Your body is your friend. Really. Listen closely and it has a lot to tell you. The more you give to this relationship the more you get. Your body is you, and the most primal yet the most intellectual part of you. Pregnancy is often a time we feel divorced or separate from our bodies- bodies that are changing and growing a human, doing amazing things yet causing new sensations, aches and pains. It can even feel like our body has betrayed us when things don’t go as planned.
Your body contains your two brains- the intellectual prefrontal cortex and the primitive survival instinct lizard brain.
Your prefrontal cortex is the planner, the thinker, the logical higher part of the brain.
Your primitive lizard brain is there to keep you alive- send out those fight or flight signals and keep you alive.
So what is actually going on in there?
How can you tell when alarm bells are ringing? What is “normal”? As this is not a medical advice blog, I will leave you to review your specific concerns with your own obstetric care provider. However, the more we can get in tune with out bodies, the more obvious it is when things are not right.
Maternal intuition in pregnancy is important. We know moms sometimes know before anyone else when something is wrong during pregnancy. An “impending sense of doom” is actually a symptom of preeclampsia (among other things). So how do we know if it is something concerning or just anxiety? Anxiety can also be amplified in pregnancy as all our senses are heightened and the brain is receiving constant input from this. If you are truly concerned about something, the safest bet is to ask your doctor. There are truly no dumb questions. AND if you go in for a check up and are cleared- and still something isn’t right or changes or gets worse, there is no shame in going back in.
How do you listen? First get very still. Come into your body and out of your brain. Breathe. Do a body scan from head to toe- take stock of what you are feeling physically and emotionally.
In my previous post on feelings, we delved into processing emotions: https://www.erslifecoach.com/post/power-passenger-passage-love-letter-no-1-feelings. This is a great way to get into your body and differentiate between sensations created by emotion and physical sensations. When we are able to get calm and curious and examine what is going on it often results in clarity and discernment.
One thing that can help rein in the anxiety and fear, help you get into your body and help generate more peace is meditation. There are many types of meditation all easily accessible on your phone (Headspace, Youtube, Insight Timer, Calm, etc) and that is a blog subject for another time. Studies have shown that medication for even 10 min a day 1-2 times a week can significantly reduce anxiety in pregnancy.
Another good way to communicate with your body is to ask it what it needs- then get quiet and listen for the answer- does it need more rest? More food? Attention of some sort? Maybe some gentle stretching or prenatal yoga? Again, if you are feeling something alarming, please check with your OB provider.
Also, mental health is not to be ignored in pregnancy. There is no shame in needing counseling, medication or other mental health support. We know that uncontrolled depression and anxiety in pregnancy can lead to low birth weight, preterm delivery and other issues- not to mention the maternal and fetal consequences of suicidal ideation or self harm. Anxiety and depression can have physical manifestations. Getting help and support is critical.
Pregnancy, preconception and postpartum are all great times to really make a habit of making friends with your body. Your body needs your love and attention. Speak lovingly to and about your body. Give yourself lots of love and compassion. And if this seems confusing or difficult, I would be so happy to work with you on this through pregnancy coaching! You can book your free consult below:
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