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Emotional Support during pregnancy, birth and beyond

I was inspired to write this article after watching a short video entitled ‘The Mysteries of the Heart’  by the Heart Math Institute, please check it out, it’s short and sweet. I was also 'called to arms' recently and the mere presence of a doula made the difference of intervention or not for a young family, that is another story for another day.

Pregnancy through early parenthood is a very special time in your life and only happens once for each baby.

Did you know that the fetal heart develops at around 18-19 days after conception? And its fascinating to note that the fetal heart forms and starts beating before the brain is developed [❤️]....now thats impressive!  

Heart health and emotional status has a huge impact on your life, throughout your whole life, however profoundly during pregnancy and birth.

“Your heart emits electromagnetic fields that change according to your emotions”[❤️] and these electromagnetic fields can be measured a metre out from your body in all directions[❤️]. Imagine how much of that field impacts your loved ones and your baby.

So it stands to reason that you and your baby’s electromagnetic fields would be exchanging information that can be crucial to the emotional development and emotional intelligence of your baby. 

Positive feelings can be induced by rest, relaxation and focused breathing, gentle movement, affirmations, even gentle body work like massage, can be perfect support to both you and your baby. Surrounding yourself with friends and loving support, walks in nature, watching inspiring movies, having a good laugh all contribute to positive emotions, which transmit to positive fields of energy surrounding you and your baby. 

Another beautiful gem is that a mama’s brainwaves can synchronise to her baby’s heartbeat[❤️] , how special is that? During pregnancy there are times that you will feel really tuned in to your baby, maybe that is when your brainwaves are in sync with your baby? 

I think this is why when a mama practices yoga through her pregnancy that she expresses having a deeper experience of how she feels and what she needs. A small study [1] in India showed some wonderful outcomes for yoga through pregnancy. If you can support yourself in feelings of calm and know how to relax and monitor your stress levels, then syncing with your baby can be a regular practice and have wonderful outcomes for you both. 

Another awesome fact is that the heart sends more information to the brain than the brain does to the heart [❤️]. Negative emotions can have a chaotic effect on the nervous system, however positive emotions can have the opposite effect[❤️] . And positive emotions can boost your immune system[❤️]

During pregnancy it is wise to look at ways of improving your health and wellbeing, especially your attitude towards birth and early parenthood. Positive emotions can help the brain in creativity and innovative problem solving and also increase the brains ability to make good decisions[❤️]. Heck we all know that there will be lots of decisions to make and occasional problems to solve during pregnancy, birth and early parenting, so honing your positive emotions skills is a bonus at this time in your life. 

This is never more evident than the last few weeks of pregnancy and leading up to and at the birth of your baby. A positive outlook can have such a great influence on how that part of your journey will flow. If you are stressed, anxious, under pressure and not knowing what your choices are, these are the messages that are flowing between you and your baby. 

One very positive way to avoid the pitfalls of heading into birth unprepared are to get a good and positive support network around you. There is nothing like a posse of positive women with positive birth stories to bolster you through that time. Listening to birth horror stories and the negative diatribe that gets around can be very distressing and focusing on what could go wrong rather than what is most likely to go right can have disastrous consequences.

I love to support women with education and what to expect, understanding the way your body is designed to birth. Unfortunately our birthing system is designed around all of the pitfalls of birthing and what can go wrong, this is awesome should you be at risk and really need medical intervention, but truthfully it can be a bigger risk of causing problems than solving them, for low risk and healthy women especially.

This is where a doula (birth support) can make all the difference. Having someone that you trust, that is there to support you and your birth partner can make all the difference and lets you relax and get into the business of birthing, together. Here is a study [2] that points out that the presence of a doula can equate to healthier outcomes for both mums and bubs. 

This article [3] from Columbus Birthing and Parenting website says more than I could and its so worth a read. 

Doula’s are fast becoming one of the best traumatic birth deterrents around and the rate of intervention if a doula is on board drops remarkably. Here’s some statistics that support the attendance of a doula at your birth...

Benefits during birth

51% reduction in Caesarean rate

25% shorter length in labour

60% reduction in epidural requests

40% reduction in Syntocinon use (synthetic oxytocin)

35% reduction in analgesics (pain relief medication)

40% reduction in forceps/vacuum deliveries

Long Term benefits

Improved success with breastfeeding

Increased time with baby and easier bonding

Increased maternal satisfaction

Reduced Post natal Depression (PND)

[“How a Doula can help you have a shorter, easier and healthier birth” - Klaus, Kennel & Klaus (USA)]

So if you’re wondering what all the fuss is about and would like to get the low down in person on doulas, birthing, breastfeeding and women gathering together to provide support then join our ‘Circle of Women’ on October 19th at 1:30pm at One Mile Beach Playground at the south end of One Mile Beach, Forster. Off Underwood Road, in Palmgrove Place. 

Bring a blanket to sit on and a snack. Kids and babies welcome. We invite you to come along and have a meet up with the idea that we’d like to meet once a month. There is no charge and we would like you to come and share with us your needs and desires as pregnant mums, new mums, mums of many or few. We will be sharing all the different ideas, support available, workshops and courses coming up that will help to sustain your journey.  

For more info call Megan - 0416 008 018 or just show up.

Authored by Megan Jones 🕉; photo cred to midwife, Hollie Wall, taken on my camera at the birth of Rain Acacia Schaad 29.03.2018 💕

References

[❤️] A short film ‘Mysteries of the Heart’, by the Heart math Institute. 

     https://www.heartmath.org/about-us/videos/mysteries-of-the-heart/

[1] Efficacy of yoga on pregnancy outcome.

    Narendran S1, Nagarathna R, Narendran V, Gunasheela S, Nagendra HR

    <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15865489>

[2] Impact of Doulas on Healthy Birth Outcomes

     Kenneth J. Gruber, PhD,* Susan H. Cupito, MA,* and Christina F. Dobson, MEd*

     <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3647727/>

[3] Doula: I Don’t Think that Word Means What You Think It Means - Catie Mehl July 10, 2018  

     <http://www.columbusbirth.com/doula-i-dont-think-that-word-means-what-you-think-it-means/> 

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