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Pregnancy is known as the miracle of nature. However, it also includes high-risk factors such as insomnia, anxiety, depression and binge eating which can affect the health of a woman. Meditation is an effective method to meet these challenges – perhaps more effective than the pill culture that has become the norm these days. This is because meditation addresses the root of the problem, which is the treatment of the mind. Insomnia, depression and anxiety can all be looked at as symptoms of an unwell mind, and pills merely help in controlling the symptoms.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘medha’ meaning wisdom. Some of us are under the misconception that meditation is a form of prayer as we have often heard of monks meditating. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Meditation is a state of awareness where we are in complete harmony with our thoughts without any distractions. For instance, something as simple as sitting on a park bench and observing a flower without any wandering thoughts qualifies as meditation. Meditation for pregnant ladies can be used to deal with issues such as depression, stress and anxiety by removing all the negativity from the mind.
What Are The Best Benefits Of Meditation During Pregnancy?
Meditation can help control a lot of the issues that women face during pregnancy, such as:
- Improves Sleep: It is estimated that more than 75% of pregnant women deal with insomnia at some point during their pregnancy. This could be due to reasons such as anxiety, heartburn, frequent urination or hormones which prevent them from getting a good night’s rest. During pregnancy, meditation for sleep can help catch up on some well-deserved rest. A study conducted by Harvard showed that people who meditated had better sleep than even those who had attended a sleep education class.
- Reduces Anxiety: Most women experience anxiety during pregnancy as there are a lot of risks involved such as preeclampsia, eclampsia and gestational diabetes. However, studies show that women with high anxiety during pregnancy are likely to give birth to children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This is because the stress hormone cortisol finds its way into the placenta and causes development issues. Anxiety can be reduced through meditation as one realises that negative feelings do not reflect your reality. As your mind begins to focus on positive thoughts, one can feel their anxiety melt away.
- Reduces Depression: Some women go through depression after pregnancy due to a sudden change in hormonal levels in the body. This is called post-partum depression, and recovery can even take a couple of years. Countless studies have shown that individuals who meditate regularly produce serotonin which is a natural anti-depressant produced by the body.
- Improves Healthy Eating Habits: Pregnancy is a time when women eat more than usual and tend to gain weight due to increased fluids, amniotic fluid, the weight of the placenta, etc. However, some women run the risk of turning obese due to overeating which can cause complications such as sleep apnea, preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. One can use meditation to be aware of what they are eating and prevent harmful habits like overeating and resorting to comfort food.
- Reduces physical stress in the body: As a woman’s body changes, she goes through immense stress due to issues such as backache, morning sickness and cramps. Studies conducted have shown that meditation can reduce pain by as much as fifty-seven percent. The human brain experiences two types of pain, primary and secondary. Primary pain is the body’s reaction to the pain. Secondary pain, on the other hand, is the brain’s reaction to the pain. Meditation keeps a check on the secondary pain by ensuring we focus only the bodily pain. This awareness of the bodily pain prevents our mind from drifting off to painful episodes of the same experience which amplifies the current pain.
- Helps you manage the labour process: During the onset of labour, all women inevitably feel pain. Meditation can be used as a form of pain management as it helps to instil a sense of peace and calm during delivery.
How You Should Do Meditation While Pregnant
Before diving into the meditation process, the first thing that one needs to find is a quiet spot where one can meditate in peace. Ideally, one can choose a quiet spot in the house away from all forms of distraction. If there are no quiet areas, one can go to a nearby park that doesn’t have many visitors. The second step is finding a posture that you are comfortable with. While some may be comfortable sitting cross-legged, sitting upright on a chair is just as effective. While sitting on a chair, one must make sure that their spine is not arched, and the tailbone is near the back of the chair. Lastly, one can choose the type of meditation form that they wish to use to strengthen their mind. These include:
- Awareness meditation: This form of meditation can be used as a mental exercise to feel a stronger bond with your baby. It starts out with taking deep breaths and being aware of the breathing alone. This includes inhalation, exhalation, the pace and the sound of your breath. Once you have done this for a couple of minutes, you can gradually use one of your hands to cup your baby bump where you can feel your baby growing. At this point in time, you can slowly transition your thoughts from your breath and towards your baby. One needs to transition from thinking to feeling so that they can feel that they are in complete unity with their unborn child.
- Concept meditation: This type of pregnancy meditation has a process which is the same as awareness meditation except that it uses the power of visualisation. While breathing, one needs to start visualizing objects or people such as a waterfall, a leaf blowing in the wind, or even a deity. The images should be a symbol of the emotion that one wishes to inculcate in them. For example, a mighty waterfall could be visualised to instil a sense of strength. For others, a leaf blowing freely in the wind can signify freedom from stress and anxiety.
- Walking meditation: Walking has been known to help induce labour as it activates contractions. The physical activity of walking becomes a bridge between meditation and pregnancy. This is because walking meditation does the twin job of preparing the mind as well as the body for labour. Walking meditation means that one must consciously be aware of the process of walking. These include being aware of actions that we take for granted such as foot placement or the swinging of the arms.
Best Meditation Techniques for Pregnant Women
You can use any of the above during pregnancy. The best meditation techniques You can pick a technique that seems to work best for you or even join a meditation class or group.
Meditation helps to minimise pregnancy stress as it seldom allows the mind to wander into a sense of hopelessness. This is done by allowing the mind to only focus on the reality and not let imagined fears take control of the mind. Practise meditation during pregnancy to have a smoother and happier experience.