There is a new approach in preparing for childbirth that is on the “cutting edge” of childbirth education. It is slowly seeping into mainstream. It’s called Mindful Meditation and it’s powerful. Not only for pregnancy and labor, but for parenting, as well. It has the ability to enhance the quality and memories of birth experiences for women, heal difficult ones, and cultivate positive relationships with others and with self throughout one’s life.
Medical science has proven that meditation changes brain activity, reduces depression, and pain. Numerous studies have demonstrated that people with chronic illnesses and pain have improved their quality of life, decreased pain and depression and other health related issues by using Mindful Meditation on a regular basis. It has become one of the fist prescribed treatments before medication, by many physicians to treat chronic or clinical depression.
Complementary Medicine; hypnosis, biofeedback, Reiki, meditation, massage, touch therapy, Yoga, accupuncture, and other modalities have been incorporated into hospital and physician patient care to reduce stress in their lives and promote healing and well-being. Stress today is one of the leading causes of many illnesses. It can be managed by lifestyle changes and implementing a relaxation program on a daily basis.
For years now complementary medicine has been an accepted treatment for patients. It is also recognized in “mainstream” living as a way of enhancing health, wellness, relationships, as well as slowing the aging process, and prolonging life.
Practicing Mindful Meditation has shown to:
- strengthen the immune system
- reduce illness
- better memory
- decrease pain
- change the brain and over time can create new “traits”
- better reaction and responding time
- decrease depression
- improve quality of life
- increase happiness
- more engaged in life
- positive moods
- increase creativity
- decrease anxiety
- reduce stress
- balance thinking
- aware of the present moment Vs an autopilot life
- increase attention to one’s life
So how can Mindful Meditation be used in childbirth education and what are the benefits?
Mindful Meditation teaches the difference between thinking on “autopilot” verses paying attention to the present in any given moment. The “autopilot” mode spirals thoughts or creates scattered thinking that can produce fears, anxieties, reality distortion, self-criticism, and stress. Learning how to recognized thinking patterns can diffuse anxious thoughts while reducing stress in the mind and body.
Reducing stress during labor has the following benefits: reduced pain perception, relaxed body and mind during the birth process which helps the physiology of labor, energy conservation, enhanced blood circulation of oxygen and other beneficial hormones, decreased blood pressure and heart rates, enhanced feelings of emotional control, strengthens immune systems of mother and baby, faster postpartum healing, increased maternal bonding, enhances breastfeeding, decreases the potential of postpartum depression, enhances sense of well-being.
With an understanding of the physiology of birth combined with Mindful Meditation, childbirth for women can become a welcome experience rather than a feared one now and in generations to come. We have the tools to shift a “fearful” mindset towards childbirth to a sacred, more loving and mindful one.