The journey of pregnancy to childbirth can feel long and stressful at times. After all, you’re getting ready to birth another human, which includes not only a whole lot of hormonal shifts but the reality check that you’re getting ready to birth another human from your body — a human who will be under your care for at least 18 years. No wonder the idea of childbirth can be daunting and overwhelming for new parents and birthing people.
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“When we speak about childbirth, there is so much emphasis on the physical demands, but giving birth is not just a physical event, it is one that asks you to climb mental and emotional mountains, too,” birth doula and childbirth educator Carson Meyer tells SheKnows.
According to Meyer, oxytocin, one of the key hormones of labor that is responsible for contracting the uterus and signaling the release of breastmilk, is easily interrupted by an increase in cortisol, which usually happens when we’re feeling stressed.
“Therefore, stress or any perceived threat of danger can interfere with labor. Studies also suggest that increased perception of pain is often associated with increased stress.”
Meditation, says Meyer, can be extremely valuable in creating a space of peace from within labor and beyond. Whether you’re new to meditation or need more incentive to return to your pillow, these mindful meditation apps can help ease your mind and flow on your path to a healthy and stress-free healthy birth experience.
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Meyer’s clients enjoy the Expectful app. Dubbed the number one meditation and sleep app for fertility, pregnancy, and motherhood with the largest library of meditations, the app offers five, 10, and 20 minute daily guided meditations for $3 a month. It’s designed to help women through every stage of pregnancy, from the first trimester to healing after delivery.
Dr Mandy Gloyeske of Serenity Birth Wellness recommends this hypnobirthing app, which contains guided meditations for every week of pregnancy and the postpartum period. It also contains positive affirmations and breathing techniques.
“Many birthing parents who use the GentleBirth app throughout pregnancy report feeling more calm and more in control during birth,” she says. “It’s very user-friendly with tracks for every stage of pregnancy and every type of birth including cesarean births and multiples, medicated or unmedicated”. Try it out with a free 7-day trial, or commit to a subscription plan ($13 a month or $95 a year).
“My philosophy around birth prep is that knowledge is power and I also like to include some visualization and mediation resources for my clients,” says doula and childbirth educator Lizzie Bolliger who recommends the app Mindful Mamas. “It has a wonderful pregnancy series to work through as your pregnancy progresses as well as a playlist to listen to during labor and birth. Mediation for birth is something you need to practice before the big day so it’s important to practice this playlist through pregnancy and especially regularly in the third trimester.”
Mindful Mamas also has meditations for other seasons of motherhood from trying to conceive all the way through parenting teenagers. You can get started with a free 7-day trial.
This free app is all about promoting calmness in order to help parents-to-be and couples support their mental and emotional wellbeing before the baby comes, and what it means to be a good parent, all with tailored exercises. What’s great about this app is that isn’t just geared t for mothers but also for fathers, single parents and same sex couples.
From the creators of the popular Calm App comes a meditation app strictly for moms-to-be to help alleviate their stress throughout pregnancy and childbirth. Endorsed by many childbirth educators, along with a history of highly trained meditation teachers, this free app is perfect for those moms who want a straightforward, no fuss meditation technique.
A version of this story was published June 2021.
Before you go, check out a few more mental health apps we love: