How to Practice A Mindful Pregnancy?
Pregnancy is an exhilarating time in any woman’s life but equally stressful leading to depression and anxiety. So, as the popular belief it is not glowing radiant skin for 40 weeks, but many shades in between before you meet your bundle of joy. According to the Centre for Disease Control, depression during pregnancy and postpartum depression affect around 20% of women in the country. Depression is the most common mood disorder and happens twice as often among women than in men, while the risk begins from the peak of a woman’s reproductive years.
However, researchers have suggested that practicing mindfulness during pregnancy can lead to a reduction in stress and anxiety. As mentioned by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “Pregnancy is a key time to be caring for the mothers’ mind and mental attitude. One way in which this can be supported is through mindfulness, known to promote emotional positivity and stability. Mindfulness-based interventions exhibit promise in addressing several adverse outcomes, such as antenatal depression and anxiety, providing pregnant women with empowerment and satisfaction with labor”.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can amount to various changes in the body along with increasing body weight and lower energy levels. These changes can easily slump your mood making it uneasy and stressful. To be upbeat and alleviate your mood, you can focus on acceptance of your current situation. For instance, if nausea is keeping you low, you can work towards easing your upset stomach by altering food or going for a walk post every meal.
Include mild exercises and stretches in your routine after consulting with your doctor. Physical activity will help reduce pains and aches in your body while keeping you healthy and fit. Hydrating yourself well will help decrease Braxton-Hicks contractions. Focus all your energies towards helping your body nurse the baby in the womb. Maintaining a positive approach towards the body instead of stressing and being anxious.
According to What To Expect, “Meditation can help reduce the stress that often accompanies big life changes like pregnancy. It can also help with pregnancy symptoms, including mood changes, fatigue and sleep disturbances. Studies have found that meditation and other mindfulness-based exercises during pregnancy may reduce anxiety, depression and perceived stress, though more research needs to be done.”
Practice mindfulness meditation which allows you to focus on the emotional and physical sensations felt by you in the present without categorizing or judging the feeling. Deep breathing is another technique widely used to reduce your heart rate and help you relax or fall asleep. Rhythmic and deep breathing through your nose, with your mouth closed and filling your lungs with enough air, can soothe your muscles like a good massage.
Pregnancy is a great time to slow down for the betterment of your baby and your health. Take a break and utilize it for self-care and de-stressing from the pace of life. Indulge in afternoon naps, cook less and store more, go for a walk or simply enjoy the sunset. Block your routine with ample self-time to reduce stressing overwork and other commitments. Alter your household chores in a way that you don’t end up cooking and cleaning all the time. Pacing down will eliminate stress and anxiety leading to a lower risk of depression. Babies can sense the mother’s emotional stress so maintaining a good state of mind is crucial.
Childbirth or miscarriage can be one the biggest fears for any mother-to-be making it difficult for her to enjoy motherhood. However, obsessing over the unknown can only lead to unwarranted anxiety and stress. Instead of practicing gratitude by thanking every moment that has been so kind to you and your baby. And as the pregnancy progresses into the second or the third trimester, you will start recognizing how your body is dealing with these changes and will be less anxious about pains or aches. Talk to your friends or family about the happiness this pregnancy has brought into your life. By thinking positively and feeling grateful about your baby will help you stop counting the nine long months you have to endure before you see your baby.
Practicing mindfulness involves understanding your emotional state. Have a non-judgmental approach towards identifying these key emotional issues and deal with it realistically. Understand your needs and work towards accomplishing it. Knowing your emotional state will help you manage your mental state and will help you concentrate on the bigger picture than the one you are currently facing. And most importantly practice compassion towards yourself and the baby to embark on the journey of parenting on a positive note. Live in the moment and enjoy what it has to offer than feeling miserable for what is yet to come or may not come.
Author Bio: Roselin Raj is a journalist and a writer. She has been writing extensively on health and wellness related topics for a little over a decade now. Besides her professional interests, she loves a game of basketball or a good hike in her free time to fuel her spirits. “Health is wealth” is one motto of life which she lives by as well as advocates to every reader who comes across her blogs.