Mindful Motherhood: Using Mindfulness During Pregnancy

Mindful Motherhood: Using Mindfulness During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time of excitement, anticipation and transition. You may envision the child that you are going to have or the parent that you are going to be. You may attempt to plan and prepare. You may feel well-supported or lost and overwhelmed. Stress and perinatal mood disturbances are common and can begin any time during or after pregnancy. Pregnancy can be a time of emotional vulnerability due to the many biological and hormonal changes happening in the body.  For this reason and others, many of the women that I work with experience stress and anxiety during pregnancy and following pregnancy.  Mindfulness is a powerful coping tool that can help alleviate stress and anxiety in the general population and for mothers during pregnancy. But how does mindfulness work? What evidence is there that mindfulness can be used during pregnancy?

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Mindfulness

Mindfulness

Mindfulness has shown a lot of promise in reducing stress and improving overall mood. Therapies that connect the mind and body allow an individual to be more cognizant of present experiences, such as bodily sensations, thoughts and feelings. The practice of mindfulness focuses on increasing a person’s awareness of the present moment in a manner that is free from judgment, self-evaluation and distraction. But how exactly does mindfulness work? How can someone use it inside and outside of therapy?

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Incorporating Calm

Incorporating Calm

When you are stressed, your body goes into what is called a “fight or flight” response to prepare to confront or avoid danger.  Even day-to-day events can provoke a stress response, and can cause health problems, suppressed immune system, anxiety and depression.  Yet not all stress is bad.  When appropriately invoked, stress can help you rise to many challenges.  There are a number of steps you can take to incorporate calm and live a less stressed lifestyle.  Research shows, for example, that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can help to decrease depression, reduce anxiety and improve overall mood. 

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