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.