New Delhi: Pregnancy is the most beautiful journey in a womens life, very real yet surreal, joyous yet a bit daunting, culminating into another life with unlimited potential for themselves and others. The changes a woman undergoes and the efforts she implements during the nine months helps her enjoy this period and do the best for the best outcome. The experiences and mental health of the woman during pregnancy and throughout are of utmost importance for the well-being of both the mother and her child. It is a key time to be caring for the mothers minds and mental attitudes.
Pregnancy is an extension of one's healthy wellbeing - healthy in the head and healthy in the body. Emphasis should be on being healthy - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Modern times with its fast pace of life and all the advancements, with its belief and dependency on shortcuts and quick fixes, adds to the mental stress in pregnancy which does have a negative effect on both the mother and the pregnancy outcome.
We need to move our focus from a very medicine centric to a holistic approach for better management. Let us take a step back and revisit the healthier way of improving mental health which directly affects the pregnancy progress. Happier mom's happier babies.
Neuroscientific studies have proven Meditation of any form helps pregnant women keep their stress down and their spirits up. It helps cultivate attention and awareness, and reductions in anxiety and negative feelings like hostility, depression, stress, and anxiety. It gives them the tools to navigate complex emotions that wouldn't budge, even in the face of the most reassuring reading material. They experience stronger and more frequent positive feelingsï¿½such as enjoyment, gratitude, and hope.
Yoga and exercise
Yoga provides holistic health benefits for to-be-mother. It helps keep the body supple. It helps you to breathe deeply and relax consciously and alleviate the effect of common symptoms such as morning sickness, painful leg cramps, swollen ankles, and constipation. It reduces tension and anxiety, helps regulate blood pressure and deeply relaxes every cell in the body, calms and relaxes the mind, maintains the body temperature and enhances the oxygen supply which helps with the baby's growth. Exercise helps maintain a balanced weight, blood pressure and sugars making the pregnancy healthier and the journey easier.
Faith and beliefs
Faith can be of help to most people giving them the strength to do the best they can, and to withstand the ups and downs of pregnancy with positivity.
Music therapy and hobbies
Listening to music can calm your mind and uplift your mood, which in turn helps lower your stress and anxiety. It can improve sleep quality and is beneficial in improving prenatal anxiety, reducing depression during pregnancy along stress. It has a calming and relaxing effect and can lower both the heart rate and blood pressure
Reiki is a Japanese touch therapy that can promote healing. It operates on the belief that everything in the universe is made up of energy and this life force energy flows around us and through us nourishing our cells, organs, and glands. When one's energy is low, imbalanced, or restricted by stress, injury, or illness, we are more susceptible to discomfort, further illness and disease. When one's energy is high or balanced, one is more likely to feel relaxed and the body's own innate healing abilities are awakened and utilized for healing. Chakra cleansing and activating make the energy system powerful improving Stress, Anxiety, Societal Pressure, Nausea, Mood swings and Sleep Deprivation. In addition to deep relaxation, Reiki can promote a reduction in muscle tension and pain. It can promote accelerated wound healing and wellness and a greater sense of well-being.
The right kind of natural food including antioxidants and micronutrients plays a very important role in managing ones mental and emotional balance and responses.
The natural antioxidants from plant materials mainly polyphenols, carotenoids, potassium and vitamins E and C increase the levels of serotonin which is directly related to the feeling of happiness and peace. It reduced the possibility of miscarriage, preeclampsia and IUGR and asthma exacerbations.
(Dr. Meeta Chawhan is Senior Consultant, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Bengaluru Whitefeild)