Friday, March 2, 2012

Steps Toward a Healthy and Comfortable Childbirth

Pregnancy should be a time of happiness and preparation for the new life to come, but the thought of childbirth sometimes causes expecting mothers to be nervous for the challenges they need to face in the delivery room. The good news is that these symptoms can be reduced with a few simple strategies that will ultimately increase the chance of a healthy baby and comfortable birth.

A Healthy Diet for Two
Prenatal vitamins form the backbone of a healthy diet during pregnancy, but more benefits will be found by choosing the best food options. Eliminating artificial ingredients and the empty calories of over-processed foods, like refined sugar and white flours, will open the diet to more whole grains, a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats. Colorful fruits and vegetables will also provide a wide range of potent antioxidants not covered by prenatal vitamins, and antioxidants can prevent damage to baby and mom caused by free radicals.

Appropriate Levels of Exercise
Getting the right intensity and amount of exercise is not very difficult, and it can result in some awesome benefits. Even if 15minutes of moderate-intensity aerobics is beyond mom's ability, working up to this will provide benefits as well. Benefits of exercise during pregnancy include:

      Enhanced mood
      Stronger circulatory system and better delivery of oxygen
      Balanced hormone levels
      Prevention of back pain

Meditation for Pregnancy
Meditation is often used as a complement to exercise, because it hastens the return of the body's resting state and facilitates a faster recovery. Meditation is a simple and inexpensive way of achieving several other benefits for both mom and baby. Physiological changes have been found in studies of meditation that show the changes in brain chemistry that result in reduced anxiety and stress. Other pregnancy-specific benefits include:

      Lowered blood pressure, an important step to reducing the risk of pre-eclampsia
      Increased production of melatonin, an essential ingredient to a good night's rest
      Higher levels of DHEA production

These strategies are often combined in classes, where moms can meet other moms and learn about childbirth, pregnancy, and new techniques. Taking a childbirth class is important for learning about optional procedures such as cord blood banking and circumcision.  The stem cells found in your baby’s cord blood could provide a potential treatment option for certain medical problems the baby may face down the road.  Knowing about this and other changes to modern childbirth makes for a more relaxed mom and happier baby.

This article was written by Alan Cassidy, an active writer within the blogging community covering maternity and childbirth, and always advocating for infant and children’s health. Connect with him on Twitter @ACassidy22

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