Pregnancy, Maternal Stress and Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Biofeedback Training
The life changing experience of pregnancy brings joy and happiness along with physical and mental stress for the family, especially for the mother. Physically, a woman’s body secretes hormones that cause her body to transform to accommodate the growing fetus. She experiences an expanding belly, weight gain, backaches and morning sickness. Her heart rate and blood pressure increase so that she can provide nutrients and oxygen for both herself and her developing baby. Mentally, worries arise about the health and well-being of the developing fetus. The stress of pregnancy and the arrival of a child can lead to anxiety and depression and other stress related illnesses. Maternal Prenatal Stress has been associated with adverse birth outcomes, such as premature births, lower birth weight, as well as a negative impact on the baby’s mental and physiological development. Maternal Prenatal Stress is a risk factor for the offspring and may contribute to behavioral problems, learning disorders, ADHD, and autism. Studies show that Maternal Prenatal Stress is associated with the development of childhood Asthma.
A new emerging science called Development Origin of Health and Disease is beginning to recognize that disruptive Maternal Prenatal Stress is associated with the development of hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke later on in the child’s life and into adulthood.
An easily learned stress reduction technique which can improve well-being is slow paced breathing using Heart Rate Variability (HRV) paced breathing biofeedback. One study indicated a significant beneficial effect of relaxation breathing using HRV biofeedback on the psychological well-being and reduction of stress for all women, and a beneficial effect on anxiety complaints for pregnant women. Another study recommended that using HRV for guided breathing for 4 weeks immediately after delivery was a good intervention to reduce maternal postpartum anxiety and improving sleep.
The ichoiceRelax Heart Rate Sensor and free relaxation app uses HRV biofeedback to guide you to breathe at your Personal Best Relaxation Breathing Rate where your body and mind are most relaxed. Practice relaxation breathing 20 minutes a day and activate your body’s natural relaxation response. Along with healthy eating habits and exercise (with your Doctors approval), use ichoiceRelax HRV biofeedback training throughout pregnancy to achieve a calmer state during and after your pregnancy.