Pregnancy and postpartum can be a wild ride filled with all sorts of emotions. But did you know that embracing mindfulness can be a game-changer during this transformative time? In this blog post, I’m diving into the amazing benefits of mindfulness during pregnancy and postpartum, and how it can positively impact your physical and emotional well-being.
What is mindfulness and why is it important?
Mindfulness is the practice of bringing your attention to the present moment, without judgment, and with full awareness. It means being fully engaged in the here and now, acknowledging your thoughts and sensations without attachment or resistance. Practicing mindfulness regularly allows you to tune in on a deeper level with yourself, your baby, and the experience of pregnancy and motherhood.
The science behind mindfulness
There are thousands of articles nowadays that prove how effective mindfulness and meditation can be to release stress, anxiety and tension, enhance attention, improve emotion regulation and even treat clinical disorders. You can have a look at some of the studies in the sources section below.
Key benefits of mindfulness in pregnancy and postpartum
It reduces stress and anxiety
Let's be real – pregnancy and postpartum can bring on some serious stress and anxiety. But here's where mindfulness swoops in to save the day. Mindfulness offers a powerful antidote by helping you manage stress, reduce anxiety, and find inner calm. By being present and non-judgmental, you can observe your thoughts and emotions without getting caught up in them, allowing you to respond to challenges with greater clarity and equanimity.
It can help you cope with the hormonal changes
The hormonal changes and sleep deprivation that often accompany the postpartum period can lead to mood fluctuations and emotional challenges. By observing your thoughts and emotions with kindness and compassion, you can build resilience, acceptance, and a sense of emotional well-being. So when those mood swings hit, you'll be ready to ride the waves.
Motherhood often means you become a pro at caring for others, but it's essential to prioritize yourself, the things that make you relax and feel good as well. Mindfulness offers a space to reflect, nourish your body and mind and to show yourself the same kindness and compassion you offer to your baby and others. You deserve it, and it'll make a world of difference in your pregnancy and postpartum journey.
It helps you with sleep deprivation
Most women start having trouble sleeping during the last weeks of pregnancy. Some begin with it when the baby arrives. The hard truth is that sleep deprivation can persist for years after baby comes. On average, new parents lose 109 minutes of sleep every night for the first year. Being able to get one four hours of uninterrupted sleep in the first 6 to 18 months postpartum becomes a rarity. I can sadly attest to this from my own experience and that of my friends. However, by practicing mindfulness and meditation, you can reset and re-energize. Even if you doze off during your mindfulness meditation, it's okay because you still reap the benefits of much-needed rest!
Integrating mindfulness into your daily life
Incorporating mindfulness into your daily life doesn't have to be complicated. It's all about the little things. You can start by taking a few deep breaths in between your day, doing a quick body scan before you fall asleep at night, or savoring each bite during a meal. And if you want some extra guidance, you can also join a prenatal or postnatal yoga or mindfulness class, seek guidance from experienced practitioners, or check out mindfulness apps. I use all of the above and it helps me so much in all areas of my life. It also helped me treat the postpartum depression I had when my son was 9 months old.
My favorite mindfulness apps: Insight Timer
In a nutshell, embracing mindfulness during pregnancy and postpartum is a total game-changer. It's your secret weapon to navigate the ups and downs of motherhood with grace, presence, and self-compassion. Start weaving mindfulness into your life today and experience the magic it brings to your pregnancy and postpartum experience. Just remember that mindfulness, like motherhood, is a journey, not a destination.
Remember, mama, every pregnancy and postpartum experience is unique. Trust yourself, give mindfulness a try, and get ready for a more present and fulfilling adventure into motherhood.
Want to give mindfulness a try? My free prenatal and postpartum yoga foundational toolkit includes 2 audio relaxations and a gentle yoga practice to get you breathing deeply and letting go of any stress or tension.
Vieten C, Astin J (2008) Effects of a mindfulness-based intervention during pregnancy on post-natal stress and mood: results of a pilot study. Arch Womens Ment Health 11:67–74
William M, Teasdale J, Segal Z, Kabat-Zinn J (2007) The mindful way through depression: freeing yourself from chronic unhappiness. Guilford, New York
Dunn, C., Hanieh, E., Roberts, R. et al.Mindful pregnancy and childbirth: effects of a mindfulness-based intervention on women’s psychological distress and well-being in the perinatal period. Arch Womens Ment Health 15, 139–143 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00737-012-0264-4
Van der Riet p, Francis L, Rees A (2019) Exploring the impacts of mindfulness and yoga upon childbirth outcomes and maternal health: an integrative review. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences 2020 34; 552– 565 https://doi.org/10.1111/scs.12762