Becoming a mama can be kind of scary. You’ve got a whole other person growing inside of you, and you’re freaking out about everything from those weirdo pregnancy pains to the big birth day to your new identity as mommy-to-be. For many expecting ladies, meditation can be the solution. It’s a totally natural way to de-stress and get back to the basics of relaxation. We talked to meditation expert Emily Fletcher from Expectful (an online community that helps pregnant women learn and practice meditation without ever having to leave home) about the benefits of zenning out.

1. Bountiful Benefits: So, you’re wondering how meditation can help you and your baby. Fletcher tells us, “During pregnancy, you are your baby’s connection to the outside world. Meaning, the way you feel, the emotions you have, and how you react to them create a blueprint for your baby to follow.” If you’re under a tremendous amount of stress, your baby may experience that stress too. Fletcher also says, “Meditation during pregnancy has been proven to decrease stress, boost immunity, help women to go full-term, get better sleep at night, and reduce pain during labor.” Who wouldn’t want that?

2. Creating Connections: Fletcher also notes that “mothers who use Expectful also report that one of the most enjoyable and surprising benefits of meditation during pregnancy is feeling more connected with their baby.” She goes on to add, “Meditation helps to turn down the volume on your critical mind and turn up the volume on your intuitive mind. This helps to sort out the relevant information in the constant stream of (sometimes) unsolicited advice that new moms face.”

3. The Research Base: Meditation isn’t something that pregnant mamas use just because — there’s plenty of research showing it’s a healthy choice. Fletcher tells us, “There are hundreds of studies that tell us that stress can negatively impact pregnancy. There are thousands of studies praising meditation as the most powerful stress-relieving tool around. So it makes sense that using meditation during pregnancy can help ailments that are exacerbated by prenatal stress.”

So, how does it really work? Fletcher explains, “Meditation quickly dissolves cortisol and adrenaline, which are acidic in nature. It then floods the brain and body with dopamine and serotonin, which we call bliss chemicals and are alkaline in nature. The more alkaline the body is, the more hospitable host it can be to the baby. Moving out of fight-or-flight can ease the adrenal glands, which allows your hormones to balance naturally. Having your hormones in check can make all the difference between a dream pregnancy and a challenging one.”

4. Doctor Dos: With all the research on the subject, it’s no surprise that, according to Fletcher, “The doctors that know about the benefits of meditation during pregnancy definitely recommend it to their patients.” It’s just a matter of getting the word out to expecting mamas who could potentially benefit.

5. Comfort and Care: You’ve got odd aches and plenty of pains, and you’re feeling nauseated… that doesn’t sound like a recipe for sitting in a stoic pose and meditating. But Fletcher says that comfort is key here. “Lots of people think they have to be a frozen statue during meditation, so expecting moms can assume it will be uncomfortable. We generally recommend sitting with your back supported and your neck free, but feel free to use pillows to support yourself and experiment with different postures.” As your pregnancy progresses, you’ll need to avoid laying on your back (that goes for meditating or anything else). Fletcher recommends “either sitting up or lying on your left side, if that’s more comfortable for you.”

Have you tried meditation during pregnancy? Share your experience and tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photo via Expectful)