Postpartum depression

It’s totally normal to feel sad, irritable, anxious or tearful a few days after delivery. If you feel like this, don’t worry! Tiredness, hormonal change, and stress can lead to feelings of sadness or emotional vulnerability, which usually disappear within a few days. However, in some cases, they may persist for longer. If so, you could be suffering from postpartum depression, so you should go with a specialist.

These are some symptoms of post-partum depression that new moms tend to have:

• Sadness and crying
• Trouble sleeping
• Anxiety
• Crankiness/irritability
• Physical pain
• Tiredness/fatigue
• Changes in eating habits
• Lack of focus
• Feelings of guilt/being afraid of hurting the baby

Assess your feelings as strong or low, if they last long or not, and whether you feel them frequently or scarcely to identify if you need professional support. In the meantime, the following activities could make you feel better: sharing your feelings, exercising, resting, taking a stroll, and eating healthy meals and snacks.

Environmental risk factors

Prenatal exposure to radiation, heavy metals, plastics, and pesticides could cause birth defects, or affect the physical and cognitive development of babies. Taking precautions and care towards these risks is important during pregnancy. However, you can’t avoid them entirely. Exposure to small doses will probably cause no harm to your baby, so no need to be alarmed. What’s important is that you’re aware of the risks and take precautions in order to protect your baby.

After the nuclear distaste at Chernobyl in 1986, radiation took a toll on people’s DNA and the cases of Down’s syndrome and leukemia increased in Germany and Sweden. Studies have also shown that exposure to radiation can affect a baby’s neural development, especially during the first and second trimester. It can also cause problems in the bones, retina, growth, etc.

Heavy metals such as mercury and lead can also be toxic and cause delayed growth or neural deficits. Mercury is found in most seafood and goes into the placenta if ingested. To avoid hazardous elements in your food it is very important to mindful of your diet and activities during pregnancy. Lead is in a lot of objects like pigments, cables, and even toys.

Plastic can also harm your baby’s lungs, kidneys, testicles, and liver. The most dangerous and possibly carcinogenic plastics are: #3 (PVC) used to soften plastic, #6 (PS) used on trays, coverings, insulation or other construction products, and #7 (BPA) usually used in baby and sport’s bottles.

Finally, pesticides can also alter your baby’s development. Every year over 2,000 chemicals is introduced without proper laboratory testing. It’s believed that these chemicals affect the development of several species, including ours. If you’re pregnant, it’s better to be safe than sorry and steer clear from farming fields.

Prenatal stimulation at home

Prenatal stimulation is very important and its benefits are very valuable for your baby. However, it’s not always possible to have the means or the time to attend a workshop. What you might not know is that prenatal stimulation could be done straight from home in an easy and safe way. All you need is the Kinedu app and a cellphone or computer.

Most of the prenatal exercises for stimulation are easy to do and don’t require much time. Each exercise requires around 5 to 15 minutes. You could talk or sing to your baby to stimulate audition, massage your belly to work on the tactile sense and do some stretches on a yoga mat to work your baby’s vestibular system. The important thing is to do these exercises constantly throughout your pregnancy.

Kinedu facilitates the job by giving you the tools needed to practice prenatal stimulation techniques. You choose the time and place! All you need a cell phone or computer and some simple materials to do the activities that Kinedu offers. This way, you can easily work on your baby’s development with prenatal stimulation activities that are backed by science and recommended by experts. What are you waiting for?

Developing a prenatal stimulation program

Several studies have shown that prenatal stimulation endorses the baby’s development inside the womb. Besides, it’s been proven that babies can react to stimuli before they’re born. This is why experts recommend a prenatal stimulation program for expectant mothers that are in good health. To get the best results out of the stimulation program you must include all of the techniques in the corresponding month and based on the baby’s development. For this to be easier, you can mark in a calendar each of the techniques and their activities, including the time needed for each of them. Kinedu offers you an activity guide with steps to follow so you don’t have to worry.

Before beginning a prenatal stimulation technique, the following guidelines must be taken into account:

• The mother’s health
• The mother’s safety and comfort
• The time of the day (it’s better if you do it after lunch or dinner)
• Make sure the baby’s awake
• Make sure the place is ventilated
• Have the necessary materials
• Be constant and repetitive. Each technique must be done at least twice or three times a week
• Mother’s and/or partner’s willingness and disposition

Studies show that babies respond to stimulation either with reflexive movement, body movement, changes in the breathing rhythm, or increased heart rate. You can see this response through an ultrasound. Remember that you need to be repetitive and take into account the time each exercise needs in order to get the best results. This is why following a prenatal stimulation plan can help you get organized and do each technique in its right time.

The benefits of music during the prenatal stage

Music can change our mood and function as a tool for relaxation. It has been found that babies can benefit cognitively and physically from hearing music in the prenatal stage.

Several studies show that babies who are still in the womb can hear outside noises during the second trimester. It’s been noticed that the baby’s heart rate rises when listening to certain rhythms, and these rhythms can soothe them after birth. Scientists believe that music stimulates the alpha waves on the brain, and therefore ease the newborn.

Some studies also affirm that music helps build new neuronal connections in the baby’s brain. According to Partanen et al. (2013), babies who are stimulated in the womb show active neural activity. It’s been found that babies who have the highest brain activity after birth are those who got the most hearing stimulation in the womb.

According to studies conducted by Dr. Rene Van de Carr, babies who were stimulated in the womb sleep better, cry less and have better learning capacity.

Finally, there are programs created for prenatal auditory stimulation such as BabyPlus, the Tomatis Method, and Firstart. The purpose of these programs is to train the baby’s hearing inside the womb and to improve the baby’s development before birth.

Scientific evidence for prenatal stimulation

Prenatal psychology began as a scientific discipline in 1970, and since then, several studies have been conducted to learn about the effects of prenatal stimulation. Thanks to increasing technology, we’ve been able to study with greater precision the process of gestation and the benefits of prenatal stimulation. Scientist like Thomas Verny, Dr. Breatriz Manrique, and Dr. Rene Van de Carr, have found some very interesting results.

It’s been found that by week 22, babies have the capacity to react to body movements and blink their eyes when light strikes them. Visual techniques are recommended to stimulate your baby’s vision. For example, you could stimulate your baby by shining a flashlight on your tummy.

Furthermore, studies have found that when touching or pressuring your belly, vibrations are generated and felt by babies skin nerves, increasing their heart rate. You can use tactile techniques, like belly massages with different textures to stimulate the baby’s tactile sense.

Finally, babies can also able to develop a sense of balance with motor techniques. Studies have shown that when you’re in a position that alters your baby’s sense of balance, {he/she} gets the information necessary to develop equilibrium and movement perception.

Connecting with your baby

Why is connecting with your baby during pregnancy so important?

Several studies have shown that a mother’s mood can influence the baby’s development. For example, a study conducted by Dr. Silvie Richard found a connection between highly stressed mothers and health issues in their babies after being born. Scientist like Rottman, Nilsson, and Lukesch also studied the mother’s rejection towards her baby during pregnancy and found significant correlations between maternal rejection and Hyperactive syndrome in babies. Besides, it was found that many babies who were rejected during pregnancy showed rejection to breastfeeding or displayed feeding anomalies.

On the contrary, there are studies that have shown positive results when the mother connects and stimulates her baby during pregnancy. For example, Thomas Verny and Dr. Rene Van de Carr studied fetal development and found that babies who are stimulated in the womb cry less, are peaceful, and show better learning abilities after birth. Likewise, there are many studies that found lots of benefits from prenatal stimulation.

How can you connect with your baby?

• Enjoy and focus on feeling every movement your baby does. For example, the first time you feel a kick, try to connect and imagine your baby. Your baby’s movements are a reminder that {his/her} heart is beating inside you. Take the time to respond to your baby with a little bit of pressure or soft massage every time there’s a kick
• Do diverse relaxing exercises to decrease stress, elevate positive emotions, and connect with your baby
• Speak often, tell your baby a story or sing songs. Your baby will definitely feel calm when listening to your voice
• Listen to classical music or soft music, and connect with your baby through music

The importance of the Group B Streptococcus study

Group B streptococcus (GBS) is a bacterium found in the digestive tract. Around 10 to 30% of people have GBS without being affected by it. However, this bacterium could harm your baby if transmitted during delivery. GBS can cause blood, lung, or brain infections. Luckily, early diagnosis and adequate treatment before birth can prevent your baby from getting GBS.

The GBS test is done a few weeks before delivery. If the result is positive, an antibiotic will be administrated. Furthermore, recommendations will be given to avoid your baby becoming infected with meningitis or septicemia. According to a published study by the American Society of Microbiology (ASM), this bacterium is harmful to babies, since it can mutate after being transmitted by the mother and disrupt the baby’s immune system.

It’s really important to get tested for GBS during the last few weeks of your pregnancy to know if you’re a carrier. Remember that early diagnosis is the best way to prevent risks and ensure your baby’s healthy development. Don’t forget to get tested for GBS a few weeks before your baby is born!

The history of prenatal stimulation

Prenatal stimulation and the effects that external factors such as music could have in maternity have been studied about for years. Chinese culture and several philosophers such as Aristotle, Plato, and Confucius spoke about prenatal responsiveness, its relation with fetal environment and behavior, as well as the fetus’ cerebral function.

According to several studies done since the 1920’s, babies are able to perceive and react to outside stimulation. Therefore, prenatal stimulation can help develop the senses even before birth. Some of these studies are:

• Albrecht Peiper, a doctor from Leipzig University, he used a speaker to stimulate a baby’s hearing in the womb and found fetal reaction
• Psychologists David Escanda and Donal Hebb affirmed that early stimulation changes the brain, after stimulating the fetus’ hearing and seeing a sensorial reaction
• Rene Van de Carr developed a method of prenatal stimulation after watching fetal reactions to abdominal touch

On the other hand, Dr. Brent Logan, headmaster of the Prenatal Institute in Seattle, and Dr. Thomas Verny, founder of the North American Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology Association, have dedicated their lives to investigate the effect that external environmental factors have on the fetus and prenatal stimulation. They both have published and designed methods to stimulate the baby’s development from the womb.

Nowadays, and thanks to technology and scientific research, we know that a baby is able to react to a wide range of outside stimulation. It’s recommended that you use some stimulation techniques to help your baby before {he/she} is born.

Intrauterine growth

Intrauterine growth is composed of two stages: embryo growth and fetal growth. Your baby’s development in the womb is defined by the growth of complex structures, maturity and organ’s functionality, as well as weight gain and growth. Through a fetal ultrasound, you’re able to estimate your baby’s weight, gestational age, anatomical features and blood flow, as well as fetal movement and heart rate. An ultrasound could reveal data about fetal deformities or any other red flags.

The development of your baby depends on these factors:

• Nurturing environment
• The adequate genetic information
• Placental functioning and nutrient supply
• Mom’s health
• Hormonal secretions

Babies grow faster during the third trimester due to the organs and the body parts that are already formed. Therefore, your belly will grow a lot more during the last three months. Remember, keep a nutritious diet, take care of your body, and visit your doctor periodically. These are all very important for your baby’s healthy development!