We know February as the month of love. However, South Africa also commemorates Pregnancy Awareness Week in February. Love and pregnancy are a pretty fitting pair, and perhaps for all you are expecting moms right now, a little bit of pregnancy self-love and education and embracing the season you’re in is precisely what you need. So, what is a holistic approach to pregnancy?
Holistic prenatal care recognises that the well-being of a pregnant mother encompasses more than just physical health; it extends to emotional and mental aspects, and we focus specifically on exploring how holistic pregnancy care promotes a comprehensive approach to nurturing both you and your growing baby.
Physical health is undoubtedly a crucial component of prenatal care. A holistic approach ensures that you receive regular medical check-ups, proper nutrition, and exercise guidance. Prenatal vitamins, a balanced diet, and appropriate physical activity contribute to you and your baby’s overall health.
Dr Raul Artal, MD, Obstetrician and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, highlights, “Exercise during pregnancy is not just about staying fit; it’s an investment in your health and your baby’s well-being. Regular physical activity enhances stamina, promotes smoother labour, and contributes to a quicker postpartum recovery. Embrace the power of movement for a healthier pregnancy journey.
Monitoring vital signs and promptly addressing physical concerns are integral aspects of holistic prenatal care, so stay in touch with your healthcare practitioner.
Emotional and Mental Well-being
One of the critical aspects promoted during Pregnancy Awareness Week is the emotional well-being during pregnancy, which is often underestimated but plays a pivotal role in the overall health of mothers and their developing babies. Anyone pregnant will attest to the fact that pregnancy is the ultimate emotional roller coaster ride, taking you from joy and anticipation to anxiety and stress, and you’re likely to experience them all on any given day. Holistic prenatal care acknowledges these emotional shifts and emphasises the importance of emotional support. Creating a nurturing environment fosters positive relationships and promotes a healthier emotional state for expectant mothers.
Hormonal changes, coupled with the anticipation of motherhood, can impact mental health. Holistic prenatal care involves:
- Raising awareness about mental health issues.
- Reducing stigma.
- Providing access to mental health support services.
This may include counselling, therapy, or support groups tailored to the unique challenges faced by pregnant women. For the moms reading this, coaches and mental health practitioners are waiting for you to take the brave step and carve out time with them. Asking for the help you need is a tremendous demonstration of self-love.
Holistic prenatal care embraces mind-body techniques to enhance the overall well-being of expectant mothers. Prenatal yoga, meditation, and relaxation techniques help manage stress, promote better sleep, and foster a positive mindset. According to a study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology, around 70-80% of women report concerns about their body image during pregnancy. Various factors, including societal expectations, media portrayals, and personal experiences, can influence these concerns.
This underscores the profound importance of fostering a positive mind-body connection. Cultivating a harmonious relationship between mind and body during pregnancy involves embracing self-compassion, self-awareness, and mindfulness. These techniques contribute to physical health and create a harmonious connection between the mind and body during pregnancy.
Community and Social Support:
We know that you often want your partner, girlfriends or your mom around during your pregnancy. This yearning for community is by design. A holistic approach to prenatal care extends beyond the individual and incorporates community and social support. Building a solid support network can significantly impact your pregnancy, whether through friends, family, or support groups.
During your pregnancy, you will notice how deeply connected every part of you is even more. Embracing holistic care positively impacts your health and sets the foundation for a positive and empowering start to parenthood.