Everything to Know About Pregnancy Meditation
Everything to Know About Pregnancy Meditation
August 19, 2022

Everything to Know About Pregnancy Meditation

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Everything to Know About Pregnancy Meditation

Let’s face it, pregnancy can be an emotional rollercoaster. Among all the joy and excitement you hope to feel, you may also be feeling anxious or restless. Being pregnant isn’t always sunshine and rainbows; it’s totally normal to feel anxious and more than a little stressed out at times.

Along with relaxing activities like getting a prenatal massage, binging your favorite shows and taking a couple hours in the afternoon to catch up on sleep, one pregnancy stress relief option that’s recommended by research, medical professionals and pregnant people alike is meditation. But how do you start?

Even if you’ve never meditated before, you can start practicing at any point in your pregnancy—even if you’re still trying to conceive—to reap the benefits (which we’ll talk about in a minute). And if you’re a seasoned practitioner, there may be some new techniques and focus points for you to take in.

While meditation may help reduce stress levels, if you feel like you’re struggling with anxiety or feelings of depression during pregnancy, talk about it with your healthcare provider as soon as possible so they can help determine the best treatment to help you feel better.

How do I meditate during pregnancy?

The short answer: however you want. Pregnancy meditation can look like anything from practicing breathing techniques to visualizing the emotional bond you’re establishing with your baby, and there’s no hard and fast guidance on which meditation is best for pregnancy. There are a few different popular methods you can use, and you should meditate in whatever way feels best to you. The most important thing is to not get caught up in wondering whether you’re doing it “correctly.” “Every practice looks different,” says Ishra Gill, meditation & wellness guide at Expectful. “There is never a right way or wrong way, and lean into self-compassion if you find yourself distracted or struggling.”

What is guided meditation?

If you’re new to practicing meditation, or if you’re not totally sure how it might be different while pregnant, try following along with a guided meditation. Whether in person, via video or on a pregnancy meditation app, guided meditation sessions are led by an expert practitioner who verbally guides you every step of the way through breathing, relaxation and visualization exercises.

Is meditation safe during pregnancy?

Precautions abound throughout the various stages of pregnancy, and even something as simple and relaxing as meditation is no exception. While there aren’t any concerns during the first trimester, if you’re practicing meditation during the second trimester and beyond, there are a couple of things you should take into consideration:

  • Positioning: “We discourage laying on your back from the second trimester onwards,” Gill says. This is due to the increased weight of your uterus putting pressure on your spine and back muscles, compressing the vena cava (a major uterine blood vessel) and restricting blood flow to the uterus.
  • Breath holds: Some meditation exercises involve holding your breath to promote relaxation and lower blood pressure. However, it’s important starting in your second trimester to “shy away from holding a longer breath to ensure a good flow of breath is always circulating,” Gill says.

What are the benefits of meditation during pregnancy?

Meditation isn’t just a chance to chill out—though it’s perfect for that, and we won’t fault you for wanting to take any opportunity you can to just relax for a bit. Research conducted by doctors, scientists and meditation experts shows prenatal meditation to have the following benefits:

  • Reduced feelings of stress and anxiety
  • Reduced feelings of depression
  • Better sleep
  • Feeling more connected with your body
  • Connecting with baby
  • Reduced pain
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Reduced risk of preterm birth (due to reduced anxiety and blood pressure)

Pregnancy meditation for partners

Pregnant people need support during their nine-month marathon, and meditation (especially when working with a guide) can help you feel supported both physically and emotionally. But if you have a partner with you on your journey to parenthood, they need support too, and they can get a lot out of the meditation experience alongside you. “While the physical experience of pregnancy may be different for partners,” Gill says, “the emotional aspect can often be similar. It’s important to include them on this journey too.”

Most of the meditation apps listed below have special guided meditations for partners, and even some you can do together as an expecting couple. Doing meditation together can help ensure you both feel supported and relaxed, and can give your partner some insight into your experience, as well.

Best Pregnancy Meditation Apps

Expectful

iOS | Android

Cost: $12.99/month or $69.99/year

Like most of the options on this list, Expectful is a subscription-based app. But what sets it apart is that it’s the only meditation app specifically for pregnancy. Filled with guided meditations on every step of the parenting journey, Expectful takes you from TTC to pregnancy to parenthood, and even has specialized content on healing from pregnancy loss should you ever need it.

And if their subscription cost is out of your price range, Expectful has a Helping Hand program where you can request a free annual membership.

Headspace

iOS | Android

Cost: $12.99/month or $69.99/year for additional premium content

Headspace is a giant in the world of meditation apps, and for good reason, with guided meditations on just about anything you can think of (including nature appreciations and mindful eating). Their pregnancy meditations consist of a 30-day series of short, 10-20 minute sessions, so you don’t have to worry about dedicating a ton of time.

The pregnancy meditations from Headspace use techniques like body scans and visualizations, and they’re meant for both pregnant parents and their partners.

Calm

iOS | Android

Cost: $12.99/month or $69.99/year

If you’ve looked into meditation apps, chances are you’ve heard about Calm. While it’s not specifically designed for pregnancy, there’s plenty of meditations for anxiety, stress and sleep that you can make work for you—just remember to follow the guidance above on positioning and breathing to ensure your safety and baby’s.

Calm’s app is highly customizable for both visuals and sounds to get your perfect relaxation zone, and many of the meditations and sleep stories feature famous voices you may recognize, including Matthew McConaughey, Harry Styles, LeBron James, Maya Rudolph and more.

YouTube

Cost: Free

It doesn’t get better than free, right? There are plenty of accessible meditations for pregnancy on YouTube, or even just soundscapes if you prefer to do self-guided meditation. There’s everything from couples’ meditations to meditations by trimester to visualizing a positive birthing experience. Just keep in mind that the free version of YouTube contains ads, so if you don’t want your calming experience interrupted, it costs $11.99 per month to remove ads and be able to play videos with your screen turned off.

Calm Birth

Cost: $10 per audioguide, $200 for four-week virtual class

Looking for an experience that feels a little more in-person (but from the comfort of your own home)? Calm Birth is a pregnancy meditation course that’s been around for over 20 years and is led by meditation and childbirth experts, but it’s different from the apps in this guide. Rather than a list of pre-recorded meditations, Calm Birth offers a live virtual class over the course of four weeks, allowing you to feel more connected with your meditation guide as they lead you through in real time.

Not feeling the $200 live class? For a fraction of the cost, Calm Birth also offers pre-recorded meditations in the form of audioguides available for digital download.

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