Mind-Body Connection During Pregnancy
mind-body connection during pregnancy
Mind-body connection during pregnancy is important and often overlooked
If you are reading this, it means you are curious, which means you most likely realize that mother’s health influences the baby’s health and wellbeing. That amazing bond between mama and baby starts right from the conception! Crazy, I know, but essentially what you think, feel and eat becomes their thoughts, feelings and food.
A pregnant woman’s moods and feelings have a significant impact on birth outcomes and on baby brain development, as science confirms. If a mama is under a lot of stress and doesn't practice relaxation techniques effectively, it might affect baby development in the womb (bear in mind, we are talking constant regular stress, not everyday situations which are just part of the fetus development).
Stress and Pregnancy
If you're anxious, stressed or depressed, your baby will be receiving all those messages via your body's response to stress, i.e. stress hormones. It may often be translated by the baby to "it is unsafe environment for me out there, so I must prepare" —regardless of whether or not this is a true statement. The baby’s brain will be programmed to prepare for the perceived unsafe conditions and is more likely to be a fussy infant. Research now also shows a connection between negative states and stress during pregnancy on birth outcomes, fetal and infant development.
Eating and Pregnancy
What we eat matters every day, not only during pregnancy. But, during pregnancy, what you eat is the main source of nourishment for the growing baby.
Moreover, eating during pregnancy is not about eating more but about eating right. You want to be sure you're choosing nutrient-dense foods, getting all necessary vitamins and minerals, good proportions of fats, protein and carbs in your diet.
New recommendations suggest that there's actually no need for extra calories during the first 6 months of pregnancy. For the last few months, the number of extra calories suggested is around 200. To give you an idea, it would be (approximate amounts):
+ a piece of sourdough toast with a half a tablespoon of natural peanut butter
+ 1 banana and 1 pear
+ half cup of each brown rice and red kidney beans with 1 cup of broccoli
Food for thought, right? (pun intended)
(more on the topic of healthy eating during pregnancy coming soon; also check out some easy snack ideas for a healthier glowing pregnancy)
So how can you get started on a more mindful pregnancy journey, feel more relaxed and connected?
Here are a few simple tips to get you started and have better mind-body connection during pregnancy:
Level your stress - stress hormones stay longer with the fetus than with the mother. But it’s not about not having any stress, but what you do and how you manage it. Learn to relax, meditate, do breathing exercises, listen to your favorite music, get some fresh air and alone time. Whatever works for you. Also, recognizing stressful situations, knowing they’re upcoming (e.g. work., family gatherings, conflicts) and infusing your mind with positive thoughts helps you to minimize the impact.
Like energy attracts like energy - I love this Law of Attraction law. Your feelings attract your experiences, so - where possible - aim for uplifting thoughts and positive mindset filled with gratitude (you’re having a baby after all!). I admit this is still work in progress for me, but I see a big value in it and it’s never too late to start.
Nourish your body- what you eat, the baby eats. I can’t think of a more powerful statement. Remember to focus on healthy, nourishing foods packed with vitamins and minerals. Having a balanced diet with good ratios of healthy fats, protein and cars is the key. Meal portions also matter and keep in mind that there's no need to eat for 2.
Stay in the now - well, this one isn't always easy. And again, work in progress for me! But, having 2 lovely healthy pregnancies, I can say one thing: that time is the most special and you will never get it back. Try to relax into it and be in the moment. Highchairs, muslins, baby clothes, room decor, nipple creams…it all can wait. I was good and very aware of it with my 2nd pregnancy, but wished I realized it sooner while pregnant with my 1st! The techniques I find the most helpful are meditation, sitting quietly with a cup of warm drink and let your mind wander, a walk with no distractions (no talking, no podcasts listening), journaling.
Cherish the bond - yes, that amazing bond between mum and baby starts at conception. Just think about it: you're the only person carrying him (her), feeling him, protecting him and nourishing him for the first 9 months of his life. How powerful is that? It is the baby's birthright to be loved, cherished and nurtured, so start already when pregnant even before you can actually see your growing belly. They will listen to what you say, eat what you eat, sleep when you sleep (hopefully). And once they are born, they will recognize your voice and touch from day 1 on this planet. So go ahead and listen to your favorite tunes, massage your tummy, talk out loud while making dinner, play with the mini poky toes and elbows ♡
Mind-Body Connection is Powerful
Pregnancy is already the start of that big life-changing journey of being a parent. Being more connected and mindful during pregnancy will help you to gain the confidence, find your strength, listen to your inner self and love your growing beautiful body. And also, it can help with smooth and more confident transition into motherhood.