Pregnancy is a wonderful but sometimes very stressful time. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with this big transition and the to-do list you’re trying to complete before your baby arrived, developing a prenatal meditation practice could be helpful for you!
Keep reading to learn why you should meditate during pregnancy, as well as some tips on getting started!
(The contents of this post do not constitute medical advice. This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read our disclaimer.)
What is Meditation?
Meditation is focusing your mind for a set period of time. You may focus on your breathing, a mantra, a visualization, the present moment, or something else.
People have been practicing meditation for thousands of years, with the earliest written records coming from Hindu traditions in India in 1500 BCE. (1)
Some people find meditation intimidating or unapproachable. This may be due to the image of meditation we often see in popular culture: a stoic, perfectly peaceful person clearing their mind for hours at a time.
But this isn’t the expectation when it comes to meditation!
There are many styles of meditation and ways to practice it, and “clearing your mind” never has to be your goal.
Keep reading to learn about the benefits of meditation for your pregnancy plus accessible, unintimidating ways to get started.
See also: 7 Tips to Have a Mindful Pregnancy
5 Benefits of Meditating During Pregnancy
We already know that meditation is beneficial for those who aren’t pregnant. In my opinion, meditating while pregnant comes with even more benefits because of the special nature of this period.
Pregnancy is an opportunity to know yourself more deeply, connect with your body, and learn how to move through a big transition in a way that feels good for you. Meditation can support all of these goals!
Check out these research-backed benefits of meditating during pregnancy:
1. Reduced Stress and Anxiety
Even if you longed for pregnancy, it can still be a stressful time. There is so much to do in a short period of time, and you’re preparing for a big life change!
Meditation can help reduce cortisol, the stress hormone, and make it easier for you to enjoy this special time and focus on the things you need to accomplish before your baby arrives!
2. Reduced Muscle Tension
Stress can cause you to tighten up, leading to muscle tension and the pain that comes with it. I, for one, tend to tense up in my neck and shoulders, leading to painful and inconvenient tension headaches (check out my go-to massager here).
Meditating during pregnancy can help reduce your stress level and the muscle tension that comes with it, allowing you to relax and literally loosen up!
3. Improved Sleep
The stress hormone cortisol also messes with your sleep – both the quality and quantity that you get!
Pregnancy is the time when you most need quality sleep because of the incredible feats your body is accomplishing every day. But, according to the American Pregnancy Association, 78% of pregnant women struggle with insomnia! (5)
If you’re having a hard time falling asleep or waking up frequently during the night, meditating can help! Studies have shown that regular meditation can help you stay asleep longer and improve the severity of insomnia. (6)
4. Enhanced Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy
Meditation can help you to become more self-aware by guiding you to notice harmful thought patterns and even develop more constructive ones. This can be incredibly helpful during pregnancy when many people experience self-doubt and fears around birth or parenting. (7)
Additionally, meditating can improve your self-efficacy, which is your belief in your capacity overcome challenges and achieve certain outcomes.
One study showed that participating in a mindfulness meditation program helped women improve their self-efficacy during labor and childbirth and reduced postpartum depression symptoms. (8)
5. Decreased Blood Pressure
I’ve never had my blood pressure taken as often as I have during pregnancy, and it’s no wonder! High blood pressure during pregnancy can lead to serious issues like preeclampsia or preterm birth.
Fortunately, research has shown that meditating during pregnancy can decrease your blood pressure significantly, helping to keep it at a healthy level for both you and your baby! (9)
How to Start Meditating During Pregnancy
Find your meditation style.
There are many different styles of meditation, so if you’ve tried meditating before and it didn’t “click” for you, don’t worry! You may have just not found the right meditation style for you yet.
Start by trying some of the following meditation styles to see which one works best for you. It may take a little while to feel truly in sync with your chosen style or styles, so be patient with yourself and with the practice of meditation!
Here are some great styles of meditation to try:
- Mindfulness Meditation: Mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment and paying attention to your thoughts and surroundings without judgment. It helps you cultivate a sense of calm and awareness.
- Deep Breathing: This style of meditation involves taking slow, deep breaths and focusing on the act and sensations of breathing. As you breathe, you can count your breaths, repeat a mantra with each breath, or just focus on breathing in and out. This simple meditation style is one of the most effective ways to calm your mind and promote relaxation.
- Loving-Kindness Meditation: This style of meditation involves generating feelings of love, compassion, and kindness toward yourself and others. Loving-kindness meditation can help improve your relationships and increase your feelings of connection with yourself and others.
- Body Scan: In a body scan, you focus on different parts of your body, bringing awareness to your physical sensations and releasing any tension you’re holding. This meditation style can improve your body awareness and reduce physical discomfort.
- Walking Meditation: This meditation style involves walking slowly and intentionally while focusing on the sensation of each step. You can do a walking meditation either outdoors or indoors. During walking meditation, you direct your attention towards the present moment, your breath, and your body, as well as the physical sensations of walking.
Build meditation into your routine.
Meditation works best with consistency! While you might experience relaxing feelings right after your first meditation, you’ll really start to experience the benefits when you’re meditating regularly.
I recommend adding meditation to your routine every day to make sure you’re getting the most out of your meditation practice. You might choose to meditate at the same time every day, like right after you wake up or during your lunch break. Or you could add meditation to your daily to-do list or set an alarm on your phone so you have a concrete reminder to meditate during pregnancy.
See also: 10 Powerful Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
Try using a meditation app.
If meditation feels confusing or intimidating – or if you’re just not sure where to start – I highly recommend using a meditation app to guide you!
Mindfulness.com’s #1 meditation app has guided meditations for every situation. You can find all of the above styles (walking, deep breathing, loving-kindness, etc.), plus series on topics like anxiety, self-compassion, and happiness.
I’ve been meditating for several years, and I frequently use a meditation app. It’s especially helpful to have someone else guiding me through a meditation when I’m feeling stressed or anxious and having trouble focusing.
Find a meditation buddy.
If you’re serious about meditating during pregnancy, it can be helpful to find a buddy who can keep you accountable to your goal.
This might be your partner, a friend, or a coworker – someone who you’ll communicate with frequently and who also wants to begin a regular meditation practice.
You can check in with each other on a set schedule to see if you’re keeping your commitment to meditate and to ask how it’s going. You maybe be able to help each other work through any issues that come up or suggest guided meditations you think the other might appreciate.
Which style of meditation do you plan to try next? Tell me in the comments!