During pregnancy, many expecting mothers can start to feel as though all the Earth’s gravity is weighing them down. With another life growing inside them, and the extra weight that the body takes on to care for this growing life, it’s easy to understand feeling cumbersome, sore, and exhausted. In fact, it’s a common experience among pregnant mothers to dream of being weightless; flying, floating, or otherwise being totally untethered by gravity are often reported by those who just want to feel a bit of relief.
There are many benefits that floating can offer expecting mothers. Before you float during pregnancy, always get approval from your doctor. Every pregnancy is unique, and your specific situation should be evaluated by the health care professional that knows your pregnancy best before you enter a floatation tank. Once you’ve received the okay, you can experience some of the amazing benefits that floating can offer.
Physical Relief for Spine and Pelvis
During the third trimester, it’s often the case that pregnant mothers cannot lie on their back at all. The weight of the baby pressing down on the spine and pelvis is highly uncomfortable, and can cause medical issues in certain mothers. However, floating offers a neutral space where the baby is floating freely inside of you, just as you are floating freely inside the tank. This means that, with a doctor’s permission, you may be able to finally have that nap on your back that you’ve been dreaming of for weeks.
Even if your doctor doesn’t okay floating on your back, floating on your stomach (with a pillow to support your upper body out of the water) can still offer physical relief for the pain that is often experienced in the pelvis and lower back. Without the downward pull of gravity, and the weight of the baby pressing downward, your whole body gets a break from the physical stress it has been under since day one of conception.
Perceiving Baby Movements Differently
One of the amazing benefits of floating while pregnant is the change in the way you can perceive the baby’s movements. This can go two ways: for mothers in their second trimester, who haven’t become accustomed yet to feeling every little roll or hiccup, floating can actually allow you to feel all those minute movements. When the senses are released from processing all other stimuli, the body is no longer feeling weary from carrying extra weight, and gravity is no longer pulling on all the various organs and bone structures of the body, mothers can finally realize just how active their child truly is.
On the other hand, mothers in their third trimester, who are used to feeling a foot jammed against their diaphragm, weight pressed against their bladder, or the constant rolling and jostling of a growing baby that just can’t get comfortable in their ever-shrinking space – floating can offer both you and your baby an hour or so of sweet relief. When your body is fully relaxed and comfortable, without gravity pulling down on your womb or the baby, the baby may also feel as though they have more room, and relax right along with you.
Perceiving the Baby’s Experience
Another commonly reported experience from pregnant mothers is that during the floating session, they suddenly begin to perceive themselves as being within a large womb. The floatation tank, gently cradling or cocooning them in a dark, quiet, intimate space, is precisely what they realize their own baby must feel like within their own womb.
This experience can be a powerful one. Many mothers feel overwhelming emotions at being so connected to their baby in that moment. While this experience may not happen to every pregnant mother while floating, it is certainly something very special for those who do experience it.
Emotional and Mental Benefits
Floating can offer a sense of peace and renewed energy to anyone who floats, but for expecting mothers who are in a heightened state of emotion and anxiety as they prepare for a new child, these benefits can be life-saving. Post-partum depression is a sadly more common ailment than most people realize. During the highs and lows of pregnancy, the brain is producing a variety of hormones in varying levels to support two lives. It’s also reacting to the stress of planning ahead, or worrying ahead, about the new baby.
Then, when the child comes, the brain is still producing all those extra hormones, and still in “fight or flight” mode from the stress of pregnancy. This, along with a variety of sociological and other factors, can quickly lead to depression. As you can see, fighting post-partum depression often starts during the pregnancy itself. If you can pamper yourself with just an hour or two of quiet relaxation, giving yourself time to simply enjoy the fact that your body is performing a miracle, the reduced stress and the improved confidence is very likely to help you prevent the onset of post-partum depression.
Additionally, floating has clear connections to improved mental faculties as well. During the third trimester, it’s common for mothers to report feeling as though they are thinking through a fog. This feeling often continues after giving birth, when it’s frequently termed “Mommy Brain”. By allowing yourself this time away from distractions, where your brain can clear away any fogs and form stronger neural connections, you’ll be able to think more clearly and feel more confident in your mental ability when it comes to taking care of a new baby.
Don’t Forget Dad!
There’s one more benefit that floating can offer pregnant mothers, but it’s not what you think. By getting the soon-to-be Dad in for a floating experience, he’ll also feel calmer and more mentally alert. Imagine having two partners, both feeling relaxed, confident, and refreshed, when the baby comes. This will make the birthing process a beautiful bonding moment, rather than a tense and stressful time.
For these benefits and others, talk to your doctor about scheduling your own floating experience during your pregnancy.