A few weeks ago I started a prenatal / pregnancy meditation yoga class in the hope that I would be able to alleviate some of my pregnancy anxiety. Since having my first baby Bear, I have suffered with postnatal depression and anxiety. I did see a counsellor for a couple of months, together we worked through the block that my mind had put up and thankfully now I am back to my usual happy, go – lucky self. However, I wanted to do whatever I could to prevent having to go through that ordeal again and in that quest to peacefulness I found meditation.
The benefits of meditation are often disputed, however some believe that meditation can help relieve stress, reduce anxiety, give you a stronger sense of self and increase your overall wellbeing.
I have found meditation very beneficial as it has given me a way of reconnecting with myself. I have found that when I meditate my tolerance levels are a lot higher, which is especially useful when dealing with a naughty Dalmatian puppy and an inquisitive toddler. I have also found that I sleep better and feel better rested if I meditate before bed, which has been great during periods of sleep deprivation when Bear has been teething. However the best thing I have found about doing regular meditation is that I am generally a happier and more contented person, which doesn’t only benefit me, but also the people around me.
When I came across prenatal meditation class, I was extremely quick to sign up even if it meant a bit of journey from where I live. The class runs for an hour and in that time covers basic breathing exercises, gentle stretching and half an hour of meditation.
It is suggested that the basic breathing techniques help improve your lung capacity, something that any pregnant woman would find beneficial Having a baby growing inside of you does make things a little cramped and breathing can become a bit of a struggle until the last few weeks.
The gentle stretches are said to help alleviate stresses as we carry a lot of tension in our muscles. At the very least, the stretches help to loosen the body and helps to prepare it for the meditation exercise.
Finally the meditation part of the class. We all find a comfortable position – whether that be sitting up or laying down on your side – while the teacher takes you through a visualisation journey. She often says before this section of the class that if we feel our mind wandering to allow it to do so and not to get caught up in what you are supposed to be visualising, which is just as well as I have created a place where I tend to end up during meditation.
Meditation during pregnancy is said to have monumental benefits. Women who meditate during pregnancy are likely to have higher levels of endorphins during labour, which can have powerful pain – relieving effects. Research has shown that among pregnant mediators the rate of cesarean section surgery went down by 56% and the use of epidural anaesthesia went down by 85% **.
Meditation also increases melatonin, which is well known to not only boost the immune system and overall health, but also has a calming effect, which increases mood, contentment and wellbeing. It is suggested that increasing the melatonin during pregnancy, through meditation can help the baby to grow calmer and happier **.
Meditation in pregnancy is also said to help women feel more connected with their body and in turn helps them to bond and connect with their baby **. During my pregnancy with Bear, I would talk to him quite often and sometimes even sing to him, but in a household with a toddler and a puppy, that just isn’t possible and so I have found that by setting aside one hour a week and attending a prenatal meditation yoga class, I have given myself and my unborn baby the time to connect and bond even though day to day life is so busy.
** Information provided by Rehana, Founder of Bliss Out Mummy