The Benefits of Meditation During Pregnancy and Beyond

Pregnancy, childbirth and the transition into motherhood is the most beautiful and humbling journey a woman will go on. Pregnancy marks the beginning of a great change. Along with all the physical changes, there are great emotional and hormonal shifts too. Let's face it, charting these unknown waters can be overwhelming. It's not uncommon, and this feeling of overwhelm can be hard to shake. Growing and raising a human being is hard work! This is why mindfulness plays a such a key role in managing the stress, as well as encouraging a deeper connection with baby. The easiest path to becoming more mindful is through a consistent meditation practice.

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There are many different kinds of meditation, but a few of the more beginner-friendly methods most useful during pregnancy are breath meditation, guided meditation and visualization. These practices can be done in a group setting or in the comfort of your own home. We recommend finding a meditation group for mamas, as well as using meditation apps like Insight Timer or Expectful (there are countless other options that might be worth checking out as well). 

The benefits of meditation during pregnancy are plentiful. Meditation helps to relieve anxiety, eases physical aches and pains, and improves the mind-body connection. It also gives light to self-love, love for others, and a surrender to the process. Meditating for just ten minutes a day can create a greater sense of calm, bring about more clarity, and promote positive thoughts and feelings. Gaining clarity of the mind is a huge benefit when preparing for, and during labor. Learning to breath in rhythm with your own body is perhaps the greatest skill you can possess during this huge transition.

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Breath meditation and guided meditation are almost effortless ways to bring awareness and relaxation to the body and mind. Visualization meditation is unique because it allows one to go on a 'journey' and imagine a life or a certain event that they would like to manifest. During pregnancy, this is most useful in giving the mind and body a chance to manifest the perfect birth experience. This is helpful for mamas no matter how or where they choose to birth. Although birth doesn't always go as planned, doing visualizations throughout pregnancy helps the universe provide you with the birth you envision, as well as give you space to connect with your baby.

 The ability to meditate is a superpower we all possess. But just like any type of physical exercise, exercise of the mind takes practice and consistency to get stronger and better at it. For those who say, "Oh, I've tried meditation, my mind races too much and it doesn't work," it's more important than ever to continue to practice. Over time, it does get easier, and one will start to see how beneficial it is to creating a happy and fulfilling life. For a pregnant mama, it might be more beneficial than ever. 

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There are so many things we think about when preparing for a new baby (What color do we paint the nursery? Which stroller is best? How many diapers do we need? Will I be a good mom?) that we forget how special this time is, and how important it is to not only be healthy in body, but also in mind. Making a sacred space to meditate with your little one might not seem so important, but when the seasons change, baby grows up and the material things are no longer useful, that bond that began in the womb will still be there. And it will last a lifetime. As you follow your path in motherhood, you'll be so glad you made time for it. 

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By Christine Rapsys, Writer and Pure Births Mama

Having a Beautiful, Natural Birth at a Birth Center

Pregnancy and child birth are natural processes that have been growing our species since, well...the very beginning of our time. For most women, the power to birth a baby is a primal one that comes quite naturally. And for low-risk, healthy women who want to forgo the cold doctor's office and the potential risk of unnecessary intervention during a hospital birth, choosing to work with a midwife and have a natural, peaceful birth at a birth center is the right choice. It is a wonderful balance between a hospital birth and home birth.

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In many other parts of the world, giving birth at home or in birth centers under the care of a midwife is the norm. In the US, however, that is not the case. The majority of births still happen in hospitals. The US also has one of the highest rates of maternal and neonatal mortality and one of the highest cesarean section rates in the world, which needs some serious consideration....

Even though women who birth at home or in birth centers is still a small percentage, the numbers have been rising in recent years. Many women want to have natural births without interventions. They desire more choices in how they will deliver their babies, and they want to have access to the natural pain relief that they can receive while laboring in warm water. These women opt out of the standard obstetrical care, and chose a midwife who specializes in woman centered pregnancy and childbirth instead. Most often, these women have very positive experiences.

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Today, you may find some birth centers attached to hospitals, as well as many free standing birth centers like Pure Births. A birth center offers a laboring mama a more home-like environment to birth her baby, which is crucial in having a successful, natural birth. At a birth center, you will still find some necessary medical supplies including, monitoring equipment, oxygen, medication to minimize postpartum bleeding and IV supplies to run antibiotics if, in rare cases, a woman tested positive for GBS during pregnancy or has prolonged rupture (meaning her water has been broken for more than 24 hours without delivering).

At Pure Births, all prenatal visits are held in the comfort of the birth center, allowing women to get to know the space. After awhile it starts to feel like home. The more comfortable and relaxed a woman is in her environment, the faster and easier labor is. Women have more options at the birth center, including a beautiful birthing suite. The birthing suite allows a laboring woman to move about, eat and drink, as well as the option to use the shower and large birthing tub for pain relief and water birth. The birth center also offers extra space for family, and a comfy queen size bed for those first cuddles and skin to skin contact after baby is born. The bonding after birth is everything.

Tiffany, the midwife at Pure Births monitors baby and mama all the way through labor, and thereafter. She is also licensed to complete the initial newborn exam, breastfeeding support and repair any vaginal tears the mama may need. It is all done right in the comfort of the birth center. If all is well with baby and mama, the family can head home usually within four hours after birth. What a gentle way for a baby to come into the world and a mama to experience pregnancy, labor and birth.

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As a Pure Births mama myself, I can say that choosing to birth my baby at the birth center was the best choice I could have made. Not only was the birthing suite absolutely wonderful, working with Tiffany was simply amazing. I trusted her 100%. She has a wealth of knowledge and has a loving presence and warmth to her that is unmatched. I always felt safe and my baby was born peacefully in the water within four hours of arrival at the birth center.

 By Christine Rapsys, Writer and Pure Births Mama

Choosing a Natural Birth with a Midwife

Choosing a Natural Birth with a Midwife

It is well known throughout the world that for a low-risk, healthy mama, birthing a baby naturally with a midwife in a quiet, familiar environment is not only safe, but better for the woman and baby.

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