59. The Power of Meditation in Pregnancy and Birth – Nina Phelan
" Birth (any type of birth whether it is a c section, epidural, non medicated or induction) requires focus, concentration and a sense of calm in order to trust the journey ~ meditation is the perfect preparation."
Looking to create a more mindful, empowering experience throughout your pregnancy? Meditation could be your ticket to calming those nerves, balancing your hormones and preparing for labor.
Sounds too good to be true? Well, the yogis have known the benefits of mediation for
centuries and now we have the science to back it up.
Studies have shown that pregnant women who meditate or have a mindfulness practice
tend to be more in touch with their bodies during pregnancy, labor and the postpartum time. They have an increased connection with their growing babies and have lower rates of postpartum depression. Also, fear of labor decreased significantly.
In fact, researchers from Wake Forest University (Zeiden et al) found that, after only four days of meditation training, subjects could handle pain 27% better than the control group. Pain relief in birth – sign me up!
Birth (any type of birth whether it is a c section, epidural, non medicated or induction) requires focus, concentration and a sense of calm in order to trust the journey ~ meditation is the perfect preparation.
Benefits of Meditation:
*prepare mentally for childbirth – relaxed mind, relaxed body = easier birth
*lowers blood pressure
*increases body awareness
*relieves stress and anxiety
*helps with nausea
*allows you to tap into your intuition
*bonding with your baby
*helps with breastfeeding and life as a new parent
Where to begin?
Let’s start with the basics – what is meditation?
According to the Cleveland Clinic: Meditation is a practice that involves focusing or clearing your mind using a combination of mental and physical techniques.
I had a teacher describe meditation as a ‘shower for the brain’ – you clean your body daily, why not your mind? When we do so, we are washing away the chatter and opening to our intuitive muscles.
That sounds great, but can anyone do it? The simple answer is YES!
Meditation is a practice. Learning to meditate is like learning any other skill. Think of it like exercising a muscle that you’ve never really worked out before. It takes consistent practice to get comfortable.
The beauty of meditation is that it isn’t one size fits all. It isn’t necessarily about sitting still and ‘trying’ to quiet the mind.’ And you don’t need 20-30minutes to meditate; three minutes of meditation can shift and balance the gray matter in your brain (which is responsible for emotions and decision making). One minute of focused deep breathing will relax your nervous system. Small practices can create profound results!
Ways to Meditate:
*Breathing Meditation: feeling the breath moving in and out of you.
Suggestion: Place one hand on your heart, and one hand on baby’s home.
Imagine or feel your breath moving from your heart space down into baby’s home. You can even imagine a color connecting your heart with your baby. Sending your baby love and also receiving your baby’s love. Set a timer for 1-5 minutes
*Mantra meditation: This kind of meditation involves repeating and focusing on a specific phrase or sound which anchors into your subconscious.
Suggestion: Repeating Affirmations.
I am strong. My body knows what to do and my baby knows what to do.
*Mudra Meditation: hand gestures that act as energetic circuits to seal in and open
up different neural pathways.
Suggestion: Gyan Mudra.
This symbolizes the union of the Self with the Universe. During pregnancy, you are the Universe for your baby. This mudra allows you to connect with your baby on an emotional and deep level. Sit in a comfortable position, spine straight, thumb to index finger and breathe deeply.
*Body scan: Helps connect you to your growing body and baby and allows your to
recognize where you hold tension in the body (we want to be loose and limp in labor!)
Suggestion: Releasing and relaxing every muscle in your body all the way down to your toes.
As you breathe down, relaxing your eyes, your cheeks, your shoulders. Relaxing your
belly (say hi to baby!) relaxing your hips, knees, ankles and toes.
There are infinite ways to meditate:
*Music – listening to chants or binaural beats can shift the brain waves into a space
*Mandala meditation- allows the thinking mind to focus and quiet the chatter
*Meditate with your partner
*Take a walk in nature, breathing and being present with the outside world
*Begin a gratitude practice
*Daily Journaling is a form of a meditative practice
*Use a meditation app like Expectful, Headspace or Insight Timer
*YouTube videos are an amazing resource
*Take a Hypnobirthing class or other Mindfulness Class for birth
Make a date with yourself- schedule it into your daily calendar. Be creative! Remember, you can meditate anywhere – in the doctor’s office, standing in line at the grocery store, in a (parked) car, in the bath or right before you fall asleep at night. It doesn’t require any special equipment or training – just you.
Find a meditation practice that you enjoy. Have fun and savor the benefits that
meditation can bring to your pregnancy and birth!
https://truptwellness.com/pregnancy/4-best-mudras-to-beat-stress-in-pregnancy/10 tips for A mindful birth. Headspace. (n.d.). Retrieved March 11, 2022, from https://
mindfulness coach, Hypnobirthing Instructor
and birth doula . She is passionate about
helping people through the continuum of the
childbearing years. She creates a safe haven
where birthing people are given the space to
reconnect to the beauty and soul-fullness of
their pregnancy journey.
You can find her at www.thesoulfulbirth.com