What does a mindful approach to pregnancy look like and why is it important?
Pregnancy is such a blessing, heralding new life and the miracle of creation. But it’s also a time of tremendous stress. That stress, if left unchecked, is potentially dangerous for both mum and baby.
So how can you mitigate stress and cultivate a mindful mindset during pregnancy to keep calm and carry on.
In this episode, we talk with long-time meditator and new mum, Aterah Nusrat about how to nurture a mindful approach to pregnancy.
In part 1, we explore Aterah’s own spiritual journey, which started in a moderate Muslim household. Eventually, her spiritual interest led her to embrace and practice the perennial enlightenment teachings from the East.
Over the last 23 years, Aterah has logged thousands of hours of meditation and several hundred thousand prostrations. All this has served to help her build a powerful mindfulness practice.
In part 2, we explore in depth the relationship between mindfulness and pregnancy. As a brand new mother, Aterah has had ample time to reflect on the importance of bringing a mindful mindset to the ‘beautiful ordeal’ which is pregnancy, giving birth, and post partum.
Mindfulness And Pregnancy
Medical professionals are clearer than ever about the deleterious effects of chronic stress. In general, stress-related illness is responsible for a huge portion of our medical costs.
Our information saturated, do-everything now culture has everyone on edge. Relaxation is becoming a lost art!
This is especially troublesome when you’re pregnant. You suddenly have a brand new array of concerns related to the health of the fetus in your belly.
Will she make it to term? Are you eating all the right things? How are you going to manage work and time off? And how on earth are you going to deal with actually giving birth??
According to the folks at WebMD:
Some stress during pregnancy is normal, just as it is during other times of life. But if stress becomes constant, the effects on you and your baby could be lasting… ‘the kind of stress that’s really damaging is the kind that doesn’t let up,’ says Susan Andrews, PhD, a clinical neuropsychologist and author of the book Stress Solutions for Pregnant Moms: How Breaking Free From Stress Can Boost Your Baby’s Potential. In fact, constant stress could alter your body’s stress management system, causing it to overreact and trigger an inflammatory response.
Chronic stress may also contribute to subtle differences in brain development that might lead to behavioral issues as the baby grows, she adds.
About Aterah Nusrat
Aterah Nusrat is Program Manager at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine based jointly at Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women’s Hospital. She earned a Master’s degree in Environmental Technology from Imperial College in London and a BSc in Chemistry and Environmental Science from the University of Kent.
Aterah has pursued meditation and mindfulness practices for over 20 years, nurturing her spiritual interests through Islam and eastern enlightenment teachings.
In her spare time, when she isn’t climbing the steep learning curve of parenthood, she enjoys reading science fiction with her husband and cruising the green ways of her local neighborhood.