What is a Mindful Pregnancy and How Can I Have One?
Now more than ever, expecting mums may be feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Compounding this is that some birth plans may need to change due to coronavirus. Navigating and adapting to a rapidly changing situation while trying to maintain a relaxed and mindful pregnancy can feel daunting. All expectant mums should know that no matter what, your midwife will be there for you. Nothing will affect your midwife and birth team’s skills, experience and dedication to looking after you and your baby. You will be well cared for, fully supported and safe.
During pregnancy, it is particularly important that you try to do as much as you can to prepare your mind for birth. Take this enforced down time as an opportunity to really focus on yourself and your bond with your baby. The biabreathe section on the Biamother app has a host of meditations. These are so helpful to block out outside stressors and allow you to go within. I listen to the ‘A Pregnant Pause’ every morning after eating my breakfast. I really look forward to those 4 minutes that are just for me. During the day, when I’m doing house work or working I have ‘Affirmations for a Positive Pregnancy’ on in the background.
When we remain in a heightened state of awareness, our bodies are surviving rather than thriving. Restoration and down time help the body to perform at its best. The little things we can do daily make a big difference to our overall mental health. If you suddenly feel anxious, drop your shoulders and take a few slow deep breaths. Make the out breath longer than the in breath. Pay attention to what’s going on in your body, your breath and your mind. I know this may sound hippy dippy! But being in tune with your body can lead to a more positive birth experience.
It is tough not being able to attend antenatal classes as planned, especially if this is your first baby. I totally get it! But there is still a lot that you can do to stay informed. This in turn leads to a more positive mind set. Using trusted resources like the Biamother app increases confidence. You’ll find qualified professionals with years of experience offering a wide range of support. Feeling supported and informed is key to helping reduce the fear of the unknown and stress. I’m so lucky to have the knowledge and understanding that I do surrounding pregnancy, birth and motherhood. And I think this, alongside practising daily breathing and relaxation, is one of the reasons I feel calm and in control.
Self-isolation is an additional worry. You may be concerned that you won’t have the support you originally planned for in your first weeks after birth. Fear not. I have always recommended that women stay at home with their baby and their partner for at least the first two weeks after birth anyway. Limiting visitors is a good idea because you need time to recover, sleep, ignore house-work and avoid being the host.
During quarantine, it doesn’t matter if you don’t make it out of your dressing gown, have greasy hair or dirty dishes. Newborns don’t like being passed from person to person in those early weeks either. It can be unsettling and over stimulating for them. Instead, they need to get used to life outside the womb, their new environment and to be close to the voices, people and smells they recognise.
Take this extra time at home together as time to settle in with your new family.
We are so lucky to be living in this digital age, with so many opportunities to connect from afar. Whether that’s Whatsapp, Mush Mums, Mums Anywhere, Facetime, Zoom or House Party there are still so many ways you can keep in contact and get support. And it can be your terms, when you feel like, and still in your PJ’s!
This is a difficult time for us all, but always remember that you have grown a beautiful baby from just two cells in only 10 months. You are a miracle and your body is phenomenal. It knows what it is doing regardless of whether we are currently coping with a pandemic. Your body has inbuilt intelligence that has been evolving over millions of years. Covid 19 doesn’t have the power to take that away.