Although a beautiful and exciting journey, becoming a mother can be very stressful for women. There is not much to worry about during pregnancy from physical health problems, fear of labor, midnight worries, swollen legs, and fears about the baby’s health.
According to studies, 18% of pregnant women suffer from depression while 21% suffer from anxiety. Studies also show that maternal stress can negatively impact developing babies, leading to psychological issues, lower birth weights, or preterm labor.
Stress, depression, and anxiety during pregnancy can also increase the risk of cognitive delays, behavioural disorders, and emotional problems in children.
Therefore, it is formative to promote the health of pregnant women to lower the risk of these complications and ensure healthier babies. Research suggests that mindfulness could help manage stress, depression, and anxiety for women in pregnancy and improve their overall quality of life.
What is Mindfulness?
In simple terms, mindfulness is intentionally paying attention to the present moment. It is also becoming aware and accepting your feelings, thoughts, and sensations without changing them. Mindfulness is helpful in pregnancy because it will help you connect and bond with your baby.
A Pilot Study of Mindfulness in Pregnancy
At Children Neurodevelopmental Disorders Network, we did a 6-session mindfulness pilot study through the Healthy Mothers Healthy Families Group. We also worked together with the Royal Women’s Hospital to facilitate the program.
Following the study, it was established that participants learned to be more in tune and cultivate awareness for the pregnancy journey. They reported a reduction in negative feelings like anxiety and distress.
“The program has taught me useful skills for controlling my thoughts and emotions and I feel much better than before.”
How Can I Practice Mindfulness in my Life?
Here are tips for incorporating mindfulness in your everyday life.
- Be Aware of the Happening in the Present Moment
Mindfulness is all about focusing on what is happening at the moment. Try to be present in all your tasks, whether it is working, eating, etc. Also, become aware when your mind wanders away and try to bring your attention back. Another tip is to be aware of your reactions and surroundings and try not to resist your feelings in the present moment.
- Practice Mindful Walking
This is walking while focusing your attention on the souls of your feet. Also, focus on your feet’ movement and the physical sensations of stretching, pressure, and muscle tension.