03 Dec The Benefits of Meditation During Pregnancy
With the host of goods, there are also some things which cause trouble during pregnancy. A lot of those problems can be tackled through prenatal mindfulness!
Pregnancy is one of the most amazing experiences a human being can undergo. According to the world famous pop star Beyoncé, “ It is the most powerful creation to have life growing inside you, there is no bigger gift. ” There’s no debate on the great sensations that pregnancy can bring to one’s life. However, there are also some things which cause trouble during pregnancy. A lot of those problems can be tackled through mindfulness meditation.
Let’s find out how mindfulness meditation makes your pregnancy feel even more blissful:
1. It relieves stress
From watching your body undergo changes to preparing the house for an infant, it can seem that stress during pregnancy is unavoidable. This is bad news because stress increases the chances of a miscarriage and a premature delivery. Expecting mothers may face stress due to their mood swings and thoughts so it’s very important to meditate to calm down the mind, or else the baby develops a higher chance less than healthy weight at birth and can show reduced cognitive and emotional development.
A lot of research has shown us that meditation is the answer to dealing with stress. When a mother does it for 20 minutes, the benefits can go a long way, during and after pregnancy.
2. A good night’s rest
Our minds tend to overthink when it comes to bed time. We start asking ourselves tough questions or re-living memories of the past instead of sleeping. What’s the consequence, particularly if you happen to be pregnant?
It can lead to issues with the baby’s growth and development, preterm birth, higher risk of caesarean delivery or an abnormal length of labor. Poor sleep can also create Gestational Diabetes, Prenatal Depression, Preeclampsia.
Backed by the studies that show meditation as a cure to beat insomnia, give your body the treatment it deserves as you and your baby enjoy the benefits of a peaceful good night’s rest.
3. Keeps cholesterol levels and high blood pressure in check
High cholesterol levels leads to pre-term birth or an increases probability of a larger baby. Meditation has continually proved that meditating for just 20 minutes can significantly reduce high cholesterol. An increase in cholesterol levels increases the chances of complications such as Preeclampsia and a pregnancy-induced blood pressure rise. However, doing breathing exercises will help in calming down pregnant women and reduce their chances of both preeclampsia and high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is very harmful to the baby too. It can decrease blood flow to the placenta, in which case the baby will suffer from a lack of sufficient oxygen and nutrition. Other life threatening conditions such as placental abruption, preeclampsia and even chances of premature delivery arise.
In order to minimize the risk, you can turn to hypertension medication. These may or may not be completely harmless to your healthy baby inside you, but meditation can help immensely as you can have peace of mind knowing that there are no harmful side effects.
4. Helps to manage labor pain
Studies show that meditation helps to decrease the experience of labor’s notorious pain. Despite physical pain being there, the degree of agony experienced is reduces by channeling the mind.
Dr. Nomita Sonty, a psychologist who works with pain patients at Columbia University says “Who I am then starts to affect the perception of pain,” she explained. “As soon as I perceive it, I then appraise it.” The patient will then act on his or her appraisal appropriately. Who we are determines how we react when we have pain. Sonty does not use meditation specifically in her practice; instead, she uses visualization and relaxation as a means to give patients control over their pain.
In her most dramatic example of her technique’s success, a paraplegic patient came to visit her at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, DC. After being paralyzed by an accidental spinal cord injury during surgery, he suffered horrible pain in his lower back so bad he had to lay down in the car as his wife drove him to his appointment. When he arrived, Sonty put him on a bed in the room, and placed electrodes on his back to measure the electrical activity in his muscles.The higher the readings, the more activity in the muscles, meaning the more strained they were. Relaxed muscles have a baseline reading of 2 to 3 mV, she said.
Sonty told her patient to visualize an image of his pain. The man pictured his surgeon holding a knife and stabbing it into his back over and over. The electrodes displayed more than 150mV. She then told him to picture a way for that knife to be removed. He envisioned an ethereal hand—perhaps that of an angel—pulling the hand with the knife back, slowly pulling the knife out of the skin. As he pictured that, the EMG readings continued to drop. When the knife was completely out of his back, the levels on the screen were below 10mV. On the ride home, the patient was able to sit up without any pain. It was an extreme case for Sonty, but she says it showed her the power our brain can have over our body, and our pain.
The mind’s mental processes can alter sensory phenomena, including pain. This is how war wounds can go unnoticed until after battle, athletes can continue to play with debilitating injuries, or minor traumas can lead to incapacitating pain. As knowledge of the nervous system has expanded and technology allowing scientists to visualize the nervous system has advanced, the last 5 to 10 years have seen a dramatic increase in the amount of studies focusing on how meditation works.
This research indicates that pain can be tackled, no matter how acute or chronic. Whether you’re a first time mommy or a soon to be mommy(again), you can pick up a mat and sit down comfortably knowing that you’re bathing in these benefits to effectively give you a healthy and happy pregnancy.
Nehita is a mindfulness expert who writes extensively on lifestyle management, wellness and ways to lead a healthier and a happier life. She is a part of Aware’s expert team on meditation. She is also an avid artist who spends most her time dribbling amazing stories through art.