Can Mindfulness Help in Childbirth?

applying mindfulness during childbirth

Fear of childbirth is common for many first-time mothers. This fear erodes a pregnant woman’s confidence and has been proven to result in a more difficult labor, harder delivery outcomes and an increase in postpartum depression.

A recent study completed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of California-San Francisco examined how mindfulness can be used during childbirth as a way to deal with all aspects of birth, including pain.

What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness has been used for many years as a way for people to deal with chronic pain or stress.

Mindfulness techniques used during childbirth help women focus on their body’s sensations in the moment and accept those sensations and the feeling that comes with them.

Fear of Childbirth

The study focused on reducing fear of childbirth in first-time mothers through the use of mindfulness techniques.

Study participants were split into two groups. One group was a control group which took a regular childbirth class with no mindfulness training. The other group took a childbirth class which included mindfulness training called “Mind in Labor: Working with Pain in Childbirth.”

Techniques taught in the second group included mindful movement, walking meditation and pain coping strategies. They also received handouts and audio material about practicing mindfulness techniques.

Study Results

The study found that mindfulness training resulted in better childbirth outcomes and less severe postpartum depression.

“With mindfulness skills, women in our study reported feeling better able to cope with childbirth and they experienced improved mental well-being critical for healthy mother-infant adjustment in the first year of life,” said Larissa Duncan, UW–Madison professor of human development and family studies.

The study results also suggest that, although the rate of epidurals during childbirth was the same for the control group and the group that had training in mindfulness, the women with the mindfulness training took fewer narcotics during childbirth.

The compassionate maternity care team at All About Women is here to answer any questions you have about childbirth and pain management during pregnancy and labor. Schedule an appointment today at our Gainesville or Lake City office.