The most exciting moment of your pregnancy is when you see the tiny human being that you have co-created. But what if that feeling is challenged by unknown hormonal imbalances, stress, sleep deprivation and the tendency to develop PPD or Postpartum Depression.
Almost every new mother battles with PPD in varying intensities and doesn't even realise it. Sometimes it can be easily spotted, but sometimes it sneaks in unnoticed.
But wait, what is PPD?
PPD is a type of depression that some women experience after giving birth. It is a serious mental health condition that can occur in the weeks or months after childbirth. It is characterised by feelings of sadness, anxiety, irritability, and fatigue.
PPD is thought to be caused by a combination of physical, emotional and social factors. It can have negative effects on both the mother and baby's mental and physical health and can make it difficult for the mother to bond with her baby or to care for herself and her infant.
What measures can you take in pregnancy to reduce the intensity of PPD?
The most effective way to battle this is by baby bonding. Baby bonding in pregnancy is an important aspect of prenatal care, as it helps prepare the mother emotionally for childbirth and motherhood. Baby bonding methods include listening to classical ragas in pregnancy, talking to your child in the womb & telling them good moral stories. Mothers develop a sense of connection and attachment to the baby before birth thus having positive effects on their mental and physical health.
Is there any medical research about this?
There have been many research papers published on the benefits of baby bonding and its capacity to reduce the intensity of PPD,
- Feldman, R., Weller, A., Zagoory-Sharon, O., & Levine, A. (2007). Evidence for a neuroendocrinological foundation of human affiliation: Plasma oxytocin levels across pregnancy and the postpartum period predict mother-infant bonding. Psychological Science, 18(11), 965-970.
- Alhusen, J. L., Hayat, M. J., & Gross, D. (2013). A longitudinal study of maternal attachment and infant developmental outcomes. Archives of Women's Mental Health, 16(6), 521-529.
- McRae, K., Gross, J. J., Weber, J., Robertson, E. R., Sokol-Hessner, P., Ray, R. D., ... & Ochsner, K. N. (2012). The development of emotion regulation: an fMRI study of cognitive reappraisal in children, adolescents and young adults. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 7(1), 11-22.
- Conde-Agudelo, A., Díaz-Rossello, J. L., & Belizán, J. M. (2016). Kangaroo mother care to reduce morbidity and mortality in low birthweight infants. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, (8), CD002771.
These papers represent a small selection of the many research studies that highlight the need for baby bonding to reduce PPD and improve the quality of life for both mother and child.
What do all the above research papers say in common? How can it benefit me?
Medical research unanimously says that baby bonding is important and proven to benefit in the following ways,
- Some of these benefits include:
- Reduced risk of postpartum depression
- Improved cognitive and emotional development
- quicker response to stimuli
- Potential to reach milestones more efficiently and quickly
- Improved social development
- Improved breathing and temperature regulation.
- Release of hormones like oxytocin, which can reduce stress and anxiety
So what are you waiting for mums, did you bond with your baby in the womb today?