Millions of people practice meditation every day in an effort to de-stress and center the mind. Due to the variety of ways that are available to practice mindfulness and meditation, including apps, classes, and guided meditation, it makes it easier to find a method that can support your health and well-being. Whether you meditate once in awhile or follow a regular practice, the benefits are the same. As a calming exercise that connects the mind and body, the act of practicing meditation can be done anywhere at any time.
It’s no surprise then that many moms-to-be turn to meditation as a way to calm anxiety while pregnant, as well as reap the overall mental health benefits that mindfulness delivers. Meditation has helped pregnant women:
- Get better sleep
- Reduce tension and anxiety
- Enhance self-awareness and a sense of calm
- Promote positive emotional health
- Increase focus and improve brain function
As the body and hormones fluctuate during the nine months before childbirth, it can be challenging for any pregnant woman to feel centered. Prenatal meditation calms the mind by focusing on breathwork, one thing that is beneficial for the health of the pregnant woman and her baby. There are several techniques to choose from when on the search for a practice that fits your schedule and preference.
Pregnancy meditation may involve doing a breathing exercise for five minutes or participating in a 30-minute guided video. Meditation works quietly on your own or with a small group of people. There’s no single way when it comes to practicing meditation. It’s accessible to all and can be personalized per individual to fit her emotional-well being needs.
Location-wise, the easiest way to combat prenatal stress or anxiety is to meditate in the comfort of your own home. Find a quiet space and sit in a relaxed position. Close your eyes as you try to center the mind. Focus on deep breathing and pay attention to every inhale and exhale. Often it’s suggested to focus on a mantra as a guide for each breathing exercise. Think of a positive saying or word and repeat it during your time dedicated to mindfulness and meditation.
Using a Meditation App
There are several popular meditation apps that can be personalized to your practice. Sessions may be as short as three minutes, which makes it convenient for nearly everyone. Choose from nature sounds, sleep music, guided, or silent meditations. Certain apps also provide extra tools to help reduce the effects of stress on pregnancy and improve sleep for the expectant mom. The goal of these apps is to allow you to tune into your body, identify how you’re feeling, and make changes as needed to tune into your mindfulness.
Each is designed as a simple way for people to introduce meditation into their lives in the way that works best for them. This may be the first thing you do in the morning, as a break during the work day, or possibly right before you go to bed as a way to let the mind wind down and support a good night’s sleep.
Yoga and Meditation
Yoga is a popular exercise among pregnant women who want to stay active without involving high-intense cardio or heavy weights. It’s designed for everyone to go at their own pace and listen to what their bodies need, since this changes frequently. There are specific yoga classes that include prenatal meditation for women. The mix of mind and body exercise promotes circulation and helps to lower blood pressure and stress levels, and pain. One of the key techniques during yoga is to perform a mental body scan and identify how you feel. The additional stressors that come with being pregnant on top of day-to-day life make it difficult to be present in the moment, which is what yoga and mediation aim to achieve.
Tips for Meditation Beginners
One of the beautiful things about meditation is that you can begin today having never practiced before at all. Don’t be discouraged if you’re unable to quiet your mind when you first begin. Consistency will get you to a place that feels comfortable. If you’re getting started for the first time, here are a few tips:
- Start slowly. Try it for a few minutes to start before working up to 20 or 30 minutes. Busy moms-to-be often only have a minute or two to spare, which luckily is enough time to meditate and center in on your mental health.
- Focus on positivity. It’s easy to let the mind drift to the endless list of things that must be done. By softly repeating an uplifting word or saying, it gives your mind one thing to focus itself on.
- Try guided meditation. For those who are unsure about where to begin, it’s nice to hear the soothing voice of someone guiding you through the actions of what you need to do. Close your eyes, continue inhaling and exhaling deeply, and start to visualize the “story” of the meditation you select.
- Simply breathe. Whenever you feel anxious or ultra-stressed, try this deep breathing exercise: Breathe in for three seconds, hold it for three seconds, and exhale for three seconds. Repeat this a few times until you feel your body start to relax.
Meditation during pregnancy is popular because it encourages you to make time to yourself. There are several competing emotions that arise as a mom-to-be that can affect your pregnancy. Find a meditation technique that speaks to you and see how it benefits you during this exciting time.