We’re here to let you know why you should leave your negativity in the dust and pick up a fresh, positive perspective.
You’ve prepared for the arrival of your baby in every way imaginable. You’ve taken your prenatal vitamins, baby-proofed every square foot of your house and received rave reviews from your Lamaze instructor. There’s only one thing left to do, and it’s often the hardest task of all: believe everything is going to be OK.
Though it can be difficult to silence the what-ifs that have occupied your brain since discovering your life-changing news, you’ll have a much happier pregnancy and delivery if you try. Sometimes all it takes is allowing yourself to surrender control and understanding that some things are simply out of your hands. As soon as you come to terms with the fact that you can’t possibly predict what will happen next, odds are, you’ll start to feel more at ease.
Stress and your baby
According to Dr. Diane Fogle, maternal fetal medicine fellow in the department of gynecology and obstetrics at Emory University School of Medicine, stress has a direct physical impact on your baby’s development.
She says, “Research has shown that stress reduces thyroxine levels in the mother. Thyroxine is a hormone that is integral in fetal neurological development—decreased levels may adversely affect fetal brain development.” Dr. Fogle relates preterm birth and low birth weight to chronic stress as well.
Post-delivery, your stress levels can also trigger certain behaviors in your infant. “Animal studies and human research has shown that stress affects newborns’ development and behavior. It is likely that new mothers who have many stressors could have a newborn who cries excessively,” says Fogle.
Stress and the delivery room
Sarah McMoyler, RN, and founder of the McMoyler Method, coaches expectant couples to achieve a negativity- free labor. A strong believer in taking pregnancy one day at a time, McMoyler tells couples to stay in the present and breathe out negative thoughts. “When a woman is fearful, her fear will increase the tension in her body—more pain, more fear, more tension. Allowed to continue, she will [become panicked], which leads to feeling out of control. When she’s in this downward slope, she’s already thinking: ‘I have failed’.”
To combat pre-delivery anxiety, McMoyler tells expectant moms to find a place where they can spend five peaceful minutes each day. “Wherever it is, take a cup of tea and sit and breathe,” says McMoyler. Take an extra five each day to have “prenatal conversations” to foster communication between you and your partner, so he in turn will be ready to communicate with you and the healthcare team on the day of delivery.
Parenthood is bound to be stressful from your babe’s conception all the way through her adulthood, so learning to identify and cope with your stressors now will be a great asset in the future. You’re off to a fabulous lifetime of mommmyhood. It’s time to turn that frown upside down!