Mindfulness during pregnancy and beyond

Practicing mindfulness is a lifelong journey. Although the concept of mindfulness is simple –be present, here and now, with no distractions, no judgements and a curious enquiring mind– it takes lots of practice. No two pregnancies are alike, as no two children are the same, and although the research on mindfulness is still young (no pun intended), studies have begun to reveal positive results. Mindfulness can prepare you for the unexpected eventualities of life as it is not specific to a particular situation, but rather a vehicle to understand why a specific situation triggers you and helps you to actively accept current situations.

Cultivating the moment-to-moment awareness of your surroundings and thoughts can greatly decrease anxiety and stress. A study done in 2014 looked into the benefits of a mindfulness class at UCLA. Forty-seven pregnant women who were in their first or second trimester participated. These women had high stress and anxiety levels before entering the class, and after six weeks of practice they learned to manage negative emotions, pain and even tricky social situations. These women’s anxiety decreased far more than those in the control group who only took a single class and read a reassuring book on pregnancy.

Mindfulness can give you the tools to manage difficult emotions such as fear of pain during childbirth or fear of taking care of your baby after birth. You can practice self-awareness even without meditating. All you need to do is notice how your thoughts affect your mood and body throughout the day. You’ll then be able to be fully present for happy moments and breathe through tough situations. Keep this in mind every day, remember to anchor yourself to the present moment as much as you can; your baby will surely benefit from it too, you’ll see.

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