Pregnancy is a time of preparation where most women pay extra attention to their diet, nutrition and physical health. Though it can be a beautiful emotional experience, mothers-to-be often feel anxious and apprehensive about child bearing—will it be painless and smooth, will my baby be healthy; am I ready to be a mother? During pregnancy relaxation and calmness are just as important to your health as proper nutrition and exercise.
Stress during pregnancy
Practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique during pregnancy provides the much-needed relaxation and energy expecting mothers need to cope with the new demands on her body and emotions.
Why is it important to relax during pregnancy? Recent studies suggest that excessive stress, whether physical or emotional, can cause the body to produce hormones that may increase the likelihood of difficulties during pregnancy and delivery. Stress and anxiety can also have a negative impact on the fetus and may have long-term effects on the child, including hyperactivity.1
Easy for Pregnant Women
The TM technique is easy to practice during pregnancy. It doesn’t require clearing your mind of thoughts, focusing or being mindful. Practiced for 20 minutes, sitting comfortably, the awareness effortlessly settles inward to quieter, more peaceful levels of the mind that are teaming with creativity, happiness and alertness. The body simultaneously gains profound relaxation, found to be much deeper than ordinary rest or napping. A healthy physiological response occurs during TM practice as indicated by decreased stress hormones, improved cardiovascular health and more orderly coherent brain functioning. Newborns whose mom’s meditate reportedly sleep better, fuss less and are naturally blissful babies.
Pregnancy, a spiritual time
Many women experience that pregnancy brings a spiritual awakening as their intuition and awareness are heightened. A meditating mom while deepening her connection to inner Being through regular TM practice, may enjoy greater sensitivity and attunement to the new life growing within her. Enveloped in calmness, love and serenity, baby is tenderly nourished by the mother’s meditative state. Many mothers notice that their new babies are remarkably calm, happy and healthy. Pregnancy is the perfect time to learn TM; after all, you are meditating for two.
Postpartum depression and meditation
The baby blues are considered to be a normal part of new motherhood. Rapidly changing hormones, lack of sleep and the demands of parenting a new infant may play a role in postpartum depression. Stress can make depression worse and a newborn adds new stresses to a woman’s life. The practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique both during and after pregnancy helps buffer the stress of new motherhood while balancing emotions and curbing anxiety and depression. Mothers can do their meditation anytime during the day, when babies are napping or children are at school. Making meditation a part of being a mother ensures that you are nurturing your self so you can better care for your baby and family.
- Glover V. (1997) Maternal stress or anxiety in pregnancy and emotional development of the child. Brit J Psychiatry 171, 105-106.
Relevant Scientific Research Findings on the Transcendental Meditation program
- Increased calmness
- Reduced insomnia
- Decreased stress hormones
- Reduction in depression
A meta-analysis found that the TM technique is significantly more effective in reducing trait anxiety than procedures of concentration or contemplation, or other techniques. Journal of Clinical Psychology 45: 957-974, 1989.
The TM technique produces a state of deep rest compared to eyes-closed control conditions. American Psychologist 42: 879-881, 1987.