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  • Writer's pictureDr. Shaenor Ishmael

Mindful Pregnancy Planning: How to Prepare for the Journey Ahead

Updated: Apr 8

Pregnancy is a life-changing event that brings joy, excitement, and anticipation. But it can also bring stress, anxiety, and uncertainty. How can you cope with these emotions and

prepare for the changes ahead? One way is to practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the act of paying attention to the present moment, without judgment or distraction. It can help you reduce stress, improve your mood, and enhance your well-being. Mindfulness can also help you connect with your body, your baby, and your partner.

In this article, we will explore how you can incorporate mindfulness practices into your preconception and pregnancy planning. We will also share some tips on how to prepare emotionally for the journey ahead.

Mindfulness Practices for Preconception and Pregnancy Planning

Mindfulness practices are simple and accessible ways to cultivate awareness, calmness, and compassion. You can practice them anytime, anywhere, and with anyone.

Here are some examples of mindfulness practices that you can try:

  • Breathing exercises: Breathing is the most basic and essential function of life. By focusing on your breath, you can anchor yourself in the present moment and calm your nervous system. You can practice breathing exercises by inhaling deeply through your nose and exhaling slowly through your mouth. You can also count your breaths, or follow a guided breathing meditation.

  • Body scan: A body scan is a way of scanning your body for sensations, such as tension, pain, or warmth. You can practice doing a body scan by lying down or sitting comfortably, and bringing your attention to each part of your body, starting from your toes and moving up to your head. You can notice how each part feels, without trying to change or judge anything. You can also thank each part of your body for its function and role.

  • Mindful movement: Mindful movement is a way of moving your body with awareness and intention. You can practice mindful movement by doing gentle exercises, such as yoga, tai chi, or stretching. You can pay attention to how your body moves, how your muscles contract and relax, and how your breath flows. You can also listen to your body and respect its limits and needs.

  • Gratitude journal: A gratitude journal is a way of expressing appreciation for the things that you have in your life, such as your health, your family, or your friends. You can practice gratitude journaling by writing down three things that you are grateful for each day. You can also write down why you are grateful for them, and how they make you feel. You can also read your gratitude journal entries from time to time, and savor the positive emotions that they evoke.

Tips for Preparing Emotionally for the Journey Ahead

Preparing emotionally for pregnancy and parenthood is not always easy. You may have mixed feelings, doubts, or fears. You may also face challenges, such as infertility, miscarriage, or complications. How can you cope with these emotions and challenges, and prepare for the journey ahead?

Here are some tips that may help:

  • Seek support: You are not alone in this journey. You can seek support from your partner, your family, your friends, mental health provider or your healthcare provider. You can also join a support group, an online community, or a class for expectant or new parents. You can share your feelings, experiences, and concerns with others who understand and empathize with you. You can also ask for help when you need it, and offer help when you can.

  • Educate yourself: Knowledge is power. You can educate yourself about the stages of pregnancy, the development of your baby, and the changes that you will go through (physically, medically, and mentally). You can also learn about the options and choices that you have for your prenatal care, your labor and delivery, and your postpartum care. You can read books, articles, or blogs, watch videos, or listen to podcasts. You can also attend workshops, webinars, or courses. You can also ask questions, and seek reliable and evidence-based information.

  • Plan ahead: Planning ahead can help you feel more prepared and confident. You can plan ahead by setting goals, making decisions, and taking actions. Plan ahead by creating a budget, a checklist, or a timeline. By preparing your home, your work, and your lifestyle for the arrival of your baby, you can anticipate potential challenges, and brainstorm solutions or alternatives. Planning ahead also ensures you have adequate support postpartum. This can include a mental health provider, a doula, and lactation specialist, and/or a pelvic floor physical therapist.

  • Be flexible: Planning ahead is important, but so is being flexible. You may encounter unexpected situations, changes, or surprises along the way. It may be necessary to adapt your plans, expectations, or preferences, and handle uncertainty, ambiguity, or unpredictability. Stay open-minded, adaptable, and resilient to remain flexible. Embrace what you cannot control, and concentrate on what you can. Look for the silver lining, humor, or lesson in each situation to enhance your flexibility.

Mindful pregnancy planning is a way of preparing for the journey ahead with awareness, calmness, and compassion. By incorporating mindfulness practices into your preconception and pregnancy planning, you can reduce stress, improve your mood, and enhance your well-being. You can also prepare emotionally for the changes ahead by seeking support, educating yourself, planning ahead, and being flexible.

You are not alone. If you're feeling overwhelmed, make the bold step of seeking professional help.

Get in touch with us.

Tel. 407-494-6165

Dr. Shaenor Ishmael

Maternal Mental Health Therapist

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