Updated: Nov 16, 2022
According to the National Science Foundation, the average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those 12,000 thoughts, 80% are negative and 95% are repetitive thoughts.
Meditation is a powerful tool to slow down our thoughts and break negative thought patterns. It is a no-brainer that this can drastically improve your pregnancy.
A proverb helped me understand the benefit of meditation before I started to grow my practice. The proverb asks,
"If I were to ask you how heavy is your water bottle, what would you say? Would the answer change if you'd been holding the water bottle for an hour? or 6 hours? a day? a week? How about if you set the water bottle down for a few minutes? Once you pick it back up, it feels lighter, right?"
Apply this concept to your thoughts. If you take some time to disconnect from the negative and repetitive thoughts that you carry with you each day, they become much easier to manage and disconnect from.
Reduce Stress & Anxiety
If you're pregnant you are probably aware that being pregnant, while exciting and life-changing, can also feel stressful and even trigger feelings of anxiety. Between the information overload and unsolicited advice coming at you from all directions, it's easy to get caught up in feelings of overwhelm. Not to mention, we are not living in the most stable of times which can cause anyone to feel unsettled and anxious.
Research shows that stress during pregnancy can have a significant impact on a baby's development. Stress leads to inflammation in the body. Severe stress has been connected with preterm labor and lower birth rates. Practicing meditation and mindfulness decreases the risk of these complications and is linked with healthier babies. An extensive body of research shows that regular meditation practice reduces stress and anxiety. A recent Spanish study suggests meditating when pregnant could help those at risk of having a small baby birth a child at a healthy weight.
Have you found it difficult to find time for yourself during pregnancy? Balancing work or other life responsibilities can take up a lot of time. Meditation can give you some much-needed space for self-care. Guided meditations can be particularly helpful for enhancing relaxation. Meditation helps stimulate your body's relaxation response which can help ease many stress-related ailments, including depression, pain, and high blood pressure.
Insomnia is a common complaint during pregnancy. Regular meditation is proven to reduce insomnia. Meditation slows down your heart rate and lowers the stress hormone cortisol levels in your body. These are two things that happen naturally when you sleep.
Meditation can also cause you to have theta brainwaves, the same state your brain enters when you are falling asleep. Meditating before you go to sleep prepares your body for sleep by entering a resting state.
Deepen Your Connection with Your Baby
Meditation is beneficial for you and your baby. Mentally, when your mind becomes more settled and open and you can focus on your baby. On an emotional level, you become more open to bonding with your baby and tune into your child's presence and energy. The more you grow your meditation practice, the more your connection with your baby will deepen.
Enhance Your Intuition
Meditation helps us connect to our sense of inner knowing, also known as our intuition. If you are depressed, anxious, emotionally blocked, and/or simply not feeling your best, your conscious mind will be the loudest voice. Learning to quiet down out "monkey mind" is the key to connecting to your more powerful subconscious mind, the home of your intuition. The more you meditate, the easier it is to quiet the conscious mind and access your intuition.
Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure during pregnancy can be dangerous for the pregnant person and their baby. Fully relaxing your body and your mind for a few minutes a day could lower your systolic blood pressure (the top number of a blood pressure reading) by 10 points or more. The best results are found when meditation is practiced for 10-20 minutes a day.
Box breathing (also known as tactic breathing). Inhale for a count of 4. Hold the breath in for a count of 4, Then breathe out while counting to 4 again. Hold your breath out for a count of 4. Repeat.
Guided meditations. There are apps for your phone and videos online that offer guided meditations. These recordings are on different topics and use different techniques.
Calming sounds. Many people enjoy meditating while listening to calming music or natural sounds like rain or ocean waves. you can find meditation tracks on Spotify or the app Insight Timer.
Body scan meditation. Without moving or opening your eyes, focus on your toes. Notice how they feel before moving up to the next body part. Continue doing this until you've done your whole body up to your fingertips and top of your head.
Body relaxation meditation. This is very similar to a body scan meditation. Starting at your toes, notice how they feel. Then tense them up. Finally, relax them as much as you can. Do the same for your whole body.
The best way to start meditating regularly is to add it to your schedule. Try meditating each day during a time you believe allows you to practice consistently. Consider meditating when you wake up, before lunch or before you go to bed.
Disclaimer: This information does not substitute for a care provider-patient relationship and should not be relied on as personal medical advice.
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Meet the Author
Clara O'Rourke (she hers),
Holistic Doula & Childbirth Educator.
I am a researcher turned total birth nerd with a passion for supporting people birth in their full power! I guide people through their pregnancy, labor, and postpartum journey by helping them overcome fear or anxiety about birth, providing evidence-based information so they can make informed decisions, and making sure they have everything they need to birth with confidence. Birth is sacred and it should be treated that way. I am committed to providing support for birth and beyond, regardless of a person's background, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or relationship status. También ofrezco mis servicios en español. I wish you and your growing family the brightest of beginnings!