Benefits of Exercise and Meditation during Pregnancy
Nothing and I mean absolutely nothing can equal the excitement of feeling a life inside of you, even with all the stress, anxiety, mood swings, hormonal changes and other problems that pregnancy brings along. You probably do not look pregnant yet, but the chances are you are feeling it. It is more important than ever now that you take good care of yourself both emotionally and physically.
During the next nine months you could experience quite a few aches and pains as well as flatulence and fatigue. Even though these symptoms can be annoying, remind yourself that these are just temporary discomforts and are part of this wonderful process. With regular exercise and meditation you can enhance your chances of having a problem free pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Benefits and Types of Exercise During Pregnancy
Exercise may be the last thing on your mind when you are battling to keep a meal down in the first trimester, than dealing with body changes in the second and just making it to the bathroom near your due date. Staying active provides huge benefits for you and baby as regular exercise will improve circulation and help you control your weight. Stretching or even walking will improve your mood, ease labor and help you recover much quicker. Exercising during pregnancy can:
- reduce pregnancy complications and help to reduce delivery complications
- speed up recovery post delivery
- help ease pelvic and back pain
- boosts your mood and help fight fatigue
- simple walking helps lower blood pressure, relieve constipation and improves sleep
It’s important to keep moving, and 20 to 30 minutes of exercise a day does wonders and also builds endurance, prepares you for childbirth by strengthening muscles and making it easier to get back in shape after your baby is born. Studies have shown that prenatal exercise may also lower the risk of developing pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes. If you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, exercise can help you manage the condition and prevent complications.
Ideally the preparation for a holistic pregnancy and childbirth starts before conception. There are several different types of exercise programs specifically designed for pregnant women available, but before starting a program consult your healthcare provider. Some exercise programs may work for you or not, as no two pregnancies are the same. The following exercises are usually safe for expectant moms:
- Stretching – is a great way to keep your body flexible without impacting your joints
- Yoga – helps to maintain flexibility and muscle tone. Yoga helps you relax and also helps prepare you for childbirth
- Swimming – this is one of the best exercises as it tones the arms and legs and other major muscle groups. Reduces swelling, helps relieve lower back pain and provides cardiovascular benefits
- Walking – is one of the best cardiovascular exercises and can be done throughout your nine months of pregnancy
- Dancing – you can join a dance class for pregnant women or you can dance in the comfort of your own home. Avoid dance steps that require twirls, leaps or jumps
- Aerobics – strengtheners the heart and tones the body. There are aerobic classes designed for pregnant women where you can also enjoy interaction with other moms-to-be
- Pilates – is a great activity especially is you are suffering from lower back and other aches and pains
When doing any exercise program always listen to your body and do not overdo it.
Benefits of Meditation during Pregnancy
As your body undergoes changes, you must prepare yourself in advance to be able to deal with all the changes comfortably. Mothers-to-be often fear common things associated with pregnancy such as the birth process and the well being of the baby. Such worries including the discomforts such as morning sickness, dizziness, constipation, weight gain, heart burn and other problems add to the stress and pressure.
Meditation helps to relax the body, mind and soul and has proved fruitful in relieving discomforts. A study revealed that daily yoga and meditation practice during pregnancy improves birth weight, reduces premature births, and lessens the overall medical complications for newborns. Meditation provides more energy, strength and peace and prepares you much better for labor. Meditation provides several wonderful benefits that include:
- Breathing – meditation helps you focus on your breathing which in turn reduces stress , anxiety and relieves muscle tension
- Muscle relaxation – as your pregnancy progresses, meditation relaxes your body by making it aware of two different states, tension and relaxation
- Better Focus – meditation results in better focus and concentration which will help you during labor
- Reduces Anxiety and Stress – Meditation during pregnancy is a safe way to reduce anxiety and stress and will help restore the normal functioning of the immune system during pregnancy and childbirth. Meditation increases pain tolerance by reducing stress hormones, it also helps the body produce endorphins, which go beyond relieving pain
- Increases Endorphins – The more you meditates during pregnancy the higher your endorphin level will be during delivery as endorphins have a powerful pain-relieving and pleasure-enhancing effect
- Elevates DHEA – meditation elevates DHEA levels in the body, which in turn benefits the baby
- Increases Melatonin Levels – The University of Massachusetts Medical Center has confirmed that practicing meditation regularly increases the levels of melatonin. It boosts the immune system and provides you with a sense of well being.
Mother- to-be are eager to do whatever they can to make sure their baby gets the best possible start in life. Meditation is one powerful way to optimize both you and the baby’s health and will help to strengthen the bond between you. Meditating when pregnant can provide you and baby with long lasting effects.
The period of pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period presents with major social and psychological changes for women as they become mothers. It is vital that your emotional well-being is sound and that you follow a well balanced diet, get plenty of exercise and take up yoga and meditation classes which will ensure you and your baby’s development are healthy.
About the Author – Sarah Biel is a popular well recognized health and lifestyle expert. Sarah is well qualified in her field and is passionate about the well being, and mental state of her clients. Sarah works at Sukhavati Ayurvedic Retreat and Spa which offers life changing treatments based on ancient healing practices.