Prenatal care – TaoJiao
Looking after pregnant women is an important part of what we do here at Natural Solutions and we love it! Pregnancy is such an important time to look after the expecting mum’s health and wellbeing. In Chinese Medicine, parental education actually begins when the baby is in the mother’s womb. In Chinese this is called TaoJiao which can be interpreted as foetal education, or the more commonly know term prenatal care. During pregnancy, the mothers physical and emotional health and external environment stimuli (such as sound, light, touch) have a great impact on baby’s development. Let’s have a look at the important aspects of prenatal care.
When should I start TaoJiao?
TaoJiao doesn’t need to wait until 4-5 months after you feel the first kick from the baby. You can start as soon as you know you are pregnant. TaoJiao is about making connection with the baby and also places a huge focus on the physical and emotional health of the mother. If the mother is healthy and relaxed, the baby develops in a calm and relaxed environment.
What are important aspects of TaoJiao?
- Keep calm and relaxed
Let’s think about the last time you felt very stressed. Your heart rate goes up, your body tenses up, you can’t sleep and you cannot focus. These are not pleasant feelings and I am sure you try to find ways to help managing them. Now let’s think about the baby. You and your baby are physically connected, wouldn’t you agree that your little one can pick up these energies and starts getting stressed as well? A recent study shows that prenatal stress can affect baby’s brain development before they are born (1).
We understand that pregnancy often comes with a lot of anxiety and nervousness, especially if it is your first one. If you had a hard time falling pregnant the stress is often even worse.
Try to incorporate activities in your everyday schedule to help your stay calm and relaxed. This can be attending prenatal yoga classes, meditation, going out for short walks, be in nature, listen to soft music or anything else that relaxes you. Acupuncture can be really helpful if you feel stressed or anxious and overwhelmed during your pregnancy.
During pregnancy blood flow increases and mothers often have a higher metabolism rate and higher temperature. In Chinese Medicine, we say the mothers tend to have more heat and damp in their bodies. Therefore, it is recommended to limit spicy, pungent, and greasy food intake during these 10 months. These foods can create more heat which can then dry up fluids in the body. Eating more fruit and having a balanced diet is the key.
- Take breaks throughout the day
Growing a baby consumes a lot of energy and blood. It is normal to feel tired and it is important to not to push through your day like you’re probably used to. Try to take as many breaks throughout the day as you can to let your body recharge.
- External stimuli to the baby
The nervous system (brain, spinal cord and nerves) is the first system to develop. External stimuli can affect the baby’s development and here are the few things that are beneficial for the baby:
- Listening to soft music, the mother and father singing to the baby.
- The mother and father actively talking to the baby and gently rubbing on the mother’s belly.
- Reading short paragraphs to baby.
- Enjoying art and looking at beautiful things.
- Going out for short walks in the day to help baby to differentiate between day and night.
- All these ideas apply to the father too!
It’s often hard for the father to get a true understanding of the growing baby in the mother’s body and that’s okay. However, please remember parenting is team work and that also starts with pregnancy. Physical and emotional support from the father is crucial so that the mother can continue to create a calm and relaxed environment for the baby to grow in. Talking and reading to the baby from early on can help the father to create a bond with the baby.
Do you need help during your pregnancy?
Pregnancy is a busy time and often it is not easy for women to dedicate enough time to self care. You don’t have to do this alone. At Natural Solutions we offer a range of services that can help you feel your best during pregnancy. Both acupuncture and osteopathy can help you stay mentally and physically well and keep the babies environment happy.
(1) Wu, Y., Kapse, K., Jacobs, M., Niforatos-Andescavage, N., Donofrio, M. T., Krishnan, A., Vezina, G., Wessel, D., du Plessis, A., & Limperopoulos, C. (2020). Association of Maternal Psychological Distress With In Utero Brain Development in Fetuses With Congenital Heart Disease. JAMA Pediatrics, 174(3), e195316. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.5316