HOW DOES MINDFULNESS SUPPORT PREGNANCY, BIRTH & PARENTHOOD?
What the research shows...
lower risk of unhealthy weight gain
And better control of gestational diabetes (22-23).
Decreasing the risk of difficulties during labour, preterm birth and long-term health problems for you and your baby (24-25).
improved immune function
Protecting you from coughs and colds during pregnancy (26-28).
Your immune system also plays an important role in embryo implantation and in initiating labour. Boosting your immune function for day-to-day health during pregnancy also benefits your baby when they receive a dose of your protective antibodies in the third trimester.
In your ability to cope with labour (37-39).
Mums who practice mindfulness also report feeling less fearful of labour in the later stages of pregnancy, more in control during labour, and more satisfied with their experience of birth (40-42).
promotes your baby's development
Socially, emotionally, cognitively and physically.
When mindfulness is practiced during pregnancy your baby is more likely to be born a healthy weight (49), display appropriate social skills at 4 months old (50) and a more relaxed temperament at 10 months old (51). Mindfulness is also proven to lower the levels of the stress hormone Cortisol (52), and high levels of Cortisol in pregnancy can effect your child's development, health and susceptibility to stress in later life (53-54).
lower blood pressure
Good news for lowering your risk of Preeclampsia! (29-31).
High blood pressure during pregnancy can also sometimes compromise the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients to your baby via the placenta, and it can increase the likelihood of you needing an assisted delivery (e.g. C-section/forceps) (32).
higher pain tolerance
During labour (33-35).
As suggested by fewer requests for artificial pain relief from mindful mums. Mindfulness will also increase your tolerance for pregnancy related pains given how successful it has been in supporting people to cope with a variety of pain conditions (36).
During labour (43-48).
Through its ability to lower stress and anxiety, mindfulness has the potential to reduce the risk of preterm birth, prolonged labour and assisted delivery (e.g. C-section/forceps & induction)...but also offers a way to cope with these complications if they do occur!
By encouraging patient, resilient and compassionate parents
who are in-tune with their baby's.
With mindfulness supporting your own health, wellbeing and resilience, you will be able to be more present with your baby. Mindfulness values and skills also change the way that parents pay attention to and respond to their baby's needs. Both of these factors hugely support infant-parent attachment and bonding, creating the sense of safety and security that is vital for your child's future learning, confidence and relationships (55-58).
LESS STRESS, ANXIETY & DEPRESSION
Demonstrated by numerous studies during pregnancy & postnatally (1-8).
Great for you! Who doesn't want this?! And great for your baby - high levels of parental stress, anxiety and depression, (during & after pregnancy) are known to impact child development (9-14).
During pregnancy...and even when baby arrives (15-19).
Poor sleep is reported by 76% of pregnant women (20) and it can increase the risk of health complications (e.g. gestational diabetes, preterm birth & post-natal depression) (21).
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