All four seasons bring their own unique ways in which we connect with nature. Connecting with nature is a wonderful thing to do anytime, but especially when pregnant as it can bring lots of gentle benefits.
Nature is calming
Nature’s wonderfully calming effect on our minds and bodies can help promote relaxation and a sense of wellbeing. There’s something so beautifully grounding about walking barefoot on grass or a beach, or even just taking time out under the shade of a tree.
During pregnancy, the physical and hormonal changes taking place in a woman’s body coupled with the anticipation of impending parenthood can lead to increased stress. Spending time in nature, whatever your version of that may be, can help reduce stress levels. Less stress on mum means less stress on bub.
Nature can boost Serotonin and improve mood
On top of being calming, nature can also help elevate mood and enhance overall wellbeing. Fresh air, sunlight and the natural beauty of nature can all boost Serotonin levels. Also known as our ‘feel good’ hormone, Serotonin helps to alleviate pregnancy-related mood shifts and promotes a positive outlook. So, head on outside whenever you’re feeling flat or in need of a natural boost. Nature is there waiting to support you.
Sunlight gives us Vitamin D
We talked about Vitamin D in our blog about seasonal affective disorder, and how wonderful it is for supporting our mental health. Exposure to sunlight brings so many benefits, not the least is that it enables our bodies to produce Vitamin D, which is also essential for bone health and immune function. For pregnant women, spending time in sunlight helps ensure Vitamin D requirements are met, which supports not only their own wellbeing, but also development of baby.
Nature helps us sleep better
Regular exposure to natural light and being outdoors can help regulate our bodies’ circadian rhythm to promote better sleep patterns. Sleep can be a little challenging during pregnancy, so anything pregnant women can do to improve sleep will help better support them through hormonal changes and physical discomfort.
Nature can help with baby brain
Most pregnant women will experience ‘baby brain’, or ‘mumnesia’. This is when pregnant women experience cognitive or lapses in memory, attention, and concentration. While not fully understood, baby brain is believed to be influenced by hormonal changes, fatigue, increased stress, and the emotional and physical demands of pregnancy.
Nature has been shown to improve cognitive function, attention span, and focus. While it may not completely resolve baby brain, it will certainly help aid expectant mothers’ memory, planning, and organising tasks capability.
Connecting with nature through meditation
Sure, getting out and smelling the roses, or sitting under a tree and whiling the afternoon away sounds fabulous, but isn’t always practical. We still have lives to live, jobs to do, family to attend to, and so on. But this doesn’t mean we can’t still connect with nature in other ways, and meditation is a wonderful way to disconnect from the hubbub of life and connect with the tranquility of nature to calm the mind and just have a moment to ourselves.
You don’t need to be a Zen master or yogi to meditate. In fact, you don’t need any experience at all. Just a willingness to give it a go and receive the wonderful benefits of mindfulness. YouTube is a great source for free guided meditations of varying lengths and desired outcomes. Or, you can simply do your own visualisations. Here’s a quick one of our favourites:
Find a comfortable seated position. Outside if you can, but really just find a quiet spot where you can relax. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. In, hold, out, hold. And repeat. Imagine roots extending from the base of your spine deep into the earth. Visualise the energy of the earth flowing up through your roots and all through your body. Allow the energy to bring you a sense of grounding and stability. Feel a sense of connection and support from the earth beneath you and allow the feelings of tranquility and balance to wash over you.
Nature is here to support us in its own gentle way
We can all benefit from nature’s gentle support, pregnant or otherwise. In today’s busy world it can feel like we never really stop, so it’s understandable to feel a little overwhelmed and extra tired if you have the addition of growing a little human in your belly. Just remember, the lovely support and energy you will receive from spending moments in nature will all help your pregnancy journey.