Becoming a mother is a time for celebrations. It is a time to celebrate the essence of being a woman as the “origins of a child”, which Sushmita Sen profoundly uttered in 1994 to win her the coveted Miss Universe crown. Because this is supposedly a wonderful time of their life, some mothers-to-be are surprised when they experience depression with pregnancy.
Depression among pregnant women is so common that 1 out 5 is affected by baby blues. Life-altering changes can be very stressful, as well as exciting. It is a relief, then, to learn that there is hope. Experts and medical researches point to a safe and effective way of overcoming pregnancy blues with Yoga, meditation and breathing exercises.
Today, Yoga has developed a prenatal yoga practice that is specially designed for pregnant women alone. It teaches different poses that target particularly vulnerable body areas during the gestation period, such as the belly, back, tailbone, pelvis, groin and thighs. Deep breathing through the positions can help to open up, to loosen tight muscles and stretch problem areas.
The Power Breath lets you relax and release stiffness better as you inhale through the nose and exhale from the mouth. Executing the poses with the right pacing and breathing can give you back the much needed comfort and stability that may elude you during the different pregnancy stages. Yoga can help you embrace the seemingly uncontrollable and pressing bodily changes that transform you and your body at this time.
Meditation with positive visualisation techniques does help lower stress levels. Breathing in through the nose deeply and slowly with your shoulders relaxed can keep your concentration while meditating. You can focus on your breath, or an image, or a word or mantra to find calmness during this momentous point in your life. Keeping still and calm amidst the emotional highs and lows is achievable with just 20 minutes of meditation, five mornings a week.
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy
In one study done by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), three mindfulness techniques – yoga, meditation and deep breathing- were combined with traditional behavioural therapy to form a mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for pregnant moms. It was found to help minimise the effects of depression and its chances of occurring during pregnancy and after the baby is born.
Because of these encouraging results, many expecting mothers support and practice yoga months before their delivery comes. Aside from women faring better at battling the blues when pregnant, it was also observed that bonding between mother and child was seen to be stronger among those who participated for 10 weeks in 90-minute mindfulness yoga sessions. It would seem that breathing deeply and slowly not only brings you serenity, but also stronger bonds of happiness and love.