Learn the tools to manage labour pain, sleep better and decrease your risk of Postnatal Depression.
Mindful birthing can be a tricky topic to understand and it is having a major rebrand. Here, the founders of The Dream Birth Company talk us through the benefits to mums not only during pregnancy but for parenthood in general.
What is mindful birthing?
Mindfulness is a modern, non-religious practice that focuses on paying attention to the present moment. Its practice can make us calmer, more centered and improve our physical and mental wellbeing. Scientific evidence is demonstrating that women who take a mindful approach to childbirth preparation can reduce their pain during labour and also reduce the risks of postnatal depression. According to the NHS at least 1 in 10 women experience postpartum depression, although the prevalence may actually be much higher as it so often goes undiagnosed.
Mindfulness practices have been associated with reduced depression during and following pregnancy, which may improve psychological health of both mother and baby.
A study of a group of people who attended a four-day mindfulness meditation training found that they were able to decrease the intensity of painful stimulus by 40 percent (1). Researchers have also discovered that meditators have significantly lower pain sensitivity (2). Pain reduction can help you have an easier pregnancy, delivery, and recovery, no matter what your birth plan looks like. Mindfulness heightons levels of melatonin, which improves our quality of sleep and mood, meaning that both mother and baby feel more calm and rested (3).
In an era where we talk a lot more about fear of childbirth, anxiety in pregnancy and postpartum depression, age-old methods are been reworked for today’s digital generation to address fear and anxiety head-on and teach expectant parents how they can experience a birth that does not have to be an experience of fear and extreme pain.
How mindful birthing was born.
Mindful birthing is an adaptation of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), a program started in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts Medical School to help patients in a hospital setting cope with pain. Since then, hundreds of research studies have shown that mindfulness-based programs alleviate depression, anxiety, stress, pain and more.
Research from the University of Oxford has shown that mindful birthing may hold the power to transform and ease the experience of pregnancy, labour and delivery, as well as the relationship with the new baby after birth.
By making meditation part of your daily routine, your baby bump is sharing all of the magnificent benefit too. A highly referenced study by the Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation in India found that for 169 pregnant women, a daily yoga and meditation practice significantly improved birth weight, reduced premature births, and lessened the overall medical complications for newborns.
How it works.
Most courses are designed for both parents; teaching both parents what to focus on and guiding them through responsibilities, ensuring that they are both fully prepared. Mindfulness strategies can give mothers-to-be the tools to change the way they manage pain during labour and birth. Fear and resistance can sustain and inflame physical pain, so by learning to relate differently to the discomfort that may surround intense physical sensations – to welcome it and work with it – women can reduce the likelihood of being overwhelmed and losing control.
Beyond pain management, mamas to be will benefit from the core principles of mindfulness – acceptance, letting go and trusting – which can help them to prepare for whatever path their birth takes them. Cultivating the skill of awareness during pregnancy – which is the ability to notice thoughts and feelings as they arise – also allows expectant mothers to observe any fearful stories that the mind may be creating about birth from a more objective standpoint, and therefore identify with them less, which can help to reduce overall stress and anxiety.
How can you remain mindful beyond birth?
These techniques aren’t reserved just for the delivery room. In fact, many mothers find these tools and techniques useful long after their babies are born.
Recent research by BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth also shows that mindfulness may offer important maternal mental health benefits following childbirth. In 2017, pregnant women who undertook in an intensive course based on the Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting (MBCP) education reported benefits including improved psychological adjustment and reduced postpartum depression symptoms.
The Dreambirth Company wants to make the dream birth course accessible to as many people as possible. Every parent should have the opportunity to experience their dream birth. That's why we have made our audio content free to access on our website. So if you’re not based in London or can't commit to one of our packages you can still check out our free audio and breathing content.
For further information, visit our website on www.thedreambirthcompany.com or contact us on 07429606566 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Marchand, W. R. (2012). Mindfulness-based stress reduction, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and Zen meditation for depression, anxiety, pain, and psychological distress. Journal of Psychiatric Practice, 18(4), 233-252.
2. Hofmann, S. G., Grossman, P., & Hinton, D. E. (2011). Loving-kindness and compassion meditation: Potential for psychological interventions. Clinical Psychology Review, 31(7), 1126-1132.
3. Olooto, W.E., Amballi, A.A., & Banjo, T.A. (2012). A review of female infertility: Important etiological factors and management. Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology Research, 2(3), 379-385.
The Dream Birth Company
Mindful birthing can be a tricky topic to understand. Here founders of the DBC talk us through how mindful birthing is having a major rebrand and the benefits to mums not only during pregnancy but for parenthood in general.