Use Meditation To Calm Your Mood SwingsKatlyn Joy |18, April 2013
It's one of those neat "perks" of pregnancy; mood swings so intense you feel like you have emotional whiplash. You can't take medications to calm yourself or even have a glass of wine so what is a safe and effective way to deal with these roller coaster feelings and moods?
For many women, yoga and meditation is the answer. Anyone can learn simple yoga breathing techniques and there is no downside such as side effects. In fact, according to a study out of India that involved over 300 pregnant women, practicing yoga while expecting leads to higher birth weights and a decrease in preterm labor. Another 2008 study from San Jose State University had similar conclusions, that yoga and other mind-body practices alongside conventional prenatal care will result in better outcomes for mother and child including higher birth weights, shorter labors, fewer complications and interventions in labor as well as a perception of lower stress and anxiety.
Yoga, meditation or related practices can also increase good feeling chemicals in the body, or endorphins, while lowering stress levels. Stress felt by a pregnant woman causes her blood pressure to rise and her heart rate to increase while her oxygen levels drops. This stress in turn affects her unborn child physically.
If a pregnant woman engages in yoga/meditation practices, she can keep her breathing steady and her heart beating at relaxed healthy rate. This will help prevent pre-eclampsia which is a serious complication of pregnancy that can threaten baby and mother's life if left untreated. She will have increased levels of DHEA which boost her immune system and helps prevent maternal depression. Another benefit is an increase in melatonin which lifts your mood and helps with sleep regulation.
It's also important to remember that the advantages of practicing yoga extend beyond your yoga sessions and last thorough the day, keeping your blood pressure regulated and your heart rate in check.
How to Start Yoga While Pregnant
Find a good time of day where you can block out interruptions and give yourself a stretch of around 20 minutes. Also find a good space for your meditation and yoga practice. You can sit in a comfy chair or sit on the floor supported by cushions or pillows.
Set a timer for your session. Maybe you want to start with only ten minute sessions until it becomes more regular and natural to you, extending a bit each time until you work up to 20 minutes.
Lots of women like to start the day with meditation or yoga breathing, but maybe you need to wait until a bit after breakfast or when your morning sickness subsides. You don't want to be too sleepy or else you'll find yourself slumped over when the timer goes off. Falling asleep during your sessions is not helpful, however, it may happen at the end of sessions.
If mornings are too hectic or drowsy, then find another time perhaps during a warm shower or bath or before getting into bed.
There is not a right or wrong method to doing this. Sit comfortably and place your hands on your belly, making sure you are sitting with your spine straight and your shoulders up but relaxed.
Once you have gotten into a nicely aligned and relaxed and supported position, become aware of your breathing. Know that as your pregnancy progresses, breathless is common as your diaphragm, like so many other parts of your body, is getting crowded by the growing baby. That's okay, just take a moment to pay attention to your breaths.
Now try to do some equalized inhalations and exhalations. Breathe in for four slow counts, then exhale for four slow counts. Continue doing this while becoming focused on the sound of your breaths, the feel of your heart beat and possibly the rolling or bumping of your baby in your womb.
Once you have gotten into the practice of mindful breathing, you can expand your practice. Play soothing music in the background, light an aromatic candle, or involve a simple chant in your exhalations. You can make it as simple as "Peace, love and joy," or chanting, "I love you," to your unborn child. Maybe you have a favorite verse, prayer or poem that you want to meditate on while doing your relaxed breathing.
It's important to remember that these practices will help you alleviate stress and combat crazy mood swings, but this practice will also help you to prepare for labor. You may find that your ability to unwind and let go while breathing deeply and slowly will help you through the tough contractions. Later you may use these again after sleepless nights, or bouts of colic to keep your mind focused and your moods in balance.
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