The miraculous journey from gestation to birth takes 9 months, and for good reason. During this time your baby is taking a very important course in how to be a child in the world. They are growing limbs, eyes, even personalities to enable them to function in the world outside the womb. Just as babies need time to grow and develop, it takes time for new mothers to prepare for their upcoming role. Allowing yourself the space to prepare mentally, emotionally, and physically for the upcoming birth and post-partum life with your child is very important. By giving themselves this time and care before the baby arrives, new mothers are less likely to suffer from later difficulties such as post-partum depression. Here are a few tips to help:
Acknowledge Your Needs: More than ever, it is crucial that expectant parents maintain an awareness of their own individual needs. In the lead-up to the birth of your child, it is easy to focus solely on the development of your child and the impending birth. Whilst this is a natural and supremely important part of your life, it is also important to find ways to take care of your own needs for rest, attention, self-care. Ultimately, in caring for yourself you are caring for your baby. This is good practice for after the birth when finding time for you will become even more of a struggle. If friends, family or significant others are available then there’s no better time to get them involved. Remember, if loved ones offer to help, don’t decline. Friends, parent groups and other community services can offer great alternative support structures.
Conscious Birthing: Something we do not acknowledge much in our culture is that babies have consciousness in the womb. Beginning to talk to and connect with your baby during this time is powerful for both parent and baby. The senses begin to develop around the fourth month of gestation and sound therapy can be an amazing space for a parents to make a special connection with her baby through the language of vibration.
Become more mindful. Whether it involves yoga, breath-work or any form of mindfulness meditation – being mindful works to support a healthy, happy baby in the womb and post-partum. The more that Mommy is calm and connected to herself, the healthier the baby will develop in the womb and in early life. This period of development is crucial for both of you and the effects of stress are well known in terms of their impact on our physical and emotional health. Immunity, blood pressure, hormones, and emotional regulation are all improved by reductions in stress. Mindfulness is a great way to help strengthen the relaxation-response in yours and baby’s parasympathetic nervous system. A calm mind and healthy body are more closely linked than we ever imagined.
By Dr. Jesse Hanson, Co-Founder, Helix Healthcare Group