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Could having a “mind coach” on demand be the key to a healthier pregnancy?

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Photo: Alex Kate Knight

As a Pilates instructor, fitness model, and founder of the buzzy Australian-inspired cafe chain Bluestone Lane, Alexandra Kate Knight keeps busy—even more so now that she’s 25-weeks pregnant. Needless to say, as a first-time mom-to-be, the Aussie has plenty on her mind.

In an effort to feel as mentally prepared as she is physically, Knight road-tested a meditation app designed specifically for pregnancy. Here’s what happened when she tried having an “on-demand mind coach” for a trimester. 

Go-to digital guru: Expectful, a new meditation app for moms-to-be that launched this week.

Photo: Expectful

What made me want to take a, ahem, pregnant pause to meditate: I know how to be fit and well as “Alexandra,” but it’s a whole different scope of things being healthy with “Alexandra and baby on board.” Stressful isn’t the right word, but there’s a lot of thinking—and double-guessing—that goes along with it. It’s one of the most critical times to be able to be at peace with yourself, to know how to shut off the negative voices, to know how to empower from within.

How the first session went: I downloaded the app when I was 14 weeks pregnant (I’m now 25 weeks), and I remember one of the most therapeutic experiences I had using it was actually the very first time—maybe because it was all new and I decided to throw myself into it. They say not to lie down, but I just felt really tired…so I actually did anyway! I found the voice of the woman really calming.

What to expect (from your meditation app) when you’re expecting: I used the app probably 4–5 times a week. There are options of 10- or 20-minute sessions. Having to juggle three different careers, I started by doing 10-minute meditations, and that worked best for me. I jumbled around with the type of meditations I chose—there’s even a couple’s meditation, which I did conduct with my partner…once. My husband’s the one who usually finds it hard to sit still, so I was really excited when he was into the idea of trying the app out together. I also like the explanations at the top before you engage in choosing which meditation to go with. (Options include “Happiness for your baby”, “Relax”, and different categories like that.)

How this pocket-sized spiritual leader compares to Siri: The app normalizes pregnancy, which made me feel really good—it just gives you the affirmative, like, “It’s okay to be [busy and stressed], but now we’re going to work on just being still to get some clarity.” To hear that from someone else gave me a lot of comfort. I feel softer, more empowered, and more in control after I meditate.

“It’s okay to be [busy and stressed], but now we’re going to work on just being still to get some clarity.”

Also, I find my energy is more of a struggle in the afternoon—when I get a bit tired, my nausea is coming back, or my mind is just racing more—so I really liked engaging my practice somewhere between 3:30–6 p.m. It helps give me an extra boost to power through my evening, get some clarity, and just chill out a little bit.

Did you find the app’s prenatal niche made a difference to your meditation: I often find I just keep going on and on, and forget the change in my body requires a change in my normal day-to-day life. It kept me accountable for this me time. There are a lot of apps out there; however, this being pregnancy-focused was lovely. Some of the words and sayings spoke to me so deeply.

Biggest lesson I took away from my virtual cushion time: To me, when people talk about their birth plan or how they wish to get through the last part—you know things get uncomfortable—meditation is going to be where I really, really engage most of my powers. That’s because I don’t want to exercise really hard toward the end. I really want to work the strength of my mind.

Meditation isn’t just beneficial for moms-to-be. Here’s how anyone can use mindfulness for a morning mood boost and to de-stress in under a minute