When we become pregnant, we have new motivation to eat better, exercise regularly, stay away from toxins…. So important! Yet, of all the activities for health and wellbeing, working with the mind to cultivate internal peace may have the greatest overall impact.
There’s an almost endless list of studies quantifying the physical and emotional benefits of meditation. MRI imaging shows daily meditation or mindfulness practice changes the structures of the brain in as little as 8 weeks, increasing gray matter in areas supporting empathy, self-awareness, relaxation, and memory while reducing gray matter in areas associated with anxiety and stress. Meditation has been shown to boost immune function and improve cardiovascular health.
A study from Archives of Women’s Mental Health finds pregnant women who practiced eight weeks of stress reduction techniques showed 20-25% lower levels of stress, anxiety, and negative emotion. During pregnancy the mood-enhancing hormones released during meditation or mindfulness (DHEA, melatonin, and endorphins) pass through the placenta to benefit the baby too!
Three Sisters Midwifery believes in supporting women in mindfulness-type practices. We see women who are able to nourish BODY AND MIND in pregnancy shift into higher levels of vibrancy and wellness. Pregnancy and birth can be pleasurable!
Rhione Zeixchel, our most experienced midwife, often talks about preparing the mind for surrender during labor and birth. Our “manager” isn’t the part of our brain that births our baby, Rhione teaches. Mind habits of managing, evaluating and controlling can slow labor, create tension, discomfort, pain, and interfere with natural hormonal “harmony.” Constrictor hormones released then create resistance to the body’s instinctual birthing wisdom.
How can we drop into our “birthing body,” let go and enjoy our birthings? The relaxation practice Rhione recommends for birth is HypnoBirthing. She and midwife Jae Rowan teach classes throughout the year at Three Sisters Midwifery in Jacksonville. HypnoBirthing is a proven method that teaches women and their birth partners techniques to cultivate internal calm and surrender. HypnoBirthing reminds mothers to trust in Nature’s way of birth, to relax and let their bodies do what is needed. The birthing body and the baby know just what to do. Through practice, mothers release fear and tension, training the mind and conditioning the body to birth with joy and grace.
The reward for a regular practice of relaxation is huge for mother, baby and family. Conditioning the body for calm and ease optimizes the natural flow of endorphins and oxytocin in labor. These hormones support a pleasurable- even ecstatic- birth experience! Investing ourselves in this type of preparation creates a once in a lifetime opportunity for baby’s first welcoming to be one of gentleness, calm and love.
Find out more at www.threesistersmidwifery.com and www.hypnobirthingofsouthernoregon.wordpress.com