I teach women mindfulness during pregnancy to reduce so many discomforts. Many of my clients have a fear of labor. These thoughts replay in their head, “Can I handle the pain? Will I be cut open? Will the nurses honor my birth plan?”
If this sounds like you, take your power back and be more mindful.
The key to managing anxiety and discomfort of a growing body is to be present. You have the power to control your emotions by choosing how to feel in each moment.
There is stillness in between contractions. Waves ebb and flow on the sand. You can slow your heart rate by noticing what’s real. Not the story in your head about your friend’s awful birth or worries of your future. By pausing to tune into your senses, you enjoy the moment more. By taking slow deep breaths, you can reduce back pain, anxiety, and those sexy, swollen cankles.
Remember: The body follows the mind.
The study, published in the journal BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, also indicates that mindfulness may help decrease women’s symptoms of prenatal and postpartum depression.1
Bio Med Central states that “Childbirth fear is linked with lower labor pain tolerance and worse postpartum adjustment. Mindfulness approaches, now widely disseminated, can alleviate symptoms of both chronic and acute pain and improve psychological adjustment, suggesting potential benefit when applied to childbirth education.”2
During my Ph.D. studies of Mind-Body Medicine in the school of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences, I find the mind-body connection FASCINATING. The body really does take direction from your thoughts. You’re always one thought away from happiness.
How to Be More Mindful During Pregnancy
Read to your baby in your belly. Your mind is probably swirling with stories and lessons to pass down to your peanut. Spend time connecting with your womb space by placing your hands on your belly and reading a story to your child. Even though the baby isn’t born, they can hear you.
I love this info from Healthline.com! “Around week 25 or 26, babies in the womb have been shown to respond to voices and noise. Recordings taken in the uterus reveal that noises from outside of the womb are muted by about half. The most significant sound your baby hears in the womb is your voice. In the third trimester, your baby can already recognize it.”3
Turn off scary movies and limit adult language while pregnant. The baby can feel your energy if you’re scared. We’re all connected, especially the munchkin growing inside of you. Sometimes we overlook these connections. Every moment matters in the development of your child.
As they grow, they’ll let their presence be known! You’ll feel little kicks from inside your belly. It’s so precious. Sit down and connect to them in your mind. Let them know that you’re excited by their activity!
You should feel your baby’s first movements, called “quickening,” between weeks 16 and 25 of your pregnancy. If this is your first pregnancy, you may not feel your baby move until closer to 25 weeks. By the second pregnancy, some women start to feel movements as early as 13 weeks.4
It’s such an exciting feeling! Their activity is clear that they’re a healthy, growing life. Rejoice!
Eating is very pleasurable while preggo. It ranges from demanding your partner bring you home waffles with rocky road ice cream. Go with it. Food it meant to be fun!
Being mindful as you munch every morsel in your mouth helps the baby receive the nutrition it needs. Listen to the conversation on my podcast about mindful eating with Kori Kostka. I LOVE that she doesn’t label foods bad or good. She allows her kids to eat what they want. Whether it’s asparagus or cake, she rolls with it. Take the same approach as you eat while pregnant. If you demand those waffles with ice cream, savor every bite!
If you put the guilt trip on, since you ate sugar, let me tell you. The food won’t digest properly due to excess cortisol (stress hormone). Give yourself a break. Enjoy the ice cream!
Your partner may not understand your wacky cravings or mood swings. Take time to snuggle up and ask for what you need. Tell them what’s going on for you and how they can best support you.
Take soul strolls together. Design the baby’s room together. Call a friend or go scrapbooking. Whatever makes you feel connected to others is so nourishing for the soul. For you and your baby.
As your body grows, it can be hard to look in the mirror. As your hormones swing, it can be hard to remain calm. As your boss barks orders, it can be hard to concentrate at work. You’re not alone.
The Pure Nurture community welcomes you with open arms. The good, the baby, the ugly! Sometimes I have to remind myself that my power is in your breath. When you choose to be mindful with your breath, your words, and your actions, your life flows like a river.
1NYTimes.com, The Benefits of a Mindful Pregnancy, Juli Fraga, May 31, 2017.
2BCM, Benefits of preparing for childbirth with mindfulness training: a randomized controlled trial with active comparison, Larissa G. Duncan, Michael A. Cohn, Maria T. Chao, Joseph G. Cook, Jane Riccobono, and Nancy Bardacke, BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth BMC series – open, inclusive and trusted 201717:140 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-017-1319-3 © The Author(s). 2017, May 12, 2017.
3Healthline.com, When Can a Fetus Hear: Womb Development Timeline, Medically reviewed by Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, RN, CNE, COI, Written by Jessica Timmons, January 5, 2018.
4WebMD.com, Feeling Your Baby Kick.