We love to hear from our teachers as their Calm Birth journey unfolds. Amy Lee Czadzeck, a bodyworker in Upstate New York, shared with us about her own experience of pregnancy and birth, and how Calm Birth may have been a welcome tool. Her deep insights into each practice will surely guide her clients to use these meditations for the long run! We're so pleased to have Amy in our community.Read More
The APPPAH congresses get better each year. The knowledge shared builds on itself: science is now validating what APPPAH has known and taught for decades. I went to my fourth Congress, which was full of insightful conversations, illuminating talks, heartfelt connections, and even a surprise speech given by yours truly!Read More
Birth-givers, rejoice!: We have an app!
It’s been percolating for years, but we finally had all the tools to create this in 2017—the same year as this program’s 20th birthday.
A lot has changed since Calm Birth’s own birth. Technology has grown exponentially, and these days, most of us have supercomputers living in our pockets! Building a platform for people to access from their phones has taken our program into the modern age—Calm Birth has officially been millennialized!Read More
Just after a winter sunrise in 2001, Clee gave birth to Hannah Leigh using the Calm Birth method. Sixteen years later, she reflects: "I look back on it as a really serene experience... I think it had a really big impact on me, and on her."
Read the original story here, and enjoy Clee's powerful story!
New changes to our program, just in time for Father's Day.Read More
Calm Birth is founded on an amazing community of caring, kind, motivated teachers. This month, we want to shine our spotlight on Melissa Gutierrez Nelson, a doula and yoga instructor based in Minneapolis. Melissa was recently featured on the toRaise Questions Doula Podcast for her work with Everyday Miracles, a nonprofit that provides holistic prenatal services for women in her community.
We are so proud of and thankful to Melissa for her dedication and compassion. Read on to lean more about her!Read More
Find out how to keep your stress under control during pregnancy. Calm Birth expert gives advice on reducing stress to get pregnant
As part of the certification process, Kulshan wrote an essay on the importance of Calm Birth in society. We were so taken with it, we asked if we could post it on our blog-- and to our delight, she agreed!Read More
In spite of your lengthy name-- the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health, to be exact-- your mission is simple: to empower families and those who support them. We are endlessly proud to be part of your mission and your family! Each year that we attend your conference and follow your progress, we are astounded by your accomplishments and your ever-reaching goals.Read More
Recently, I wrote a letter I'd been meaning to send for quite some time. Although Calm Birth is based on ancient and modern practices, I've been achingly curious about what His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who thinks more about meditation than anyone on the planet, might have to say about the application of meditation to the prenatal period.
I drafted a letter, expressing my gratitude for the Dalai Lama's tireless work and influence on the planet, and I told him about the Calm Birth program. I concluded by asking what types of practices he might recommend for pregnancy and childbirth.
Much to my delight, I received a response from his religious interpreter within the week! Without any further ado, here is the letter:
Thank you for your letter addressed to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, with an introduction to your Calm Birth and asking for some prenatal meditations. We appreciate your compassionate work in helping pregnant women within whom begins the human life on Earth! As His Holiness the Dalai Lama is very busy and is not able to attend to all the letters and requests received at this Office, I beg you to bear with me. I have been asked to respond to your questions.
Please do keep up with your good work for humanity, particularly involving nurturing our babies, the future seeds of humanity.
Your work definitely aligns His Holiness' vision for a better world, better tomorrow for our younger generations and the future generations, as he often says, "The first teacher of love and affection in our life is our beloved mothers before we ever heard anything about these values from our spiritual teachers!" Over the last numerous years, in accordance with some credible scientific findings, His Holiness has been urging the need for women taking more active role in building a compassionate world owing to your more acute sensitivity to others' pain and suffering compared to the male species of human beings. His Holiness also states his view that if we have more women leaders of the nations around the world probably there would be less warfare, fighting and conflict amongst the different countries, regions, or communities because of the propensityto empathy and affection, though some women may be exception!
As you are aware, His Holiness the Dalai Lama's message to the world, to everyone of us, is that we must take to heart, with the sense of oneness of all humans on Earth, how to nurture compassionate human beings right from the beginning, which is what you are doing, for a peaceful and happy future of the world and humans in it. Such an upbringing of our children, the seeds of our future, could produce generations who would shoulder the responsibility for our human society as a whole, not only one's tribes and race, etc., by working constructively and for the whole world holistically, including our ecology in which humanity survives and thrives.
In a nutshell, the key message of His Holiness for all of us is the cultivation and development of compassion which he believes is the fundamental teeming ground for care-giving and kindness to others--including our external environment with which we in inextricably bound--with the sense of brotherhood and sisterhood. This message echoes in almost all of His Holiness' public talks, spiritual discourses and religious teachings these days everywhere he travels.
Therefore, though you already have a number of meditations for your clients and their babies, the driving intention for all of them should be genuine universal love and compassion embracing entire living being who are same as us in cherishing joy and happiness and wanting to avoid any problem, pain and suffering. Within this motive the mothers-to-be should care for their precious little babies inside them and focus on in and out breathe to relax their mind; once their emotionally calm and settled they could use tong-len meditation using their breath as the vehicle for sending their untainted love and compassion to the baby and taking any ill-health or harm of their babies onto the mothers themselves.
So, I would suggest you to design simple and practical meditation exercises for your project. I hope you could include those meditations which help promote the overall well-being of the mothers-to-be and their unborn children, which are practical, and suit them. If you could train them to maintain their clarity and luminosity nature of their mind without having to exert much physical pressure, I would think it would also help the baby's physical and mental well-being. So, any meditation that can boost the overall well-being, physical and mental (emotional/psychological/spiritual) of both the pregnant woman and her child would be advisable.
Thank you for your kind attention and I hope this makes sense to you as a professional. The details of what/how to use the meditation techniques on the ground, you would know better.
Please feel assured of His Holiness' prayers and blessings for your good health and success and all-round prosperity.
With warm regards,
Religious Interpreter to H. H. the Dalai Lama
I was so happy to read this: not only does H. H. the Dalai Lama support prenatal meditation, he also expresses the possibility of cultivating compassion from within the womb. By using the third practice on our audioguide, Giving and Receiving, perhaps this benefit will be received. The words of this letter resonate profoundly with our own teachings in the Calm Birth method, and it is refreshing and wonderful to know that we are all on the same team of bringing babies to this planet in more empowered ways.
Thanks to H. H. the Dalai Lama and his religious interpreter for this thoughtful letter, and may we all birth in a better way.
Calm Birth teaches many components of mindfulness that are known to reduce stress .Calm Birth different from other forms of meditation or mindfulness practicesRead More
Like most of our Calm Birth instructors, Anna Humphreys, our co-director, is multi-faceted in the birth world. Anna has been a doula since 2012, and she was recently interviewed for the Dearest Doula podcast.
Anna's interview with the lovely Nathalie Saenz focused primarily on Calm Birth's history, practices, and benefits for pregnant partners, womb-babies, and birth workers. "Calm Birth has helped me tremendously as a doula and a human being," Anna says, "And I hope that I can help other people find their inner calm with meditation!"
This 40-minute podcast is perfect for a car ride or a mellow time at home. Listen here and enjoy!
The new edition of the Calm Birth book is slated for publication in June, and we couldn't be happier! As a special treat, here is a sneak preview: Sandra Bardsley, the president of the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health, wrote this shining introduction. Sandra, thanks for all that you do-- we love you!
The writings of Grantly Dick Reed and Fredrick LeBoyer were very familiar to me when I was pregnant and delivering my own children. My births were easy and fast. Unfortunately, fairly soon after those deliveries and early in my nursing career, I saw the influence of their the natural childbirth pioneers’ teachings diminish as the medicalization of birth became more predominant in our culture. Women seemed to loose their innate power and internal focus. Fear became prevalent in obstetrics.
Dissatisfied, I left hospital OB nursing and went on to study traditional midwifery. Then, following a challenging automobile accident resulting in severe head and spinal chord injuries, my carreer path once again changed. I needed to shift the focus of my work. I wanted to stay in the area of obstetrical management and so I decided to become a childbirth educator with Lamaze International. I also became educated as a lactation consultant and a doula trainer. Each of these paths gave me opportunities to observe my clients’ responses to pregnancy, labor, birth, and early parenting. I noted that women and their support persons were thrilled with the safe births of their babiesy, but many women later admitted to me that they were somehow dissatisfied and depressed. I also noted that the family/partner bond was often weakened. Both the woman and her partner were not learning how to maintain their power during times of stress.
I began searching for ways to help my clients. I saw that the majority of childbirth classes of the time focused primarily on physical and intellectual preparation (what to eat, which exercises, what to read, who to see for your care, and how avoid pain using medication and interventions, etc.). The main focus in childbirth education seemed to be that of helping women move away from awareness and the feelings that were going on in their body. True, efforts were being made to include the partner in birth preparation, but the increasing use of medical technology at birth was adding confusion for them. I could find no techniques for exploring feelings during pregnancy or methods to connect and develop a partnership with the unborn baby. Very few emotional or relationship awareness techniques were available for childbirth preparation. I continued to search and experiment with teaching methods that would focus more on these two areas.
One thing I began to notice among my students was that the more often a mother focused on her unborn baby during the pregnancy, the more secure and confident she became in herself. I continued to study ways to tap into and magnify that awareness. I observed the natural desire of the mother to tune into her unborn baby to meet his or her, needs. I also observed that not only was the mother striving to protect the baby, but somehow tuning into the baby was helping the mother be more relaxed and calm. I found this fascinating and wanted to learn more.
After the book “The Secret Life of the Unborn Child” by Thomas Verny, MD, was published, I became aware that the the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH) Pre and Perinatal Psychology Association of North America (PPPANA) was being organized. I became fascinated with what I read concerning this work. I joined the group studying and learning about the consciousness of the unborn baby. The name of the organization was later changed to the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH). This organization continues to study this field of science in support of the unborn and newborn human being and society.
Following over 30+ years of research by APPPAH, science is now able to confirm for us that the baby is a conscious, sentient being, right from conception. We know that the baby is holding primal, spiritual awareness from conception throughout the pregnancy as his or her body is forming in the womb. Developing a true partnership with her unborn child becomes a great asset to the Mmother, because she taps into her own innate connection with spirit inherent wisdom as she connects with the baby's spirit. In his book “Childbirth Meditation”, Robert expresses it beautifully when he statesAs Robert Bruce Newman beautifully states in this book, “When a pregnant woman turns her attention to what is innate in her, she touches upon her primal awareness, a deep basis for bonding with her wombchild. She knows that the profound awareness nature of her child and her own primal awareness nature are one.”
As a result of my own growing awareness of the conscious baby, I incorporated more relaxation training into my classes. That was helpful, but superficial—there was a missing element of deep spiritual connection with the wombchild. During the 1990's, I had another wonderful breakthrough in my search for more ways to teach emotional and relationship awareness. I met Robert Newman and learned about Calm Birth meditation practice. I took teacher training classes with Robert and began to practice the methods of Calm Birth meditation with the Mmother's and their partners who were coming to my business, Co-Creations for Joyful Births.childbirth classes.
This life on earth is full of anxiety and stresses, big and small. How one reacts to the stresses of life is largely dependeant on being able to shift one’s attention from the perceived outer havoc and chatter of one’s mind, to inner peace. (from mind to awareness). – sifting from mind to awareness. I immediately noted that in teaching Calm Birth meditation to pregnant women, they were able to renew their inner strength and handle stress throughout pregnancy, labor, birth, and early parenting. I also noticed that, no matter what medical interventions or stresses may have occurred for the baby during labor and birth, the babies themselvesy appeared to be more calm and less stressed as well. The MotherBaby mother-baby dyad and family partnership appeared strongly bonded with Calm Birth meditation.
Calm Birth meditation became a two way communication of great value. In preparation for the possible stress of labor and birth, the Mmother breathes into her center and focuses on her unborn baby. This connecting with primal awareness strengthens and calms her. At the same time, she is inadvertently teaching her developing baby how to also prepare for and handle possible stresses of birth and mortality. Through Calm Birth meditation the baby becomes stronger and prepared psychologically for earth life, while the mother is also strenghthenedstrengthened and relieved of stress as she reconnects with her own primal, spiritual awareness. Following the birth, lactation (breast-feeding) offers another opportunity for both the Mmother and Bbaby to reconnect with their innate awareness and primordial wisdom, thus helping both to keep intact their primal connection to spirit through centering and relaxation.
I grew to love Calm Birth meditation and noted its great value for both Mmother, Bbaby, and the partner. I love how it works on a quantum physics/energy level as well as meditation science to access energies that are invisible, but very much present. I love how it draws the woman into her own experience and power, instead of using hypnotic techniques to move away from herself and her own power. Indeed, the MotherBaby ismother and baby form a unified dyad and I see the Calm Birth/Calm Mother meditation practices producing a firm foundation for greater health and stability for both Mother and Babyboth. I saw it build a stronger bond between partners, thus ensuring the baby a safer family unit in which to grow.
I truly hope you will enjoy reading this book and learning the practice of Calm Birth and Mothering Meditation. I have seen it repeatedly bring stability and healing to mother, baby and partner. May you find much joy and many blessings as you learn the Calm Birth method and develop a partnership with your unborn child for healthy pregnancy, labor, and early parenting. May these blessings continue into every breath of life.
Sandra Bardsley, RN, LCCE, FACCE, CM
President, Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health
By learning to recognize and release our mind through meditation, we learn to recognize and release fear from birth.Read More
The pregnant woman practicing vase breathing for childbirth benefits her child in several ways:
This deep breathing practice first assures maximum oxygenation for the child. This is vital. Womb breathing prevents inadequate oxygen supply resulting from anxiety and stress.
The woman practicing womb breathing indicates a total use of her breathing potential, complete breathing, also breathing vital energy into the vase in her navel center, breathing right where the womb is in her physical body. [Quantum physics would say that the vase and the womb can exist in the same space in hyperspace, which is our real body space.] The womb child experiences the woman’s intention to give it vital substance. The infant feels the energy of its mother’s intention and her expression of complete breathing.
Vital energy breathed into the woman’s life vase naturally feeds up her central energy channel, slowly bringing higher systems to life. This will enrich many nutritional substances which feed into the child through the umbilical cord. The child is energized directly from the woman’s life vase through sympathetic resonance.
Thus: The womb child receives the oxygen benefits of the deep energy breathing via the woman’s blood coming in through the umbilical cord, with the blood also carrying energy nutrition. Through sympathetic resonance with the woman’s life vase the womb child has energy benefits.
This is energy nutrition. It includes physical nutrition. These are evolutionary benefits.
-Robert Bruce Newman, Founder
The Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH) is a hotbed for childbirth professionals, therapists, researchers, and anyone who is actively working to bring awareness of the conscious prenate and baby into the modern medical paradigm. Since nearly its inception, Calm Birth has been supported by APPPAH’s constituents, and for good reason: this method offers a simple and intuitive way to support parent-infant bonding well before birth! The bi-annual APPPAH congress always provides a vibrant touchstone to strengthen existing connections and spark new friendships.Read More
It is important to take care of your partner during pregnancy, check out Calm Birth Meditation and find out how it can benefit you.Read More
After their first birth transferred from home to hospital and ended in a cesarean, Ana and Chris knew that they wanted to approach the next pregnancy with a new kind of preparation.
Ana: We wanted to give the baby the best that we could; something that he could feel that he was being birthed with love and not stress. I wanted to be totally aware, and for him to be aware. I wanted to not feel afraid… I just wanted the baby to be healthy, and just to give the best to my baby, the best slow and gentle and loving birth.
A family friend told Ana and Chris about Anna H., a doula who teaches Calm Birth (and also conducted this interview), and they started taking her classes at the end of the pregnancy.
Ana: Because I took Hypnobirthing before and it didn’t really work for me, I was open-minded to listen to something new, but I knew that in the end I would make the decision of what I wanted to do. In Hypnobirthing, I said “this is what I have to do,” and it was stressful for me. This time, I said that I would listen to what Calm Birth had to say, but at the end, I knew that I could do whatever I wanted, and if it didn’t work for me, I’d do what did work for me. It felt really comforting to know that it was my decision, and that I didn’t have any pressure to follow any method-it was just listening to different ideas, knowing that once I was in labor, I’d know what to do. The CD helped me to remember to breathe, and that I needed to take things slow and relax and keep focus so that labor could go smoothly.
Chris joined Ana in practicing the CD. “I understand the importance of meditation and calming and relaxing your body,” he says,“So it was enjoyable to set time aside to do it.”
Labor started on the 4th of July. Ana, Chris, and their 18-month-old son, Sebastian, went to the parade while Ana breathed through early labor contractions. She called Anna H., her doula, around 3 in the morning. For the next nineteen hours, Ana labored at home, attended by Chris and Anna H. They went for walks, ate, and listened to Practice of Opening and Womb Breathing from time to time, when Ana wanted to rest or center with her breathing. Around 7 pm, Ana was experiencing very regular contractions, and around 10 pm they called the hospital birth center.
Due to unforeseen and unusual circumstances, the only birth center in the valley that supported vaginal births after cesarean (VBACs) was closed, and Ana’s doctor was unreachable when Anna H. called.
Anna H.: This was one of the most intense experiences I’ve had as a doula. I found that I was really focusing on my breathing to keep me centered. The thought that we would have to go someplace where you might not feel supported by the staff to deliver and make your choices…. Something we talk about a lot in Calm Birth is being able to recognize and release fears as they came up, and I found myself doing a lot of that.
Ana: I thought, “If I’m not gonna be able to go where I’d planned, I’m obviously going to have a c-section. And then I thought, “Well, then I don’t wanna feel any more contractions if I’m just gonna have a cesarean,” so I got in the shower because I thought that would stop the contractions and it did, for a little bit, and I told Chris and Anna to figure it out. I was really focused on my contractions and what I was doing. If I lost control, I would feel pain, and I didn’t want to focus on it or fixate on it; if we were going to go have a c-section, I thought we should just do it… but I also felt like it was everything for nothing. I did everything, and we’d been there all day, and we’d been doing so great, and we were ready to go, and now I was just going to go have a c-section, like it was all for nothing? I felt kind of disappointed, but I believe in prayer, and I’d prayed about it before and asked Heavenly Father if I would have a natural birth and the answer was yes. So it reminded me that something was going to work out, because I believe in those answers, and that calmed me down. I just needed to wait to see what would happen, and everything got figured out.
Breathing has a lot to do with staying focused and losing stress, and not tensing up. Especially during labor, if I tense, I felt pain, and when I was focusing and breathing calmly, there was no pain! I mean, a little bit, but not really. And that’s why I wanted to keep focusing and do my thing and relax, and I knew something would work out.
Anna H.: And it did! You seemed to really keep your center in the face of all that intensity. We got ahold of your doctor and arranged to meet at the other hospital.
Ana: I was happy that I would still be able to have my natural birth, and I think that kept me happy and with my hopes up. We drove to the hospital, walked in, went straight to the room, and the nurse checked me and said I was at 8. Right after she checked, the water broke, and I was very happy about that-I didn’t want it to break artificially. Then I was at 9 ½. My body started pushing, and the nurses said, “Don’t push!” and I couldn’t help it, my body was doing it. Right after that, they checked again and I was at 10, and the doctor got there. Then we were able to continue with the birth, and it wasn’t long after that that he was born!
Anna H.: How did it compare to the post-partum meeting with Sebastian?
Ana: It was huge! When I had my first son, and they took him out with a c-section, I was so medicated that I wanted to hold him so much, but I couldn’t keep my eyes open, and that felt really sad. I didn’t like them taking him away from me so fast and not being able to hold him right away. It was so sad for me, and this time, him [Logan] being placed on my stomach right away, combined with the whole feeling of “I did it! I did it, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, and I could do it again, and I got to do everything I wanted-for the most part.” I gave my son a natural birth without meds, as gentle as we could, and he didn’t get stressed, and that made me feel really, really happy.
Anna H.: How’s the post-partum period been?
Ana: Amazing. After Sebastian was born, I was depressed for months and months. And I wasn’t sleeping well, obviously, but with the depression everything was worse. I didn’t want to go out, I didn’t want to shower or do my hair, I would just cry and talk to my son all day, and having a cesarean I felt like I couldn’t do anything-I couldn’t clean the house; it just made things worse.
This time, after a vaginal birth, I felt normal, like I could do whatever I wanted! I had to remind myself to take it easy. After a vaginal birth, you feel normal, not like you’re cut open, and you just feel so powerful and happy! The next day, when we were in the hospital, I had a huge smile! I was saying to all the nurses, “How are you? I’m great! I had a vaginal birth, I’m so happy!” and when we walked out of the hospital, I was smiling… it was a huge difference, I feel so so happy!
Anna H.: I know you prayed a lot about this and did massage and prenatal yoga, but how do you feel like Calm Birth specifically contributed to your overall experience?
Ana: I honestly thing that breathing has a lot with not feeling stress. It has to do with keeping your blood pressure down! These days, the way birth it’s like, “You have 42 weeks or we’re gonna induce or take the baby out,” it makes people stressed! It makes mamas stressed, and I’ve seen a lot of pregnant women whose blood pressure goes up, and they have to be induced because of it and they end up having epidural or cesarean, and it’s really sad! And I think that breathing can keep all those things away! When you’re feeling stressed, especially when you want to avoid a cesarean and you only have an amount of time to go into labor, and there are so many things that you just… you’re a little bit stressed! And breathing can really help keep you calm, and your blood pressure down. I learned that a lot. Also, during labor, if I didn’t do calm breathing the way I’d learned, I felt pain. And when I did it correctly: no pain!
Anna H: So, when you say no pain, I’m assuming you were still having sensation?
Ana: Yeah, absolutely. But it was like, “Okay, I know what it feels like, and I know it’s uncomfortable, but if I breathe like this I can handle it, and it will go away, three minutes later it’s gonna happen again,” but definitely I know that if I wasn’t breathing correctly I wouldn’t have been able to handle it, I would have ended up in the hospital asking for pain medication or something like that.
Anna: Chris, how did you deal with that stress?
Chris: More than anything, what I’ve always tried to do is remain as calm as possible because I think clearer, and stressing out doesn’t help anything. I’ve done lots of meditation and stuff before, so it was nice to be able to take a step back, ask what we could do, and how to keep as much as our birth plan as possible; to keep the big picture and stand our ground-but stay headstrong within reason, direct on our wishes.
Anna H.: Now, you two are pretty spiritual/religious people, of the Mormon faith. Did you feel like Calm Birth was harmonious with that?
Ana: Yes. With religion it always has to do with remaining calm so you can think clearly and make good decisions. And when you are calm-which Calm Birth’s breathing helps you remain calm-you can treat people nicely, have better relationships, live more clearly. If you’re stressed, not-good things happen. Calm breathing helps you stay relaxed.
Chris: What we were taught is that meditation and prayer are the same thing; you’re finding peace with yourself whether it’s you and the Universe or you and a God above; realizing that you can’t do everything yourself, that you’re so small in the scheme of things, but that through meditation and prayer, you’re able to get through hard things and remain calm because of it. Calm Birth helps us realize the importance of doing a daily meditation or prayer.
Anna H.: Do you feel like you’ll continue to use these methods you’ve used?
Ana: Yes! Parenting can be really stressful. Having little ones and trying to give them the best and to have patience, to talk to them nicely when they’re screaming at you, or when they all need something at the same time, breathing the way Calm Birth teaches really helps you have patience and be nice to your kids. Even when you’re tired and having a hard time, you can just stop and remember and breathe; you can talk to them in a different way. If you don’t, you can get stressed and yell at them, and then you feel bad because of that! I use calm breathing all the time. When I was pregnant I practiced it to a point that that was how I wanted to breathe all the time, not just during pregnancy and not just during birth, because I’m more calm, more relaxed, and healthier! I feel like I have more air coming into my body. I realized how different I was breathing before, how shallow and how I wasn’t getting enough air. Now I don’t think about breathing like this… when I stop and think about it, I always realize that I am breathing like this.
I think anyone could benefit from this. I mean, if you think about it, the littlest thing like breathing can change a lot! One of my cousins does a lot of meditation, and he said, “Have you noticed how babies breathe? And that we don’t breathe the same way, and that we should?” And I didn’t practice it, and I didn’t think about it, until this class! And if you think about it, we come to this planet knowing how to breathe, but then we grow older and we switch it… things happen, and we start breathing differently, and whether we see it or not, it has a huge impact in our bodies, in our selves! It’s wonderful to see how something so little can change so much.
Meditation during pregnancy, or prenatal meditation, can have a positive effect not just on both parents, but on the development of the infant as well.Read More
The first study, to my knowledge, of the effect of prenatal meditation’s effect on the behavior of the infant was released last year by an obstetrician in Hong Kong. This experiment recruited 64 pregnant Chinese women to learn meditation, with 59 women in a non-meditating control group. The meditation practices included mindfulness, compassionate meditation, mindful breathing, and progressive relaxation, which are also, fittingly enough, techniques that we implement in Calm Birth®.
Maternal salivary cortisol levels and mental-well-being were assessed periodically throughout the pregnancy and after delivery. As expected, salivary cortisol was lower in the meditation group. This measurement is fairly common in studies concerned with prenatal stress. What Dr. Chan did that sets this study apart from the others was to take a measurement of cortisol from the cord blood after delivery and compare the meditation group’s cortisol levels to the control group. He found that the cord blood cortisol levels of babies from the meditation group were higher than those in the control. While this may seem counterintuitive, a higher level of cortisol is actually beneficial in this case: it means that the babies were well prepared for the natural stress of birth, which prepares them to be alert upon entering the world. A more balanced endocrine system, which develops in a less stressful environment, enables an individual to have more appropriate stress responses, instead of a consistently elevated level of cortisol.
At five months, infant temperament was assessed using the Carey Infant Temperament Questionnaire. Statistically significant findings indicated that infants of the meditation group had more positive responses to new stimuli and “better temperament.”
The findings are clearly in support of prenatal meditation having a positive effect on the mother and offspring. This study is exciting, and hopefully will be the first of many. A plethora of research has indicated the negative effects of maternal stress on the child, but now scientists are beginning to explore the nonpharmacological interventions to counteract stress and prepare women to birth and live in a more balanced way.
Calm Birth has long been supported by scientific evidence, but studies like this reaffirm the importance of meditation in childbirth. The age of empowered birth is here, and we are happy to help usher it in.
If you want to know more about Dr. Chan’s study, you can read the full text at this link:http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0163638314000733