5 Pregnancy Meditation Techniques

Stress and anxiety are common during pregnancy because of the bodily changes alongside fluctuating hormone levels [1]. As a happy mother leads to a happy baby, you should try maintaining an optimistic and jovial attitude, which can be achieved by following proper meditation techniques right from the first trimester up to the end of your term.

How does meditation help during pregnancy

  • Calms and relaxes your mind [2]
  • Minimizes chances of mood swings [2, 3]
  • Lessens risk of depression before and after delivery  [3]
  • Keeps you from making unhealthy food choices [3]
  • Maintains a proper blood pressure level [4]
  • Increases your focus and concentration [2]
  • Prepares you mentally for childbirth [2]
  • Helps in accepting the changes in your body [9]

Meditation techniques for early and late pregnancy

1. Deep breathing for relieving stress

Deep Breathing During Pregnancy

How to do:

  • Sit comfortably with a proper back support [4].
  • Keep your eyes closed and relax your entire body [4].
  • Breathe in through your nose, hold for a second and then breathe out slowly [4].
  • Make sure your exhale-time is double your inhale-time, for instance, if you breathe in for three seconds, breathe out for six [15]
  •  Keep your mouth closed throughout the process [4].

How does it help

  • Improves blood circulation that is also helpful for your to-be born baby [5].
  • Increases the oxygen supply to your body.
  • Helps with smooth and regular bowel movements.
  • Facilitates proper sleep by relieving stress [4].

If you have any heart problem or asthma, or even encounter feelings of breathlessness too often, consult your doctor before trying out deep breathing [5].

2. Resting pose (Savasana) for complete relaxation

Resting Pose Pregnancy

  • Use a yoga mat or rug and lie comfortably on your back. If you have crossed the first trimester, lie on your side (preferably left) with pillows in between your knees for support,  [13,14].
  • For those doing this lying on their back, place your arms on both sides with palms upwards, or on one side if you are lying sideways, where one palm would be on top of the other.
  • Close your eyes and loosen your entire body.
  • Stay like this and relax for 5 minutes.
  • Inhale and exhale normally throughout the exercise.

How does it help

  • Gives you complete relaxation by releasing your stress.
  • Helps to cope with fatigue.
  • Provides a better sleep.
  • Assists in coping with labor pain.

3. Guided imagery for bonding with the baby

Guided Imagery Pregnancy

How to do

  • Choose a calm and relaxed place either in your home or even in a park or garden where you can concentrate [4].
  • Gradually loosen yourself, take a deep breath and divert your mind to a picturesque setting like snow covered woods, a sandy beach, or a beautiful garden with sweet smelling flowers. You can take help of a photograph or magazine if you are unable to use your imaginative powers [4].
  • Try associating yourself with the scent, sound and every other intricate detail of the place.
  • Initially, you may have trouble concentrating, though practice would help you increase your attention span.

How does it help

  • Relieves tension and stress [6].
  • Controls as well as helps lowering blood pressure in women with hypertension, also proven through a study [7].
  • Gives you peace of mind, helping you to focus and relax during labor and delivery in the third trimester [8].

4. Sound meditation for concentration and connection with the baby

How to do

  • Sit calmly in a spacious room [2].
  • Take a deep breath.
  • Chant “Om” or any sound (or mantra) that may inspire you and help you concentrate, like ” I can do it,” or “I’ll live for you, my baby.”
  • Place your hand on your stomach to connect with your baby and pass your positive thoughts to him/her.

How does it help

  • Gives mental relaxation.
  • Helps reducing blood pressure.
  • Facilitates in a better sleep.

5. Progressive muscle relaxation for a sound sleep

How to do

  • Lie on the bed or floor (preferably on a mat or carpet), either on your back ( first trimester) or on your side (later trimesters)
  • Begin by tensing and relaxing the muscles of the right and left part of your body.
  • Concentrate on a group of muscles at a time, starting with your hands, then moving to your forearm, upper arm, face, jaw, shoulders, back, thigh and finally feet [10].

How does it help

  • Promotes a sound sleep.
  • Reduces stress and fatigue, throughout pregnancy as well as during labor [11,12].
  • Lessens the intensity of lower back pain [11].

Tips to remember while meditating in pregnancy

  • If you are a novice in practicing these techniques, seek the help of an instructor.
  • Exercises like deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation should not be done within four hours after a heavy meal or at least two hours post-supper.
  • Opt for a clean, spacious and airy room, or you may even meditate in a park or garden during summer.
  • Play soft music or make the room aromatic by sprinkling lavender or other essential oils, especially while doing the guided imagery or resting pose meditation.
  • For exercises where you need to lie down, support your head with a blanket or pillow [13,14].
  • If you are troubled with insomnia, doing the resting pose or sound meditation before bedtime may help.

Pregnant ladies should continue meditating even post-childbirth to maintain a positive state of mind, that would help them to cope with postpartum depression as well as perform their motherly duties with ease.

References

  1. http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/mood-swings-during-pregnancy/
  2. https://www.babycenter.in/a1028408/meditation-in-pregnancy
  3. https://www.doyouyoga.com/10-ways-meditation-helps-your-unborn-child/
  4. https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy-and-meditation.aspx
  5. https://www.babycentre.co.uk/a1033253/yoga-breathing-in-pregnancy#section4
  6. https://www.beaumont.org/treatments/guided-imagery
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21083721
  8. http://www.exploremeditation.com/meditation-manage-pain-labor/
  9. http://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/meditation-benefits#1
  10. https://www.babycenter.com/0_relaxation-techniques-for-better-pregnancy-sleep_10332040.bc?showAll=true
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4700682/
  12. http://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/relaxation-techniques/
  13. http://www.babymed.com/prenatal-yoga/prenatal-yoga-final-resting-pose-savasana
  14. https://www.babycenter.in/a1026301/practising-yoga-nidra-during-pregnancy
  15. http://www.fisher-price.com/en_CA/playtime/parenting/articlesandadvice/articledetail.html?article=tcm:219-21041-16
Editorial Team
 

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