How to Mentally Prepare for Labor
If your pregnancy has come to its final month, there is a good chance that you’re thinking about childbirth.
Among many other things at this point of your journey, going through labor and giving birth might be stressing you out.
You may think about your health, or worse, the pain that you will have to endure when your little angel finally comes out into the world.
However, before you fret about these things, know that there are ways to reduce stress during this very important part of your life.
Each woman has a set of preferences and behaviors that cause them to experience pain and labor in different ways. All are armed with different coping mechanisms and different sources of support.
Whichever way, coming to the labor room prepared will be very beneficial to you, your spouse, and your child. If you are in the right mindset, you will experience less anxiety during the whole experience.
Learn what you can about the later stages of pregnancy and do your research on how to make childbirth more bearable for you.
How Relaxation Helps Labor
There are several ways you can reduce pain during labor. A midwife will be available to walk you through the whole process, but coming armed with knowledge will do you a lot of good.
Staying relaxed when in labor has proved to be advantageous over the years. If your body is in a calm state, it will more likely behave in its natural, functional state. Your hormones will work as they should, and your natural coping reactions will surface.
It is natural for you to feel scared or tense if you do not know what to expect. Resistance will also be the probable response of your body when you are anxious.
This will make your labor process much more complicated and painful than it should be.
Practicing Mindfulness During Pregnancy
One way to stay relaxed during labor is by practicing mindfulness. Preparing your mental wellness for labor through mindfulness activities has proved to be very helpful.
Breathing exercises are also incorporated during the practice so you can learn to deal with the contractions. This will keep your muscles relaxed.
Studies have shown that mindfulness training made to specifically address the stress, anxiety, and pain brought about by childbirth paves the way for the better mental health of pregnant moms.
Through this intervention, they can avoid postpartum depression and have better childbirth experiences.
Findings also showed that moms who practice mindfulness tend to use less pain medication during labor. Moreover, even fathers seem to benefit from these childbirth-related experiences.
Having them join the practice can be advantageous to the moms since they will be the main source of support during labor and birth.
Here are the benefits of mindfulness during pregnancy.
1. It lifts your spirits.
It is not a secret that pregnant moms may get moody at times. However, practicing mindfulness will help you get ahold of your emotions more.
Through the meditation techniques, you will be more in control of yourself, rather than a slave to your hormones.
Positive feelings towards labor were observed as a trend in several studies. Moms who prepared through mindfulness training say they were more determined and excited about giving birth. They also showed signs of better self-esteem.
They are taught to be in the moment, so they are generally more grateful, hopeful, and jolly. These feelings led to happier days.
2. Lower stress levels
Many pregnant women think about so many things, like their baby’s health and future, the pain of childbirth, and even how they will do after giving birth.
These are stressful thoughts. Allowing these ideas to overpower you will lead to an anxious mom.
Studies have shown that mindfulness practice helps moms process these thoughts and breathe through their worries.
Reports say their moods are always lifted and that they handle stress better. Since they are taught to go through their thoughts more healthily, they are less likely to lash out or act on their emotions alone.
3. It may aid in the baby’s development
Research on mindfulness in pregnant women does not stop at childbirth. How babies do when they are born into the world is also looked into. Ultimately, babies of moms who practiced mindfulness during their pregnancies incur fewer developmental problems.
Even their self-regulation and attention seem to be at their best during the early stages of life. The less anxious the mom is, the less nervous the child also is.
Studies have also shown that babies whose moms had mindfulness training had a more efficient use of attentional resources in their brain activity.
This shows good cognitive development and can be very beneficial as the child goes through different developmental milestones.
4. It lessens the probability of a premature birth
Premature birthing is one of the many worries of a pregnant woman. It has been observed that moms of premature babies have higher levels of depression, anxiety, and stress.
Moreover, there have been reports of lower premature births among women who practice mindfulness.
Since they are in a healthier state of mind, they are more likely to have a full pregnancy.
These practices are incorporated into mindfulness training. It does not do wonders for your headspace alone but also your entire body.
Duncan, L. G., Cohn, M. A., Chao, M. T., Cook, J. G., Riccobono, J., & Bardacke, N. (2017). Benefits of preparing for childbirth with mindfulness training: a randomized controlled trial with active comparison. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/
Newman, K. (2016, August 17). Four Reasons to Practice Mindfulness During Pregnancy. Greater Good. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/f
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. (n.d.). RANZCOG – Pain Relief in Labour and Childbirth. Ranzcog.edu.au. https://ranzcog.edu.au/womens-health/patient-information-resources/
Zwicker, L. (2017, May 24). Mindfulness-focused childbirth education leads to less depression, and better birth experiences. News.wisc.edu. https://news.wisc.edu/
Leezo is a registered psychologist and registered psychometician from the Philippines. In her clinical practice, she mainly uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution-Focused Brief Therapy and Expressive Arts to treat a wide range of cases including but not limited to trauma, depression, anxiety, grief and burnout. Also a professor of psychology, Leezo teaches courses such as Experimental Psychology, Psychology of Learning and Psychological Assessment.