We often see that a pregnant lady is pampered and taken care of in extraordinary ways. We see her dear ones catering to her slightest needs and serving her according to her cravings. The tantrums and mood swings are also dealt with very patiently and all her demands are attended to promptly. Care during pregnancy and pregnancy health care is important – and for good reason.
Prenatal Care Definition
If you look at some of the top searches related to pregnancy, the things which are most commonly searched for, apart from diet, are “prenatal care meaning” and “pregnant women care,” indicating that there is an understanding amongst people expecting mothers need extra care and attention. So what is prenatal care?
Prenatal care or pregnancy care is the care given to the expecting mother regarding the medical treatments, the emotional and physical assistance so as to make her comfortable and benefit the health of the baby. This special treatment is naturally given so as to keep her and the baby happy and healthy. When we say healthy, it includes mental and physical health.
The Link between Mental Health and Prenatal Care
The mental health of the baby is directly dependent on the mental health of the mother.
The biggest contributing factor is the emotional condition of the mother and the nutrition the baby receives.
Pregnant mothers follow a schedule and a systematic diet plan for the nourishment of the baby. Similarly, the mother’s mental intake also needs to be monitored… she should be cautious about what she is feeding her mind as well.
Prenatal Care Tips for Mothers
Science has proven that if the mother is traumatised, it has an evidently negative impact on the neurodevelopment of the child, providing a base for behavioural issues, autism, affective disorders, and so on. Let’s take a look at some prenatal care tips that we can commonly do.
Be realistic: Pregnancy is a huge milestone and it is a transforming one. The mother wishes to do best in her new role and tries to do many things at a time which sometimes are out of her reach. At this time it is very important for the mothers to be realistic. Do not expect too much from yourself. Taking ample rest when needed and doing things at your own pace is a must. Doing something extravagant can bring stress and discomfort, hence being realistic is important.
Help & assistance: Asking and accepting help if needed does not make you weak or dependent; it’s a requirement for proper prenatal care. Relaxing yourself and letting someone else assist you with work is okay. Do not be shy and hesitant to ask for help and do not be reluctant to take help when offered.
Avoid extreme changes: Change is an overwhelming process in general. Change in job, place or house can be very overwhelming especially during the prenatal phase. Emotional outbursts and physical exhaustion should be avoided. Changes require attention and mental capacity, but during pregnancy, the focus is preferably on the baby and it might be difficult to manage both as the process requires lots of energy.
Connect & express: It is very important for expecting mothers to connect with close ones and express themselves. Pregnancy introduces a woman to a huge spectrum of emotions and it can get overwhelming at times. Anxiety about the future, self-doubt, overthinking, worry, intensified moods – these need to be let out. The expression might take any form but whatever it is, it needs to be channelized so the aura is cleansed.
Mental & physical intake: Including nutritious food contributes to a healthier baby and enriches the mother with different nutrients needed for her own health. Following a guided diet plan with the help of doctors and nutritionists is highly recommended.
Mental intake is equally important. It involves the thoughts, emotions, feelings and learning of the mother while she carries the baby inside her. To nurture her environment with positivity, there should be peaceful vibes, smiles and a pleasant environment around her. Listening to calming music, meditation, spiritual preaching, and values education lectures are always encouraged. The belief and state of the mind of the mother highly influences the neurocognitive patterns and structures of the baby.
Mind and physique exercises: A nice walk in pleasant and fresh air boosts the happy hormone. The ‘to-be’ mothers should make this a part of the prenatal care routine and ensure that they engage in light exercises like walking, appropriate stretches, and yoga to keep themselves physically fit. Mind exercises involve deep breathing, especially when feeling overwhelmed and guided meditation works the best. When the mother eats and exercises properly she not only strengthens the baby but also empowers her own immunity system.
Maintaining schedules: If a day is pre-planned and dealt with systematically, it avoids chaos and stress. Following a particular routine and managing the timings for meals, sleep, exercise, work, hobbies, will help organise the natural cycles. The feeling of accomplishment will prevail avoiding or minimising the unnecessary commotion. The timing for medications has to be strictly followed in order to avoid panic.
Prenatal care is as crucial to the pregnancy journey as childbirth is. The prenatal history determines a lot about the behaviour and mental structure and state of an individual. Prenatal care requires the unconditional support of the mother’s family members. If the responsibilities are effectively divided and shared, it provides a huge support for the expecting mother. The emotional, psychological and mental health of the mother directly influences that of the child. Hence, it is important to follow a prenatal care routine under the guidance of medical professionals and trustworthy sources.
If you are anyone you know is looking for mental health support in the prenatal or postnatal phase, reach out to us at Ananda. Learn more about our pre and postnatal plans here.