Pregnancy is joyful and a blessing. Women experience many changes in their body during the course of a pregnancy. Morning sickness, lathery, vomiting, fatigue, gradual weight gain, swelling on their feet, ache and pains on muscles and joints. Things which one could do easily do without any help before becoming pregnant, can become a difficult task post pregnancy, this changes gives a lot of stress to a pregnant women.
Stress can be brought on by things like submitting reports before deadline, organising the household, job changes, financial burden etc. these can become overwhelming during pregnancy.
Pregnancy related stress can be due to:
Physical body changes due to pregnancy
Dealing their pregnancy with complication like bleeding in the 1st Trimester, severe hyperemesis, need for bed rest during early pregnancy
Fear for miscarriage
Worried about Baby’s wellbeing inside the womb
Fear of Childbirth and worried if she can take good care of baby
Previously anxiety or Depression issues
Effect of Stress during Pregnancy on a Woman and her unborn child:
Stress during Pregnancy can have a lot of unwanted effects on a mother and baby. Maternal stress is also associated with maternal high blood pressure, fetal Low Birth weight and Preterm birth. Lilliecreutz, C., Laren, J., Sydsjo, G. et al. Effect of maternal stress during pregnancy on the risk for preterm birth. Concluded that Approximately 20 percent of the preterm birth in the study were estimated to be due to maternal stress exposure during pregnancy as an attributed risk. Identifying the stressor or the cause of stress is important to reduce stress during pregnancy.
Overall simple things which can help reduce stress are as follows :
Attending regular antenatal exercise session: Regular antenatal exercise helps in maintaining healthy weight gain, stronger muscles, gives you more confidence, reduces pregnancy related musculoskeletal complains. Exercise improve your mood due to secretion of hormone called Endorphin, it induces relaxation and helps you sleep better
Having a good support system, family or close friends where you can share your doubts and fear.
Attend Childbirth Education Classes with your childbirth partner – A childbirth partner can be your best friend, sister, mother or your husband. Childbirth Education helps pregnant women to approach Pregnancy, Childbirth, post-delivery and new born care with confidence with the information and support given on Childbirth Education Classes
Try new hobbies or engage in your favourite activity: By starting new hobbies like sewing, cross-stitch, crochet, baking, reading, writing etc will also help you more connected with your baby and new hobbies are good distraction from your stress and worries.
Attending Antenatal Childbirth Education class helps a Women by reducing stress and dealing with pregnancy:
Lamaze childbirth Education is one of the renowned and widely appreciated worldwide. Lamaze has been in this world for 6 decades. Evolving with latest evidence base research. The goal of Lamaze is to give women confidence on their ability to give birth naturally.
Why attending Lamaze childbirth Education class is important:
In Lamaze Class you will learn new interesting things about pregnancy, labor and post-delivery care. Learning how to connect with your baby and partner.
Helps you understand, learn and discover the simple way to cope labor, techniques like positioning, relaxation, movements, massage, breathing, tension release, visualization and use of simple tools.
Lamaze class gives you time to address and discuss the different types fear and concerns – addressing fear and anxiety during the class aids in understanding. A childbirth educator will answer with evidence based research findings .They have been trained on how to address your fears and doubts. Women who discuss their fears and concern have more confidence during pregnancy and their labour.
Fun learning about new born care and the role of partner after the delivery for better bonding with your baby and debunking myths about pregnancy and childbirth are all collectively discussed.
Lamaze Childbirth education class can be in a group, individualized session, off line or online interactive class. Class can be 1-2 hrs, once in a week or twice in a week, for a month. It can be 6 hours of 2 days class. Childbirth Education is encouraged in the third trimester, but it’s wise to attend the sessions from the 2nd Trimester.
With all the information and interactive sessions a pregnant women can address her worries and learn how to relax for a healthy pregnancy.
(Lalchawimawi Sanate, Senior Physiotherapist & Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Sahkarnagar, Bengaluru)