Mothers have different things to say about pregnancy. Some women went through so much pain that they only want to experience childbirth once in this lifetime and discourage their colleagues from having kids. Other mamas, on the one hand, are more goal-oriented than that and don’t mind going through the process over and over if that means their brood will expand. Read more
Category: Pregnancy Care
Delivering a human being into the world is a unique experience for every mother. Dr. Elizabeth Pearce, PsyD explains that “Research shows that there are several personal factors, unique to each birthing person, that can affect how she experiences labor.” Some had it easy, to the extent that the baby’s head was out as soon as the water broke, indicating that he or she is ready to leave the womb stat. Others, however, can be in labor for over 24 hours and require medical intervention to birth the child successfully. Research shows that there are several personal factors, unique to each birthing person, that can affect how she experiences labor.Read more
In almost every article I wrote here about healthy pregnancy, I can’t tell how many times I recommended pulling all the stops and just relaxing until childbirth. Frankly speaking, it matters so much since your body is already working 24/7, ensuring that your unborn baby stays protected and nurtured in your womb. If you do other physically, emotionally, and mentally taxing activities outside of that, it may push your system to release more cortisol, which may be unfavorable in your current condition. Regardless of that, I know that it can’t be easy for everyone to lie-low and delegate most of their tasks to others from the beginning of the pregnancy. That’s often the case as well when you’re a team leader or the boss of a growing company. Thus, what I can advise is to take some precautionary measures to stay productive at work and taking care of the fetus in your tummy. Here’s how you can accomplish that.
Inform Colleagues About Your State The primary thing you’ll want to do is let your staff know that you’re in the family way. Some tend not to do that because they don’t wish others to see it as their handicap. However, it’s important to tell them the baby news immediately to avoid being in tight situations, e.g., having to work overtime, being around smoking people, etc.
“Dealing with the complete exhaustion of the first trimester was really the beginning of my realizing that my work–life balance was already starting to shift,” says Houston clinical psychologist Kay Hurlock Brumbaugh, PsyD.
Manage Stress Well Pregnancy is the best time to learn meditation and various breathing methods. You see, being able to quiet down your mind will allow you to handle stress efficiently. According to Christina G. Hibbert, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and expert in postpartum mental health. “Many women ignore or deny feelings of stress, but it simply piles up until you feel like you’re going to explode or implode.”
You’ll need that trick to stay zen – and sane – especially when you’re still not on maternity leave. Not to mention, it may come in handy once you go into labor.
Eat On Time Having to “eat for two” if you are pregnant is merely a myth. Despite that, however, make sure that you grab a bite often to stay healthy and active at work. The reason is that pregnancy itself causes your energy levels to deplete faster than usual. Once you have to move here and there and finish other tasks too during the day, you may feel exhausted before it’s even lunchtime. Again, it’s better to inform your colleagues about your condition early so that they won’t think you’re incompetent in keeping food on your desk at all times.
Get Rid Of Nauseous Stuff The first trimester can be challenging for working expectant mothers due to the hormonal changes you’re going through at the moment. It’s great if you have an office just for yourself. But in case you don’t, then you’ll have to deal with different smells and noises coming from the workers around you. What you may do at this point is to avoid the things that can make you nauseous. If you’re about to cross paths with someone eating a burrito or drinking coffee, for instance, and you know that even the sight of that can turn your stomach upside down, retreat until the coast is clear. The triggering factors are not the same for all, unfortunately, so you need to find what causes your morning sickness on your own. Walk Regularly Considering you have a desk job, it’s also necessary for you to have regular walks around the office. Walking is the most accessible type of exercise, to be honest. Not doing so may leave your ankles swollen or too unfit to even climb a single flight of stairs.
“Even if mothers were not active before becoming pregnant, they should strive to go on walks for at least 20 minutes, four times a week,” suggests Dr. Jennifer Wu, an OB-GYN at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.
Let’s talk about a couple of truths here for a minute, shall we? One, all women wish to bear a child at one point in their life. Two, not many of them end up having one even if they can, biologically speaking. Why you may ask? Apart from possibly being unable to find a husband-material type of a man, it’s because they don’t want to halt whatever they’re doing now and go on maternity leave. In reality, however, there’s no other way around it. You can’t have stress when you’re in the family way, so you need to prioritize your pregnancy and drop any work instantly if necessary. In case you’re still looking for the answers as to why that’s important, view the reasons below.
- It Can Affect The Baby’s Brain Function
Although the entire medical society is still at crossroads about it, some scientists revealed via studies that a high level of stress hurts a child’s brain development. It appears that cortisol, the hormone that the body releases when you’re under much tension, can seep through the amniotic sac during the second trimester. That is the time when the brain of the fetus starts to take shape; that’s why it matters not to disturb the process. But it – the disturbance – is what happens when the mother feels stressed out, unfortunately. While you and your OB-GYN may not see it once you get a check-up, it may become apparent after childbirth. After all, people believe that the issue is among the probable causes of autism, low IQ and EQ, and various psychological conditions in kids.
- It Deteriorates Your Immune System
Excessive stress can’t be good for you as well since it lowers your immunity against diseases and allergens. Even without being in this situation, your immune system is already not that high as you’re sharing it with the unborn baby. Hence, it’s easy for bacteria and viruses to wreak havoc in your life. Now, imagine what can occur when you’re often dealing with very stressful stuff. The halved immunity goes down some more, and you may catch the flu as soon as someone sneezes a few feet away from you. It makes you depressed and tired too, which may enable you to make unhealthy life decisions. If that circumstance lingers, the medical practitioner may prescribe bed rest to prevent you from endangering yourself and the fetus.
- It Might Cause Premature Labor
The extreme amount of cortisol that may enter the womb if you’re under a lot of pressure does not just affect the brain function of the child. This hormone, in fact, can also trigger the placenta to produce compounds that only come out when you are due to give birth. As much as you probably want the pregnancy to end, it’s not favorable to go into premature labor at any time within those nine months. The baby stays incubated in the womb for that long for one reason: to ensure that all their internal organs are ready for the delivery. In case stress shortens that period, it will most likely cause premature labor and have life-threatening effects on your lives.
Teen pregnancy is a devastating condition, but tables are slowly turning. During the 2014 San Francisco Pregnancy Symposium, essential facts were discussed especially the decline of teen birth rate, which is excellent news.Read more
Pregnancy, regardless of how the baby is conceived, is the most beautiful thing in the world. You have a life growing inside you, and so you have to do whatever it takes to keep it healthy. The best way you can do that is by having great eating plans during your whole pregnancy.
You can ask your doctor about it, and they can attest to the importance of eating healthy for you and the child in your womb. As you know, you are your baby’s only source of nutrition, so everything you ingest will be given to him or her, too. If you keep on eating a burger, ice cream, and bag of chips, your baby will get a minimal amount of nutrients, which is not good at all. Even though a pregnant woman is said to be allowed to eat whatever she wants, you should be your food police and try to eat healthier foods than crappy ones.
Here are some tips on how to be healthy during your pregnancy.
Embrace Your Weight
It is quite impossible during pregnancy not to gain weight; that’s why you should embrace it and eat whenever you feel hungry. However, try not to do it to the point that you cannot breathe anymore or digest your meal. Your breakfast should be your heaviest meal, especially if you are still working. This way, you and your baby both have enough energy for most of the morning. After that, consume fruits, leafy vegetables, and dairy products in two-hour intervals to keep your hunger satiated.
According to Alexis Conason, Psy.D, “ Policing women’s bodies during pregnancy is not working. Our singular obsession with weight comes at the expense of health. Pregnancy is a vulnerable time for women, one in which we need support from our health professionals to accept our changing bodies, minimize stress, and work towards holistic wellbeing. Health is about so much more than the numbers on the scale.”
Stay Away From Junk Foods
Like I have said earlier, crappy or junk food is bad for your baby. Try to eat less of that; if you can, avoid buying it totally and concentrate on nutritious food. Remember that things are different this time, considering you are no longer eating for yourself now. There is another life depending on you, and you have to make great food choices so that your child will be born healthy. There have been cases before of irresponsible pregnant women whose babies have come out with congenital problems, and you surely do not want that to happen.
According to Associate Professor Felice Jacka,Ph.D, researcher at the IMPACT Strategic Research Center at Deakin University, “unhealthy and ‘junk’ foods may have an impact on the risk for mental health problems in children, and they add to the growing body of evidence on the impact of unhealthy diets on the risk for depression, anxiety and even dementia.”
Aside from junk food, stay away from carbonated drinks since they contain lots of sugar that you do not need. Water is what you should drink because it is neutral and helps flush out all the dirt in your body.
Working out is essential even when for expectant mothers. If you have a delicate pregnancy, then it will be best if you skip it altogether. But if everything is going well for you, you can do light exercises that will not shake your womb too much.
According to Dr. Raul Artal, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at St. Louis University “Pregnancy should not be looked at as a state of confinement. In fact, it is an ideal time for lifestyle modification.”
Walking and yoga are a couple of things that you can try. I know that pregnancy can make you sleepy all day, but you sometimes have to fight the urge to stay in bed and move around the house a bit to keep your blood flowing. Besides, being physically fit can make your birthing experience so much better.
Being pregnant is what a lot of women — if not all — wish to experience someday. If you are expecting at this moment, take good care of your child by eating healthy during and even after your pregnancy. If it is not a hassle, take time a moment to visit BetterHelp.com for more inspiring articles. You will find a lot of helpful tips there that can ensure not only your physical, but also your mental and emotional health as well.
I am writing this blog after reading a book that a friend-slash-aspiring-writer sent to me. As technically her “senior” in the field, she wanted me to be the first person to see it. Of course, I gladly accepted it and opened the book without even reading its description.
The story revolved around mafia romance. The heroine was forced to marry a cruel crime lord, and his mortal enemy saved her from him. After all their struggles, the villain died, and the main characters had a happy ending.
The book was entirely fictional, although the locations mentioned could genuinely serve as a house to mafias. It was not supposed to be relatable for me because I’m not even acquainted to a gang member. However, while reading, I felt the pain and happiness of the characters. I cried when they cried, I got mad when they were infuriated, and I felt content when the main characters found love. Simply put, the writer’s words managed to touch my soul.
Yes, reading good books does that to you. You may not foresee how lucky you are for having one in front of you, but it will occur to you soon when there are no more pages left. That is the therapeutic effect of reading that no amount of massages and medication can mirror. Holly Parker, PhD, wrote, “In a 2018 study, researchers reviewed experiments on the effect of reading fiction. They found that it modestly improves people’s capacity to understand and mentally react to other individuals and social situations. And by and large, that was after reading a single story.”
If you are pregnant, reading is one of the hobbies that you can pick up as well. I know that violence-related books may not be the best ones to read at the moment, but there are a lot of parenting and self-help options that you can find. “Educate yourself,” suggests Alice Boyes, PhD. “What’s important will depend on your personality and needs. For example, if you’re an anxious overachiever you’ll need to learn skills tailored to that.”
Doing so will allow you to:
Great authors have the power to pull you into a different world that they have created in their books. It is an effective trick to get away from the people or tasks that stress you out. Thus, instead of putting your baby in distress, you can crack your favorite book and read for as long as you need.
Improve Your Memory
Considering you are among the expectant mothers who experience brain fog, you may like to know that reading can improve your memory. When you do this activity, after all, it will be impossible for you not to remember at least a tiny portion of the book. And the more you read, the more your memory can function.
Find Inner Peace
A book can give you inner peace, especially if you get the ones that hold the answer to your worries. For instance, in case you know nothing about being a mother, you can read child-rearing books. If you are afraid of childbirth, you can read about that, too.
Bond With Your Unborn Child
Reading out loud is recommended when you are pregnant, too. At a particular stage, the baby in your womb will be able to hear you, so it will be excellent if you can read to them. It can serve as an early bonding moment between you and your unborn child.
Reading is among the most valuable activities that you can try, dear momma. It can also feed your soul, which is something that not a lot of hobbies can do. Pick up a book that you are interested in to understand what I’m talking about. Hobbies such as reading are a huge deal, and according to Jaime L. Kurtz, PhD, “These activities are more than merely distracting. They remind you that that are many facets to your self-concept.”
When I was pregnant with my first child, the things I could do were minimal. In the morning, I would walk around the house for 15 minutes before breakfast. That would serve as my exercise to keep my feet from swelling. After lunch, I would nap for an hour and then take a quick shower. Once dinnertime’s over, my husband and I would do a movie marathon at night and fall asleep that way. In short, life’s good for the momma.
During one of those lazy nights, I came across a not-so-old movie called Enchanted. It’s about a princess from a fairy tale who winded up in the real world (in New York, to be specific). She’s a very musical person, in the sense that she would always sing and sometimes even dance. The animals loved her as well. But what stuck with me while watching the movie was the lyrics, “How does she know you love her?”
I got that the song was about romantic love, but it still made me wonder how I could express my feelings for my unborn child. I heard that the babies in the womb could hear at a certain point, but it was not enough to show my love.
In case you are looking for a way to do the same, let me share to you the things I did.
Take Care Of Yourself
The ultimate expression of love towards your unborn son or daughter is taking care of yourself 24/7. After all, you are connected to your baby. Besides, it is your responsibility as a mother to carry them to full term to lessen the infant’s chances of developing congenital diseases.
Get Rid Of Stressors
Remember that your baby will feel every emotion that you will have. If you are happy, they may be dancing and kicking around in your belly. In case you always feel sad, though, the child will also be in distress. For this reason, you need to cut ties with the people or activities that stress you out.
Practice mindfulness during pregnancy. According to Kristen Scarlett, LMHC, “Practicing awareness around your thoughts and feelings is an important skill for anyone, not just expectant mothers. While meditation and mindfulness may not combat severe symptoms, learning to tune into your thoughts and feelings may help you cope.”
“Our study suggests that expecting mothers can have major impact on the long-term metabolic health of their children by properly controlling nutrition during this critical developmental period of the offspring,” says Tamas Horvath, DVM, PhD, of the Yale University School of Medicine.
Sticking to healthy meals is another way to show your love for your son or daughter. As mentioned earlier, anything that you feel, your baby will feel, too. The same idea goes for the foods that you eat – whatever you ingest; they can taste as well. Considering you don’t want the unborn child to taste junk food yet and get no nutrition from it. Therefore, you need to eat healthily.
Rest Some More
You can tell from the introduction how much rest I was getting when I was pregnant. After thinking about expressing my love for my baby, though, I made sure to feel more relaxed. In truth, I started doing meditation and pregnancy yoga. “Studies on the effects during pregnancy of the combination of yoga and tai chi, and yoga and massage therapy, have also revealed positive impacts on parents-to-be,” wrote Ann Diamond Weinstein, PhD.
I would get massages as well to relieve my aching muscles. These were the simple measures I could take to guarantee that my unborn baby’s having a great time and growing well in my womb.
Loving your son or daughter more than anything in the world before even meeting him or her is not a sin. It is a natural feeling that you get when you know that you are about to come full circle because of their arrival. Thus, don’t hesitate to do everything in your power so that the baby knows how loved they are from the start.
As a woman who has experienced becoming a mother twice, I can tell you that the fluctuating hormonal level is not the only reason why expectant moms get super emotional, to the extent that their husbands or parents want to take them to a therapist. Some couples, after all, are not blessed with a stable source of income, so the mommy-to-be cannot help but wonder how they are going to feed and clothe their child without having to rely on charity. Other women who have had to split with the father of their baby before even giving birth may still be hurting emotionally because of their fate or feeling afraid of having to raise a kid on their own.
I am pretty sure that you have heard of what I am about to say a hundred times, but I will tell you again: stop worrying so much about everything. You may not have enough money to support your child through college, but you should let the man in the house think of how to provide for the family. You may be a single mom, but there’s no doubt that you have friends or relatives who do not mind serving as your financial crutch and confidante while you are in no position to work overtime to make money for your unborn kid. Your main priority at this point should be your health because your child is dependent on your every move to survive.
There’s no question about you wanting to have a healthy baby now, so here’s what you should do to make sure it happens.
1. Eat Healthily
Considering you already know that what you eat will somehow reach the child in your womb, you need to start being mindful of everything you ingest. I understand that you have some cravings and that pregnancy is one of the excuses that women use when they try to justify their detachment to a healthy lifestyle. However, you still need to maintain a balanced diet to make sure that you and your baby get all the nutrients you need. This will allow you to have more energy to carry your child to full term.
2. Take Prenatal Vitamins
Although you eat healthily three or four times a day, the reality is that you may still not be able to get all the vitamins and minerals that your body require to stay strong. For one, there is no way to guarantee how much iron, folic acid, and vitamin B and C you are getting with every spoonful of food. When you are dealing with morning sickness, you may not have the capacity as well to keep everything you eat in your stomach. Thus, you should ask your OB-GYN if he or she can prescribe prenatal vitamins to you that will supply the nutrients that you hardly get from your food.
3. Stay As Fit As Possible
Being pregnant and having a round belly does not entail that you can turn your back on exercising. In truth, a lot of medical experts say that working out regularly is essential if you want to deliver your baby in a normal way. Jennifer S. Haas, MD, and her team from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston”, reported, “Lack of exercise was strongly and consistently associated with poor health status before, during, and after pregnancy.”
Some fitness coaches have managed to put together a series of exercises that expectant mothers can do without worrying about their tummies getting squished. And if your pregnancy is too delicate for you to try moving too much, you can simply walk inside the house for at least five minutes and count that as your workout for the day.
4. Relax Your Body And Mind
When I say you need to relax your body and mind, I don’t mean that you should spend your entire day watching TV or munching on chips without a care in the world. You can look for a wellness center that offers massages to pregnant women, you see. That will help you deal with your tired legs and feet and make you feel pampered. If you do not want to spend to get some R&R, you merely have to try to the full for eight hours. This way, you can feel well-rested every day.
According to Ann Diamond Weinstein, PhD, “Finding healthy ways to reduce stress is an essential part of optimizing the health of mothers-to-be and the development of their babies from conception through the postnatal period.”
5. Don’t Stress Over Anything
Stress can do nothing but put you and your unborn child in danger. You may not be in the ideal situation now to avoid it, but you should try anyway. Neither of you deserves to have your lives at risk just because you have allowed stressful things or people to affect you.
Should you need professional help, you can always consult with a therapist. “Working one-on-one with a trained therapist can be a critical method for overcoming negative thoughts and feelings — during pregnancy and any other time in life,” wrote Kristen Scarlett, LMHC.
Being able to carry a baby in your womb is a blessing. A lot of women undergo different medical procedures to increase their chances of getting pregnant while you are already in that state. So, love yourself, take care of your unborn kids, and stop overthinking about the rest. Good luck!
The “baby blues” is a widespread occurrence for mothers who have just given birth. Psychology and biology play a role in the sadness and lethargy felt during the first few weeks after carrying a child. However, roughly one in ten mothers develop a more severe condition called postpartum depression, which can be enough to affect their daily activities significantly. Postpartum depression can strike anyone who recently had a child, and it is something everyone should take seriously. However, it can be managed and treated. Knowing what it is and how to defend against it will go a lot towards easing your transition from pregnancy to child-rearing. Origins Of Postpartum Depression Many factors influence the chances of becoming significantly depressed after giving birth. One main reason is biological, involving fluctuating hormone levels that occur within the first few days after childbirth. The amount of progesterone and estrogen circulating in the body increases during pregnancy, however, these levels drastically drop after birth, and experts believe that this can cause severe mood disturbances that contribute to depression.
Psychological factors also play a role. Mothers exposed to other stressors, such as being financially challenged, are more likely to develop the condition. A family history of depression or anxiety can also increase the risk. “Some factors that may place women at a higher risk for postpartum depression include low social support, history of depression or anxiety, and pregnancy or birth complications,” explains Lindsay Henderson, PsyD.
Finally, the act of caring for a newborn can be a significant factor. A newborn needs almost constant care and supervision, even during nighttime. Caring for such a young infant can take its toll on the parents, as they are forced to sacrifice their time to take care of their child. Mothers typically lose a lot of sleep during the first few weeks after giving birth, which can reduce their ability to resist the adverse effects of stress.
Symptoms And Effects The symptoms of postpartum depression are the combined effects of depression and general fatigue as a result of pregnancy and childbirth. Some of the more common symptoms are the following:
- mood swings
- lack of appetite
- consistent feelings of uselessness
- withdrawal from loved ones
- overwhelming feelings of sadness and anxiety
- frequent panic attacks
- thoughts of self-harm and suicide
If left untreated, postpartum depression can progress to postpartum psychosis, a severe condition where the patient loses touch with reality. This complication can endanger the lives of both the patient and other people around them.
Properly Dealing With Postpartum Depression Postpartum depression can be dangerous for mothers. Fortunately, there are many available methods to prevent or manage this mental condition. One of the most important steps is to get enough rest. Taking care of a newborn is exhausting, which is why you need as much rest as possible. Stress-induced by lack of rest only adds to your mental burdens. A well-balanced diet is also vital to supply enough nutrients to keep your mind and body at top condition. You may also have to avoid certain foods, such as drinks that have alcohol and caffeine. These psychoactive substances can drastically alter your mood, making you more emotionally unstable.
Exercise is another way to stave off depressive tendencies. Physical activity raises levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that elevates mood. Any form of movement, even something as simple as household chores, will help maintain physical and mental health. “I recommend starting light exercises like yoga early in postpartum period and to leave the house once a day for fresh air,” says Susan Park, MD.
You should also take the opportunity to bond closer with your spouse and your child. Social bonding also serves to lift your mood. Having someone to rely on also helps you cultivate a social support network, which is another defense against mental health disorders. “It doesn’t just affect moms. It’s a familial disease,” says Christina Hibbert, PsyD.
Depending on where you are comfortable, you might want to limit your social interactions to people who are close to you. This method may be useful in reducing social anxiety, which can aggravate your condition. However, feel free to contact your friends and loved ones, as well as to ask for their support. There might be days when you feel alright, as well as days when you feel awful. You should understand that this is normal, as postpartum depression does not manifest equally on all days. Some mothers think that this is a bad sign, and their worry contributes further to their high-stress levels. Avoid unnecessary fear by acknowledging that your condition will continuously change throughout the days.
Finally, do not hesitate and be afraid to ask for help. Postpartum depression does not go away on its own, and you will need professional health services to conquer this disease. You may be required to take medication and asked to attend counseling sessions. As long as you stick to your treatment plan, you will be able to prevent this condition from wreaking havoc on your life.
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