Researchers have studied mindfulness practices extensively, and continue to investigate the benefits. What we know is that mindfulness practices have positive benefits for your mind/mental health, body, emotions, and physical health. It's important that you look after yourself and baby. Mindfulness practices during pregnancy have several benefits:
- Better manage chronic pain, depression, and anxiety
- Reduce fears about childbirth
- Reduce fears surrounding your pregnancy and parenting
- Increase confidence for birth and parenting
- Reduce the perception of pain in birth
Here are 5 really easy practices to help you get started!
Try spending five minutes (set a timer with a soothing alarm sound) sitting in a chair or on the floor with your eyes closed and focus only on your breath. Follow your in-breath and out-breath. You can even say in your head "in" and "out" along with your breath.
Do this as many times as you need without judging yourself for getting off course (it's normal). You can also try a guided meditation using an app such as Calm or Insight Timer to help you get started.
Learn how to breathe -- sounds ridiculous, right? Well, this is different. Mindfulness asks you to pay attention to your breath. Try it now – spend the next 10 breaths paying attention to your breath, following it in and out with your mind. You can deepen it or slow it down if you like, but you don't have to. Closing your eyes if you're comfortable doing so can help you shut off outside distractions and better focus.
Pausing to pay attention to your breath at different points throughout the day can help you feel more calm, focused, and refreshed.
Can you remember a time where you just looked around you (or within you) and just noticed? Not thinking, asking, judging, contemplating -- just noticing the details of what you see or what you feel. Whether you look at what's happening outside your window, spend time noticing how your body feels from head to toe, or just take in your immediate surroundings, bit by bit without too many thoughts or judgement, this act of mindfulness can help you feel more present, bring you clarity, and increase feelings of calm.
Start a daily journal practice. It can even be as simple as jotting down 2-3 daily bullet points on a topic you choose, like what you're feeling, what you're thankful for, or things you want to remember about your day. Often, the more often you write, the more you end up writing -- and even enjoying the process!
In the current climate, you won't be able to go to a class but that doesn't need to stop you reaping the benefits of yoga practice. Yoga combines benefits of mindfulness with movements that can alleviate common pregnancy discomforts and strengthen your body for birth. Be sure to look for yoga poses that are safe for pregnancy, and consult with your OB or midwife in case you have any complications that would make yoga unsafe for your pregnancy.
We know that this can be a very worrying time even during normal circumstances but we hope that we've helped you introduce some mindfulness into your daily routine.