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Meditation, in short, is allowing the mind to settle down into a state of deep relaxation and calm. In a world with so much stress, the ability to reach that state is something wonderful, even for the worst skeptic.

During pregnancy, most women have quite a lot of stress. Thinking about your birth, preparing for the arrival of your baby, and that child's future comes on top of the "normal" stresses of everyday life.  

Women who are under under a lot of stress while they are expecting a baby benefit from meditation even more. Lots of stress can negatively affect a baby, and obviously makes you, the pregnant mother, feel bad too! What can you achieve with meditation during pregnancy? It is possible to simply focus on letting go of stress and inviting in peace and serenity.

Feelings of worry or panic are unpleasant and unproductive, and meditating can turn that around. But it's also possible to meditate on specific feelings relating to your pregnancy and baby.

Some women even report that they went into meditation mode to tell their babies they could now be born and then went into labor hours after!

Hypnobirthing is another popular technique that involves using special meditation techniques to avoid feeling pain in labor. For hypnobirthing to be truly effective, the program has to be started relatively early during pregnancy. Women who practice these meditation sessions, which involve listening to audiotapes, report feeling less stressed and more at peace throughout their pregnancy.

There are many different meditation techniques, and they can also be practiced in the context of prenatal yoga, to name an example. But, if you are looking for a basic meditation you can start practicing at home, here's a quick guide on how top get started:

  1. Sit down in the lotus position on your floor, a yoga mat, or anywhere else. You can do this on the bus, in your bed, or behind your desk... if you really must.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Concentrate on deep, abdominal breathing and make sure to breathe all the way in, and all the way out.
  4. Visualize something that represents calm and peace, for you personally. You should feel safe and at ease. For some people, it helps to visualize a beach with the sea making gentle movements. Others prefer to visualize their lungs filling with air, and leaving again. Yet others prefer to think of nothing at all; a void in space and time. Experiment until you find something that really works.

5. Deeply relax, and practice positive affirmations if you want to. During pregnancy, that may include addressing your baby and saying you love and welcome him or her, and affirming to yourself that you are both safe and your pregnancy is progressing in a normal and healthy fashion. While you are having contractions, you may tell yourself that your cervix is opening up to accommodate the birth of your baby and that you are thankful for his or her imminent arrival.

6. Before returning to "normal life", take a while to stay relaxed and concentrate on your breathing. Do not end your meditation abruptly. Enjoy a nice cup of herbal tea and listen to some gentle music before going back to your planned activities.

Folks who are still hoping to get pregnant may like to read about how fertility yoga can help when trying to conceive.

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