You’ve heard a lot about—and maybe even practiced—prenatal yoga, but how about prenatal meditation? The makers of Expectful, a new app for women who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or adjusting to new motherhood, hope to make meditation for moms as common as prenatal vitamins.
"My mom grew up in a family that really struggled with the aftermath of the Holocaust," says Expectful's founder and CEO Mark Krassner, 33. "She immigrated to the U.S. from Israel at 16 and she struggled with anxiety and depression. Growing up with a mom like that, she didn’t always have the tools to show up in the way she wanted to. I didn’t realize the effect it had on my life until I started meditating. My mom struggled with a lot with stress—what if someone gave her a tool to make the practice of meditation easy? It would have made a difference in her life and my mine."
The Benefits of Meditation for Moms & Babies
Krassner started researching meditation during pregnancy and felt the content came up super short. "It really surprised me. There is so much focus on women's bodies and so little on their minds," he says. He also began researching the hundreds of studies on the science of mindfulness and meditation, as well as the effects that stress and anxiety can have on all phases of the reproductive journey. He found evidence that meditation has a ton of benefits for mom and baby, including:
- enhancing fertility
- balancing hormones
- reducing stress and anxiety during pregnancy
- helping moms form a greater connection with their partner and baby
- reducing the risk of preterm birth
- reducing pain during labor
- leading to more optimal infant outcomes
- reducing the risk of postpartum depression
The App: Expectful
Armed with this scientific evidence (and with the backing of leading obstetric and psychological researchers), Krassner reached out to meditation experts, hypnotherapists, and real-mom beta testers to craft meditations to help hopeful, expectant, and new moms with their unique mental and physical challenges. The end result was Expectful, which provides 10- and 20-minute meditations for women and their partners to support them through preconception, each trimester of pregnancy, and motherhood.
Christina Barger, 31, of Pennsylvania, used Expectful while she was trying to conceive after having two miscarriages. She also used it throughout her pregnancy and after childbirth. "I started using Expectful after I had two miscarriages back to back," she shares. "The anxiety was unbearable, and the thought of never having another baby was all-consuming. Expectful's meditation helped me stay present and clear my mind each night before bed. Within just a couple months of meditating I conceived again, but with pregnancy came a whole new set of anxieties about the possibility of losing the baby. I knew that staying calm would help, so I used Expectful for sleep every night. As my pregnancy progressed, the anxiety of losing my little one diminished, but my blood pressure rose with high work demands. So I started doing Expectful's meditation at work as well to decrease my blood pressure and help prevent hospitalization. It helped wonderfully." Barger turned to Expectful again after her baby was born. "Once my baby was born I forgot about myself and got wrapped up in my baby for a good 4 weeks or so. Those were the most stressful weeks I had had in about a year. Finally I remembered that a happy mama means a happy baby, and I started back to meditating every night and my stress level is once again under control."
Curious how meditation can help you with your fertility and or pregnancy journey? Try these two 10-minute meditations from Expectful:
Trusting Your Journey: A Guided Meditation for Fertility
Meeting Your Baby: A Guided Meditation for Pregnancy
After a 14-day free trial, a subscription to Expectful is $9.99 a month. Learn more on Expectful.com.