Pregnancy is a tough time for mothers; anxiety and prenatal depression are fairly common. However, too much anxiety can have detrimental effects such as increase in complications during labor, increase chanced of premature delivery or worse pain during labor. A study done in India* has proven the benefits of meditation during pregnancy: it improves birth weight, reduces premature births and lessens overall medical complications for newborns.
Meditation has been proved in silencing the most primitive part of our brain that is the amygdala – the fear center. Brain imaging has shown that people’s electrical activity from amygdala had shrunk in size and had gone silent only within 8 weeks of starting meditation; a proven way to decrease anxiety.
A safe way to reduce anxiety, higher meditation levels are also eminently linked to higher levels of endorphin during delivery. Usually boosted through exercise, endorphin can be created through meditation to become more worry-free and fear-free during this important time of your life. Endorphin also has a powerful pain-relieving effect which can be seen through the fact that rate of C-sections went down by 56% and use of epidural by 85% among women who were meditators during pregnancy. Additionally, meditation lowers the stress hormone Cortisol; a study done in Rutgers university shows meditators have nearly 50% reduction in their cortisol levels. Meditation has also been an effective natural way to boost serotonin in your brain, the neurotransmitter that is responsible for mood balance. Finally, meditation increases dopamine as well, a neurotransmitter which fires up feelings of pleasure.
With 15% of women experiencing postpartum depression, though it isn’t a cure, meditation has been an effective alternative to antidepressants. A recent study done displayed that only 18% of women who practiced mindfulness techniques experienced prenatal or postpartum depression whereas 50% of women treated with psychotherapy or anti-depressants did. Though this study doesn’t incorporate online treatment programs, here are ways to practice meditation online for those who don’t have access:
More information about benefits of meditation can be found in the following link: