Updated: Jun 4, 2018
By Pamela Woo.
Dr. Phang, I wish to share my experience in using mindfulness to cope with my pregnancy and labor.
During my pregnancy, I was very anxious as there was a little spotting and the doctor advised me not to drive long distance. But I had to drive from Klang to Putrajaya every day. So, I was nervous every time I drove, until I started to remind myself to stay mindful during my journey.
I noticed my stomach shrinking each time I got nervous. Then, I practiced deep and mindful breathing. That helped me a lot in reducing my driving anxiety throughout my pregnancy.
I started to feel labor pain on midnight. I habitually "fight against" the pain until I entered the labor room. It was a long and unpleasant wait...
Then, I started to adjust my breathing and mindfully told myself to accept the pain. I "instructed" my brain - remember - to relax my lower abdominal area each time the contraction came.
I believe this helped a lot as my cervical os dilated from 3 cm to 10 cm within three hours (there was only three cm dilation in the earlier seven hours). Even the doctor and midwife were shocked to notice the rapid progress in labor. I'm thankful for the mindfulness techniques during my whole pregnancy and labor. I think maybe you can expand the mindfulness practice to soon-to-be mommy. It helps!
Pamela is a clinical psychologist and graduate of the 5-weekly community MINDFULGym program (batch 10). She previously did her master in clinical psychology research on the effects of mindful breathing for patients with cancer in UKM Medical Centre.