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LIFESTYLE HABITS AND STRESS


What lifestyle habits are helpful to the growing baby? Though as the mother it is crucial to wean yourself from smoking, recreational drugs and alcohol,[1] the time of pregnancy may also be a good time for the father to stop or cut down. It can also be a good time to find fun and healthy ways to spend hours of leisure together, to eat well and rest, and to curb excessive TV watching, video games and computer time.  Your thoughts and feelings, what you see, what you listen to, what you watch on TV, read, and discuss, all affect the baby and the baby's development in some way, positively and negatively.[2] Any stress that you perceive, whether emotional or outer stress (such as violence or too much work) has a negative effect on the growing baby's neurological development.[3]


Pregnancy can be a stressful time, often bringing up financial worries, insecurity about work, fear about the future and can bring big changes such as moving to a new home. Work can become taxing during pregnancy, simply because you have less energy, which can become a source of stress as you work harder to keep up. And the hormonal changes during pregnancy can bring up strong emotions, and fears or can put one 'out of sorts' for seemingly little things. Being aware of all these stress factors can help you find ways to address them and put your mind to rest, or find someone who can help you find a stress easing solution. It's also important to rest during pregnancy, especially in the last weeks, when lack of sleep can affect labour[4].


As much as possible, expose yourself to beautiful, joyful thoughts and surroundings. It is of great value to find things to do such as going for walks, spending time in nature, making things with your hands, singing or playing an instrument, reading good books, going to galleries, meeting friends for conversation, things that encourage the calm and quiet that are healthy for the mother and baby. Also, quality time together strengthens the bond between the parents, helps create good habits for a healthy home life, and is good preparation for an intense time to come.

See The negative effects of media


ARTICLES

How the Mother's Emotions Affect the Baby Before Birth - Samuels and Samuels


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[1] Alcohol and Pregnancy. Public Health Agency of Canada www.publichealth.gc.ca, September 2008, researched July 2009 <http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-gs/know-savoir/alc-eng.php>


 


[2] Cornell University. How Babies Are Ushered Into Life Determines How Healthily They Will Live As Adults, Book By Cornell Pregnancy Researcher Says. ScienceDaily, January 19,1999, researched June 2009  <http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/01/990119075650.htm>


 


[3] Odent, Michel and Pascal Odent. Pre-labour intrauterine life, Maternal Emotional States and Prenatal CareWombEcology.com 2006,  June 2009 <http://www.wombecology.com/maternalemotional.html>


 


 [4] Lee, Kathryn, RN, PhD, FAAN and Caryl L. Gay, PhD. Inadequate sleep in late pregnancy may influence labor and delivery. University of California UCSF School of Nursing December 15, 2004, researched June 2009 <http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/article/6819>


 [5] Odent, Michel MD, The Farmer and the Obstetrician, Free Association Books, London 2002 page 130


Melanin Seed by Leroy Campbell

In a French hospital in the 1970s and 1980s, we bought a piano so that, on Tuesday evenings, pregnant women could come and sing together. Everybody was invited to participate in these popular evenings, including the fathers, the midwives, the cleaning ladies, the secretary, etc. At the end of these singing sessions it was obvious that everybody was happy. We could assert – without measuring the levels of cortisol and catecholamines! – the hormonal balance of the pregnant women was favourable for the growth and development of their baby in the womb.

 Michel Odent [5]

Les amoureux de Vence by Marc Chagall