Meditation helps Mama and baby
First up, congratulations to our pregnant Mamas! Spending this time with your baby whilst in utero will offer many changes physically, mentally and emotionally. Some of these changes may be discomforting or even challenging during your pregnancy. Your body may get uncomfortable, you may find sleeping difficult, the thought of labour and delivery may be stressful or even caring for a newborn may seem unnerving. A lot can arise during these 9 months or so.
Meditation is known to help reduce stress and anxiety and aid in getting a restful night’s sleep. During pregnancy this can be a very practical tool to have available. You can use your breath, body sensing, mindful presence and awareness to bring your central nervous system into the rest and digest stage and out of the stressful fight, flight or freeze stage. The stress and tension that you reduce in your mind and body, will benefit your baby growing inside of you.
Guided Sleep meditations can ease your body and mind into a peaceful state which allows you to drift into sleep. The more restful your sleep, the more refreshed and rejuvenated you feel in the morning! All of it beneficial for your baby.
Bonding with your baby
The best part of practicing pregnancy meditations, in my experience, is the bonding with your yet to be born son or daughter. It’s a heart connection, a time to be enjoyed and savoured.
Here’s ten tips on how to meditate when pregnant.
1. Find a place relatively free of noise and distractions. No phone unless it’s to listen to your guided pregnancy meditation.
2.Get comfortable either seated or laying down. Here is where you need to spoil your pregnant self. Use pillows, blankets, eye pillow and cushions to get comfortable. If seated on the floor, a pillow or rolled blanket under your knees, seated in a chair – a small blanket behind your back for support and comfort. Something to rest your feet on if they don’t reach the floor comfortably. If lying down, pad the surface you are lying on with layers of blankets, a bolster or pillow under your knees, use an eye pillow and cover up with a blanket. Make yourself a cosy nest. If laying flat is uncomfortable and at some point in the pregnancy it probably will be, lay on your side with knees bent, head on a pillow and putting a pillow between your legs for comfort and cover up with a blanket. Laying on your left side will take pressure off the aorta and vena cava. If you suffer with reflux, lay propped up on pillows so your upper body is at a slant.
3. Listen to the guided meditation with head/earphone for a more intimate experience.
4. Make sure you find the voice of your guide soothing and calming.
5. First allow yourself to be guided to relax your body and mind. After that, connecting with your baby from a heart space will feel natural.
6. Put your hand on your belly at any time during the meditation to increase your bonding experience.
7. Your meditation practice serves you and your baby, make a commitment to how often you can meditate.
8. Having a consistent meditation practice during your pregnancy will be helpful prep for labour and delivery. You will have the tools to relax your muscles and drop deeper within yourself.
9. Enjoy this time you take meditating for yourself and the precious connection with your baby. It’s an act of self-care for the both of you.
10. Even 5 minutes a day is enough and helpful. Longer durations are great when you have the time but don’t beat yourself up when you cannot. Come to your meditation as a practice and not a chore.
Meditations can be helpful during labour, especially during the early phases to relax the muscles and ease the mind from any anxiety. It was in my third labour where I learnt from my midwife how to direct my exhale down to the point of pain and help release it. It took me from unbearable to manageable pain. Postnatally, continuing a meditation practice can help ease any physical discomforts, mental fatigue and emotional lows.
Remember to take care of yourself during this stage in your life. If you feel uncomfortable or uncertain if meditation is right for you during pregnancy, please seek your medical professional’s advise.
With gratitude, Theresa