Mindfulness: preparing for childbirth

Mindfulness meditation during pregnancy is a great tool to prepare the body and mind for childbirth and beyond. Mindfulness is the awareness that comes from paying attention to the present moment without judgement. It is a skill that allows you to be aware of your surroundings, thoughts, feelings and body sensations in the exact moment that they are occurring.

Learning to be present is a skill that takes practice, but if you take it day by day, you’ll learn to accept the here and now just as it is. You’ll learn to enjoy the moment-to-moments of pregnancy and childbirth, and handle the challenges of being a parent with greater ease. Babies and children live in the present, so strengthening your mindfulness muscle will allow you to become better attuned.

To train the mind to become mindful it is important to cultivate a steady and deep breathing technique. When we take a moment to concentrate on our breathing we are able to ground ourselves, focus and ultimately relax. By gently noticing every inhalation and exhalation we begin to feel how the air enters and leaves the body. This allows us to practice being in the present moment. Take some time to try this today. Sit in a comfortable chair and get comfy. Take as long as you wish, you might want to begin with a short 5-minute meditation and increase the time as you get more practice. Begin to breathe in and out slowly and concentrate on how fresh air enters your body and warm breath leaves your body. Try not to let your mind wander but if you catch yourself thinking don’t worry, simply become aware of the thought without judging and bring your attention back to breathing.

It is very important to remember that there is no good or bad meditation. Thoughts are a natural part of ourselves and very important for us too. It is our automatic reaction to these thoughts –such as judging them as good or bad or getting caught up in a cycle– that can prevent us from living the present moment. So, be kind to yourself when you notice a thought that’s not useful and gently let it go. I know this is easier said than done, but trust us, if you practice your awareness you’ll feel a greater piece of mind.

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