Reduce the effect of stress with meditation in pregnancy

Research suggests reducing stress during pregnancy is important for baby's motor development.

Have you ever thought about meditating and just never got around to it? You think it's a great idea and you are pretty sold on the health benefits but… week after week it gets added to your to do list and never actually gets done. Well, if you are pregnant here is some interesting information that just might give you the motivation you need to start meditating today.

Australian researchers have found a link between maternal stress during pregnancy and motor development in children, even into their teenage years.

Researchers from the University of Notre Dame Australia followed 2900 mothers. They used a questionnaire at 34 weeks gestation, to record stressful experiences, such as financial hardship, the loss of a close relative or friend, separation or divorce, marital problems, pregnancy problems, losing a job or moving house.

Their research found that the number of stressful events a mum to be experienced during pregnancy was linked with lower motor development scores in their kids at ages 10, 14 and 17, when the three surveys were done.

It was also apparent that the later in pregnancy the stressful events occurred, the more likely they were to impact the child's development. The authors suggested this was perhaps due to the later development of the part of the brain called the cerebellar cortex.

Instead of worrying and getting a head start on the phenomenon known as 'Mother's Guilt', before bub is even born, why not learn a simple meditation technique. You cannot always stop stressful events occurring in life, but you can influence your body's response to stress through meditation. Reducing the intensity of stressful feelings and time spent in a stress response is good for both your body and bub.

The secret is to keep it simple.

5 times a day – first thing in the morning, mid morning, lunch time, mid afternoon, and last thing at night, wherever you are, just stop what you are doing and take 5 deep breaths.

To help clear your mind of everything else and calm your body, slowly count to 4 whilst you inhale and again as you exhale.

The benefits of these 5 deep breaths could be three fold and far reaching – help you enjoy a calmer pregnancy, safeguard your child's motor development and ingrain a healthy new habit for life.


Child Development 2015; online October 14