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Even if you’ve never actually practiced meditation, now that you’re pregnant it would be worthwhile for you to consider it. Apart from numerous health benefits to both you and your baby, there are no side effects or negative outcomes of practicing meditation during pregnancy and as they say in the classics “It can only be a good thing”.
Pregnancy is nothing if not a time of immense change. Changes in body shape and physical wellbeing are some of the more obvious. Mood swings are common as is a sense of losing control, especially during labour and delivery. Pregnancy meditation can help to support a sense of control and power. It also boosts feelings of strength, both in emotional and physical ways.
Giving in to change can be immensely difficult, more so for some women than others. For those who are used to being in control of both themselves and their career and generally having predictable outcomes, then having a baby can really create unique challenges.
Meditation can also help to create a quiet oasis of inner calm and centredness when feelings of tension threaten to overwhelm us.
Make time to mediate. In our busy lives there is always something which needs doing, a job calling us or a deadline to meet. Prioritising meditation, along with other aspects of self care, is vital for reaping as many benefits as possible.
One of the many benefits of pregnancy meditation is that you don’t need to be an expert. In this competitive world, we can all be guilty of avoiding situations in which we may feel less than perfect. However, with pregnancy meditation, no one will be judging you on your performance.
As long as you feel calmer and a little more peaceful after a meditation session, then you’ve reaped the benefits. And your enthusiasm is likely to have a contagious effect on those close to you.
There are lots of definitions for the term meditation. Essentially it means to stop all physical activities and concentrate on breathing and our sense of self. Trying to create a feeling of calmness and mindfulness as well as being “in the moment” are the aims of meditation.
Another aspect to meditation is a focus on the breathing – both when inhaling and exhaling. Visualising the breath as it enters and exits the lungs is said to help slow heart rate and bring significant benefits across all body systems.
There are lots of claims made about the positive effects of pregnancy meditation on an unborn baby. However, hard scientific evidence is yet to prove many of them.
Be open minded about statements which report a decreased incidence of abnormalities and birth complication because of pregnancy meditation. There’s generally a reason why things sound too good to be true.
This is a time when early pregnancy symptoms can overwhelm the most robust of women. Nausea, indigestion, changes in sleeping pattern and urinary frequency mean that deep restorative sleep may be a far off memory and quite literally, something you can only dream about. So finding the opportunity to deeply relax though meditation can provide a welcome alternative when your reality is less than comfortable. Check here for more first trimester information.
Try to visualise your baby growing and its organs forming. You may already feel a sense of emotional connection with your baby and view meditation as an opportunity to communicate with your little one.
During this three month period your baby’s senses will all be developing, including their ears and auditory system. So music, gentle humming or singing to your baby if you’re so inclined will not be wasted.
This is the time when many pregnant women “glow”. The early days of nausea and exhaustion have settled and you’re likely to be feeling alot more positive.
Use this time to visualise your baby as they are growing, gaining weight and moving around. Imagine your baby’s little face and consider what their experience is in their watery world. Place your hands on your tummy and see if you can feel their limbs. Talk quietly to your baby if you want to, or just send little mind messages to them.
This is the trimester when for the first time, you will feel your baby moving. For women who’ve had a baby before this will be around 15 weeks but if this is your first baby, it may be closer to 18 weeks. Check this for more second trimester details.
Make a comfortable nest of pillows and cushions which provide your body with the support it needs. Visualise your baby trying to find an equally comfortable position in your uterus, which is becoming increasingly restrictive. Soon this watery home will become too small for them.
If you’re finding you’re increasingly uncomfortable, visualise a time and place when your body held no pressure or pain, aches or tension. Check here for information on pregnancy back pain. Talk to your baby and be sensitive to their responses to your voice.
Place gentle pressure on your tummy and communicate through your fingers and the palms of your hands. Think about your baby’s birth and all that you hope it will be.
With every breath in visualise strength, light and a sense of calm. During your labour, you will call on the skills you have practiced. Check here for more labour information.
Find a sitting or lying position which is comfortable for you. Make sure you go to the toilet first and have a drink of water. There’s nothing like physical discomfort to really put a damper on a meditation session.
Take your phone off the hook and turn your mobile to silent. This is a time for you and your baby -and the rest of the world will just have to do without you for the next half hour or so.
Overall, be positive about the benefits of meditation. Even if you’ve never done it before, consider it a learning experience.
Pregnancy meditation can only bring you and your little baby benefits, so go on, give it a go.
This article was written by Jane Barry, midwife, child health nurse, freelance parenting consultant, copywriter and director of www.mybabybaby.com.au