally

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Morning sickness is a common and uncomfortable symptom of pregnancy. Although it’s called morning sickness it can occur at anytime in the day. I used to get mine right before dinnertime. Nothing is fun about feeling nauseous and vomiting. Some women are lucky to not experience this common symptom and others range from having mild symptoms to experiencing for the duration of the pregnancy. This post will share with you how to treat morning sickness naturally!

Treat Morning Sickness Naturally

1. Get some Rescue Remedy from Bach Flower Remedies (where to buy). This is an over-the-counter flower essence. (Note: it does have a tiny bit of alcohol.) You can put a few drops under your tongue, or place on your wrists. (To find the sweet spot on your wrist, measure 3 fingers up from wrist, palm-side of hand up. There, you’ll feel a small dent … Place there and push slightly for 10 counts. This acupressure point is for nausea. Or you can put a few drops on a warm, damp towel or rub a few drops on your belly.

2. Get acupuncture treatments. These treatments were very helpful in helping to relieve the uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy, including morning sickness.

3. Eat 5 to 6 small, frequent meals every few hours throughout the day. Make sure to have a balance of carbs and protein to maintain blood sugar. It’s best to have snacks on hand to ensure that you don’t go too long without food when you are on the go.

4. Go for a walk or enjoy some mild exercise to relieve hormonal activity. Yoga is another great way to get exercise, prepare the body for labor and also to alleviate morning sickness naturally.

 5. Vitamin B-6, taken as 25 mg every 8 hours, has been shown to have a significant effect in reducing or stopping nausea and vomiting.
6. Increase B-complex vitamins and iron intake. (Use a food based B-complex like Rainbow Light, and for iron I love the Floridex Liquid Iron Formula. It’s all food-based and non constipating … good to take extra through entire pregnancy.)
7. Take zinc supplements, 25 mg per day in addition to your prenatal vitamin.
8. Sip on some raspberry leaf, peppermint, or chamomile tea.

9. Cure morning sickness naturally with Oil pulling. Not only will oil pulling be helpful for oral health during pregnancy, but it has also been successful in alleviating morning sickness.

10. Last but not least, Essential Oils! These can help with many different pregnancy symptoms and are a great non-toxic, chemical free way to alleviate discomforts without resorting to OTC or Rx meds. I recommend using therapeutic grade essential oils. You can learn how to order them here. Make your own belly rub! You can use Peppermint, Ginger, Spearmint or Patchouli just to name a few! Place on a warm, damp towel, and rub your belly.

Want to learn how to alleviate other pregnancy discomforts naturally? Checkout my book Yogi Mami’s Guide to an Easier Pregnancy and Labor on Amazon or if you are looking for a natural and holistic approach to labor preparation checkout my Mindful Birthing Online Course. I would love to guide you on you’re pregnancy journey!

 

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