How meditation can help you in pregnancy

We look at how meditation can be a great way to help you relax through pregnancy and beyond and provide three free guided meditations by Kate James for you to try.

Meditation is an ancient practice that has been shown to have a wide array of health benefits. It can help you to relax and de-stress you.

With this in mind, most of us could benefit from a dose of mindfulness and meditation, however pregnancy meditation in particular may be deeply beneficial for some mums to be.

Pregnancy can be a wonderful time in your life, but it may also come with a side order of worries. Meditation during pregnancy can be a great way to stay connected to your body and baby and help keep the mind and body relaxed.

Emma Jory, director of epilatesonline.com, has seen how beneficial pregnancy meditation can be during her 13 years as a health and fitness coach. 

“When we are relaxed and calm and breathing with slow deep breaths, it helps to keep the body in the rest and digest (parasympathetic) nervous system, as opposed to the fight and flight (sympathetic) nervous system. When the body is stressed and taking shorter sharper breaths, it is releasing hormones called adrenaline and cortisol,” says Emma. 

While there are many things beyond our control, and sometimes stress during pregnancy cannot be helped, the first 1000 days of parenthood are crucial in a child’s development. 

Woman meditating

Guided meditation for pregnancy

There are many forms of pregnancy meditation that mums can do, however many people find a guided meditation gently stepping you through what you need to do helps them stay on track.

“Any meditation can be done and is great while pregnant. However, if you want to enhance your experience while pregnant and also during labour, specific breathing and visualisation techniques can be helpful.

For example, in a guided meditation I would encourage my mums to trust in their body and the process. That women are created to give birth and your body intuitively knows what it needs to do when it comes to giving birth,” says Emma.

Meditation may not only help to reduce anxiety throughout the pregnancy, but there are many meditation techniques that may help you relax during labour.

“The woman starts to feel a sensation in her body and tenses up, that sensation is automatically felt as pain, so she becomes more afraid, her body tenses up more and she becomes more afraid, followed by more tension,” says Emma. 

“Women must learn to connect with their pain in a different way. Listen to their body and learn how to interpret the signals they receive. Connecting with the breath and movements of the body helps with this.” 

Your pregnancy journey does not end in the labour ward, but a new chapter begins. A new chapter of joy and beauty begins, which also comes with emotional perils and exhaustion. Post-partum depression affects up to one in seven mothers, and “the baby blues” affect many more. 

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT – a form of meditation and mindfulness) has been suggested to positively help prevent and treat postpartum depression. 

Although meditation has been shown to help in some cases, if you experience any mental health difficulties or find yourself struggling in any way, you must seek help as soon as possible to find the appropriate treatment for you and your family. 

Guided meditation for labour

Meditation may not only help to reduce anxiety throughout the pregnancy, but there are many meditation techniques that may help you relax during labour.

“The woman starts to feel a sensation in her body and tenses up, that sensation is automatically felt as pain, so she becomes more afraid, her body tenses up more and she becomes more afraid, followed by more tension,” says Emma. 

“Women must learn to connect with their pain in a different way. Listen to their body and learn how to interpret the signals they receive. Connecting with the breath and movements of the body helps with this.” 

Guided meditation for new parents

Your pregnancy journey does not end in the labour ward, but a new chapter begins. A new chapter of joy and beauty begins, which also comes with emotional perils and exhaustion. Post-partum depression affects up to one in seven mothers, and “the baby blues” affect many more. 

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT – a form of meditation and mindfulness) has been suggested to positively help prevent and treat postpartum depression. 

Although meditation has been shown to help in some cases, if you experience any mental health difficulties or find yourself struggling in any way, you must seek help as soon as possible to find the appropriate treatment for you and your family. 

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