Stress during pregnancy can harm your baby - Part 1

Pregnancy is a very exciting time for the whole family. However, the anticipation of the arrival of a beautiful, happy healthy baby can also be stressful. And if that isn’t enough, today most people experience life as really busy, right? While busy can be exhilarating, more often than not it also leads to stress!

Medical science shows that prolonged stress is really harmful for our health and it’s estimated that around 95% of all diseases stem from stress. In other words almost all of our illnesses are stress-related.

What many pregnant women may not know is that stress during pregnancy can also be harmful to their babies.

Research shows that when mums-to-be experience stressful pregnancies, there is an increased likelihood that their children will develop physical, behavioural and emotional problems.

Dr Monique Robinson has been researching this area for over a decade and shares her research in Chapter 2 of my book Inspired Children: How the leading minds of today raise their kids.

Dr Robinson explains her research about the different kinds of stress that people can experience during pregnancy including from:

·         Relationship conflict

·         Financial  difficulties

·         Grief from the loss of friends/family members

·         Anxiety about work

·         Moving house and many more...

Most importantly she explains the impact of stress in pregnancy on the wellbeing of babies. Stress can have a negative effect on the unborn baby’s physical growth, brain development and psychological health. Most importantly she talks about how pregnant mothers can reduce their stress to give their baby the best start in life.

Dr Robinson explains the science in a really easy-to-understand way and gives lots of practical tips and advice for parents about how to actually manage stress. The most important thing for mothers-to-be to know is that if they manage their stress during pregnancy it will make a life time of difference to their child and how the child relates to the whole family.

Increased stress during pregnancy has been linked to the growing the number of children with emotional, behavioural and other issues like ADD and ADHD. So what can parents-to-be do?

Read all about Dr Robinson’s research and practical suggestions for a healthy pregnancy in chapter 2 Inspired Children: How the leading minds of today raise their kids.

I put this book together by interviewing and inviting experts in child development and parenting to share their research and how they used their knowledge to raise their children. I have found it an invaluable resource in raising our son and believe it is a must read for every parent who wants to raise an inspired child.

Each of the expert authors discusses the latest research on child development. It covers from what to do to prepare to have a child - from preconception, pregnancy, raising happy and healthy babies and children right through to teen years. Most importantly it’s in an easy-to-read form, and each expert shares how they have used their knowledge and the research findings to support their own child's development from parent to parent.

The book is filled with practical examples and lots of heart-warming personal stories of their children. The book is a valuable resource for parents as well as early childhood educators, teachers, child psychologists, carers, grandparents, and anyone who works with children.

Here is a list of the chapters and a brief summary of what is inside this book:

Chapter 1 Preparing for parenthood by Bruce H. Lipton, PhD.

This chapter explores what you need to know to prepare for conception. The new science of Epigenetics (don’t be worried it’s explained in an easy to understand way) shows that the parents’ lifestyle (diet, exercise, emotional and mental health) before conception can affect their child’s physical, psychological and emotional development in either a positive or negative way. Learn what to do to give your baby the best possible foundation for life.

Chapter 2 Managing stress during pregnancy by Dr Monique Robinson

Learn all about the negative effects of stress during pregnancy which can lead to behavioural or emotional problems in babies and can extend, not only into childhood, but right up into adolescent years. Understand the link between the increasing levels of stress in daily life and the increasing numbers of children developing attention deficit disorders. Most importantly be empowered with practical ways to reduce stress during pregnancy and could make a lifetime of difference for your baby and your family.

Chapter 3 Raising healthy and happy babies by Janette Roberts

Have you been given conflicting advice about how to best raise your baby? Some people advise parents to sleep with their baby for psychological health and emotional attachment; other say don’t as you could harm your baby during sleep. Then there is when and how to introduce solid food, whether to carry babies all of the time as advised by attachment parenting or to let babies cry themselves to sleep so they learn to self settle - often called controlled crying. This is all so confusing, how is a parent supposed to know the right thing to do to raise a happy, healthy and well adjusted baby?

Jan Roberts shows parents how to trust their instincts and couple this with the latest research and information on raising healthy babies. She explores many key areas including: parental inner wisdom, sleeping, stress, breastfeeding and ways to support your baby’s brain development and emotional and psychological health. Parents will be relieved to have good information with which to base decisions about the benefits of prolonged breastfeeding, co-sleeping and the right kind of stimulation for the for the learning and development and overall wellbeing of babies.

Chapter 3 Preparing children for life by me, Dr Rosina McAlpine

In this chapter I share the benefits of having a life skills approach to parenting. By teaching children life skills form the time they are young until the time they leave home, parents can prepare their kids to succeed in life. The key life skills and personal qualities your child can learn include: healthy self-esteem, resilience for when times get tough, emotional intelligence so they can manage and express emotions in a healthy way and a social conscience so they can contribute to their family, community and to society in a positive way.

The seven key life skill areas that are explored include personal power (self-esteem and resilience); health and wellbeing; education, careers and money; environment and social understanding; communication skills and relationship building skills; play and relaxation; as well as inspired creativity. There are loads of practical activities to give parents, grandparents, carers and teachers the resources and the knowhow to help children develop important personal qualities and key life skills that will support them to lead healthy, happy and meaningful lives. Imagine how proud you’ll be when your child leaves home and you know they can take care of themselves – that is one thing you won’t need to worry about!

Chapter 4 Supporting emotional intelligence in children by Dr Joe Dispenza

Do your children throw tantrums? Whether your child is 2, 12 or 16 emotional outbursts are hard to manage! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your children could manage their emotions and express their feelings in a safe and productive way?  Helping your child manage their emotions will help them to manage their behaviour in a positive way as well.

Dr Joe Dispenza explains how to support your child’s emotional development. We spend loads of money and time helping our children learn to speak, read and write, well this chapter helps you support your child to develop skills around managing anger, jealousy, sadness and expressing it in a supportive way for your child and for others around them. There are loads of examples and activities Dr Joe Dispenza practised with his own children to help them become capable, resourceful and responsive young adults. So many adults can’t manage their emotions you can make sure your kids grow into well adjusted adults who don’t have harmful emotional outbursts.

Chapter 6 Parenting psychologically healthy children by Michael Hall, PhD

Every parent wants their child to have good self esteem. I can’t imagine any parent wanting their child to have poor self-esteem, yet the truth is that many children today have poor self esteem. One of the most frequent questions I get from parents is “how to boost their child’s low self esteem”. Parents know that healthy self-esteem is an essential personal quality in life.

Children who feel good about themselves go out into life with a positive attitude, try to things, learn from their mistakes and make friends easily. Michael Hall PhD explains how you can help your child develop good self esteem. First it is important to know the fundamental differences between self-esteem, self-confidence and self-efficacy. There are practical ways to nurture good self-esteem in your children so they can enjoy their life in a confident and positive way.

Chapter 7 Helping children to manage stress by Maggie Dent

No one can deny that time feels like it is speeding up and most of us live fast-paced, stressful lives. Maggie Dent explains that lifelong good habits begin in childhood and because children aren’t taught how to deal with stress and distress as a child they can’t manage their stress as adults. Medical research suggests that most illnesses are stress-related, so it’s crucial that parents, carers and educators equip children with the tools to calm themselves and be able to manage stress.

Maggie Dent offers wonderful advice based on her own experience as a mother raising four boys, as well as all of the research she has done on the topic. The chapter is filled with helpful guidance and practical suggestions about how parents can help their children manage stress. She also discusses the sensitive topics of drugs, alcohol and violence in children - the topics parents never want to experience with their own children – providing ways parents can engage their children in safe activities like athletic and creative pursuits so as to avoid harmful addictive behaviours.

Chapter 8 Inspiring children to achieve goals by Sandy Forster

Every parent wants their child to make their mark in the world and achieve their dreams. Imagine if you had the tools to help your child realise their dreams and achieve their life goals. In chapter eight, Sandy Forster shares her experiences with the process of making her own dreams a reality.

You’ll be inspired by her amazing story of how she went from living on government welfare payments to becoming a millionaire. Learn how to role model and involve your children in achieving dreams ... this makes for a successful and joyful family life. You can discover how to help your children find out what they want to achieve in life and take the steps to making it a reality. Be inspired to make your own millions! Why not?

Chapter 9 Helping children develop a positive relationship with life by Dr Rosina McAlpine based on an interview with Dr Joe Dispenza

I was so inspired by Dr Joe Dispenza’s children’s achievements in life, I interviewed him to find out how he helped them achieve such great things. You’ll be as inspired as I was as you discover how Dr Joe Dispenza empowered his children to believe in themselves and to dream big and achieve big. You’ll learn how to help your children develop a great attitude and a positive relationship with life.

You’ll have a great time trying the simple and fun activities together as a family that create opportunities for children to experience for themselves how they can influence the world. If children feel like they can make a difference, that they can achieve their goals they’ll feel motivated to take responsibility for leading a proactive, successful and inspired life.

Chapter 10 Learning partnerships with children by Dr Yvonne Sum

Do you want to have it all? Be a great parent, have time for yourself as well as a career? Then read on! In the final chapter of the book, busy parents who are trying to manage a career, run a household, parent as well as find time for themselves will find this chapter very helpful. Dr Yvonne Sum explains her system called the 7R’s of Parenting. This simple but powerful system helps parents bring structure and order in today’s busy family life. Learn how to be a great role model, develop simple and practical rules, engender the respect of your children, develop effective routines as well as making time for reviewing, reflecting and reorganising the whole system when needed! You’ll have your household running well in no time!

Every chapter is in this wonderful book is filled with helpful information, practical activities you can complete with your children as well as many personal and heart-warming accounts the contributors share about their parenting and their children. I have found it an invaluable resource in raising our child and answering so many questions for parents.

Inspired Children how the leading minds of today raise their kids is a must read for any parent who wants to raise a happy, well-adjusted and capable child! Here’s what two of the reviewers had to say:

Dr. Rosina McAlpine provides parents with a truly inspirational book to help guide them toward informed appreciation for all that is unique about their children. With contributions by international experts, Inspired Children helps parents discover their own personal parenting styles and encourages confidence with actionable ideas that foster healthy communication, attachment and love. This meaningful book, merges science and experience and most importantly it is written in a language that parents, teachers and early childhood educators can learn from.

Dr Lynne Kenney, PsyD Author of The Family Coach Method: Raising Good, Kind, Ethical Kids 3 to 8: in a Complicated World

Dr. Rosina has cleverly brought together the research, experience and stories of leading minds from across the globe whose wisdom knowledge and parenting insights are second to none. This book represents smart parenting with consciousness and wisdom for the 21st century. I was delighted to find a powerful and insightful book packed full of parenting tools and tips from pre-conception to adolescence. In fact, this book offers so much I think it is a must read for all, not only parents!

Vivien Sabel author of The Blossom Method™ - How to Understand and Bond with Your Baby From Birth - “A groundbreaking and revolutionary parenting/baby book” (Random House publication June 2012) UKCP Registered Psychotherapist, Clinical Supervisor & Researcher