Learn How Meditation Can Help Reduce Pain During Labor

meditation during childbirth
Image via Mindi Stavish

Ask any woman who has experienced childbirth, and they're likely to tell you that it is an intense, painful experience. Meditation is becoming a more popular way to cope with pain during labor and delivery, and the benefits are amazing.  

During birth, it's important that a mom uses the technique that works best for her and takes time to listen to her body during the birthing process.  

The first benefit of meditation during birth is that it decreases the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Not only does meditation decrease stress hormones, but it also increases hormones that boost the immune system and promote a sense of calm, including melatonin and DHEA. Meditation also helps increase endorphins, which are natural pain relievers.  

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Doula Shannon Moyer Szemenyei encourages moms to start with breath awareness when beginning meditation during pregnancy and in preparation for labor. Breath awareness can guide a mom into a safe physical and mental space where she feels safe and protected. With the use of breath awareness, a mom can trust her instincts and the birthing process itself. Using breath awareness helps moms feel in control, peaceful, and calm. Being in control of one's mental space during a period when the body takes over can aid in a positive birth experience.  

Visualization meditation is often used during active labor as a distraction from pain. During birth, it's important that a mom uses the technique that works best for her and takes time to listen to her body during the birthing process. 

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Shannon further notes the following:

“Mentally preparing for labor and birth can help in so many ways. Often it's something that we don't take near enough time to do and something that traditional childbirth education classes simply don't spend enough time covering. When you find the right way, be it focusing on your breath and counting with your eyes closed softly, graduated muscle relaxation from your toes to the top of your head, guided meditations on a podcast, or visualizing the sweet face of your baby; when you find the right way that works for you, you will feel at peace and completely calm. You will feel the love flowing from your heart and a new compassion for yourself as a woman and a mother. You will know the moment you find the right recording [or] the right breath, and returning to it will give you so much comfort and strength.”

Shannon's podcasts can be found here, and she has written a five-week course called Practices for a Calm Birth.

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Learn How Meditation Can Help Reduce Pain During Labor

Mindi is a working mom with three boys ages 4, 2, and an infant (born June 2013). She spent her first 8 years of her career in Speech-Language Pathology at a Children's Hospital. She currently works with adults and children in home health. The real fun for her happens when she is at home with her boys, chasing them around and pretending to be a super hero. She blogs about life as a working mom at Simply Stavish. Her weekly feature, Words in the Sand, teaches parents how to grow their child's s ... More

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