Pregnancy news, 06/06/2017
Participants in the study were assigned to either mindfulness training or traditional childbirth classes. The results suggest that incorporating mindfulness into antenatal education can help mums to cope better with their fears.
The results also show that mindfulness can help decrease the symptoms of prenatal and postnatal depression.
The study’s mindfulness training was set up by midwife and mindfulness teacher, Nancy Bardarke, and included modules on mindfulness meditation, awareness of breathing and the body. Mums-to-be were taught to keep their minds focused on the present moment, rather than worrying about the next contraction or thinking about the previous one.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is defined as paying attention to the present moment and being aware of any thoughts, feelings and sensations that arise without judging them or trying to change them. This type of moment-to-moment awareness can counteract our tendency to live life on autopilot.
In pregnancy, it can also help you bond and connect with your unborn baby.
The thought of giving birth can be scary, especially if other women have been telling you about what it was like for them or you’ve been reading gory stories.
If you’re stressed and tense going into labour, your contractions may feel more painful and become less effective. An earlier study has shown that women with a fear of childbirth had a longer labour - 47 minutes longer on average - compared with women who weren’t fearful.
For hundreds of years, women in different parts of the world have used relaxation, breathing and self-hypnosis as a way of coping with pain during labour and birth.
Being able to relax rather than tense up during a contraction helps your body manage labour better. Many antenatal classes cover relaxation and breathing techniques and it's good to find out about these, whatever you decide to do when you go into labour.
Read about the 5 positive ways to prepare for labour.
Our midwife Sophie says,
‘We at Tommy’s know that there will always be an element of anxiety or nerves in the run up to a woman’s labour and birth. Yes, we don’t know exactly how things will go, but what is important to remember is that our bodies are designed to birth our babies and midwives are well-trained in facilitating that process. Keeping an open mind about what type of pain relief you want or about the path that your labour and birth may take you on, will help you to remain calm, trust in your body’s ability and allow nature to take its course. Oxytocin, the love drug which helps your body to produce effective contractions, can be inhibited by fear, so the best thing is to try to remain calm, let your partner and midwife support you in whatever way you wish for and look forward to meeting your beautiful baby.’
If you’re interested in trying mindfulness during your pregnancy, you could ask your GP for a recommendation or search for qualified teachers online. There are also many books, websites and apps that can be used to get you started with mindfulness.
Read more about mindfulness on NHS.UK.
These five things have been shown to help with wellbeing.
It’s natural to feel a bit stressed or anxious when you’re pregnant. If you are struggling with these feelings you may need help.
Recent NHS Digital statistics show that 10.4% of women in England smoke at the time of delivering their baby, which is slightly less than last year.
Things I wish I had known when I was pregnant about...your new identity as a 'Mum'. Do whatever you need to do to get some 'me' time in the diary, and remember that this new title of 'Mum' doesn't define you, it's a part of who you are.
Now I'm in the third trimester I have to remind myself to be more cautious. This is frustrating as lockdown is easing at the time I need to be extra careful!
The NHS is taking urgent action to protect expectant mums from a black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) background during the coronavirus crisis, as new research shows these women face an increased risk.