Pregnant? STAY CALM!
Staying stress-free is hard for everyone these days. So why are we pinpointing pregnancy? The focus of our Fresh News today is on the unborn child’s mental and emotional health. More children are being diagnosed with depression, ADHD, anxiety, and many other mood disorders. One out of six children from ages 6-17 are being diagnosed with these ailments. Remedies for emotional and psychological disorders usually lead to medication, diet changes, and therapy.
Still, they don’t end the ripple effect that it has on the educational and psychological development of the child throughout their formative years. They are a great fix but not a solution for healing. Is there a way we can try to stop and prevent those disorders, and in the long run, produce a more mentally-healthy society? The answer is yes!
A 2020 study conducted by The University of Edinburgh showed an infant’s brain might be shaped by the stress the mother experiences during pregnancy. The stress hormone level — cortisol — is linked to the development of the baby’s amygdala. That is the area of the brain known to be involved with emotional and social development during childhood. They took hair samples of 78 pregnant women, which measured the amount of cortisol during the previous three months. The women’s babies were scanned by an MRI while they slept and found that higher levels of cortisol in the mother’s hair were linked to structural changes in the infant’s amygdala. It also showed differences in brain connections. (The study, unfortunately, did not show how emotions were affected because those are determined by future inquiries made to the children.)
We are all stressed for one reason or another, but you have to wonder why more children are having emotional and cognitive issues. So, could it be from the start of the development in the womb? Maybe, according to the study in Edinburgh. So how can we help the mother’s-to-be and their future children?
Here are 8 simple habits you (or someone you love) can practice at home to reduce stress, stay calm, and relax:
- Focus on breathing, taking deep, relaxing breaths.
- Daily stretching. Why? When you are experiencing stress, your muscles tighten. Stretching is a great way to counteract tightness.
- Get plenty of rest. If you cannot sleep at night, try to take a 20-minute nap during the day.
- Massage! Use massage oil and focus on breathing while you gently massage tight areas with the palm of your hands.
- Try a tense and relax exercise by tensing muscles in your feet for three seconds, then relax while focusing on your breathing.
- Use positive self-talk. You can de-stress yourself by saying a simple mantra that makes your mind focus on the positive.
- Sip peppermint tea. It contains menthol, which is a muscle relaxant and sedative.
- Talk about what is bothering you to someone you trust. If you do not have that access to someone, just try to focus on the moment. Get out of the past and do not focus on the future because that is not here. Focusing on the present moment will reduce anxiety and will also help you savor and appreciate what you would have missed if you were worrying about the future or fretting about the past.
Please be aware and introspect on your emotions and feelings, because when you do, you are starting to take care of your child at their most important stage of development in the womb. So take a deep breath, relax, feel beautiful, and have sweet dreams because you will be bringing your biggest dream to life soon! Remember, we are here for you as always.
Blessings to you and yours,
Sandy Fidler, Wellness Coach