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Mindfulness in first-time mothers lead to healthier babies

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

A study by Harvard University researcher says first-time mothers who are 'mindful' of their emotional and physical changes during pregnancy may feel better and have healthier newborns than new mothers who don't.

For the study, researchers trained women pregnant with their first child in mindfulness with instructions to notice subtle changes in their feelings and physical sensations each day.

When compared with two other groups of first-time pregnant mothers who did not have the mindfulness training, these women reported more healthful and positive feelings and less emotional distress.

"They had higher self-esteem and life satisfaction during this period of their pregnancy and up to at least a month after birth," professor of psychology at Harvard University Ellen Langer was quoted as saying in American Psychological Association's statement.

"And this also had a positive impact on their deliveries and overall health of the newborns."

Teaching mindfulness through attention to variability may be helpful for many disorders, including asthma, depression and learning disabilities, to name a few, according to Langer.

"Noticing even subtle fluctuations in how you feel can counter mindlessness, or the illusion of stability.

We tend to hold things still in our minds, despite the fact that all the while they are changing. If we open up our minds, a world of possibility presents itself," she said.

First Published: Fri, August 03 2012. 19:36 IST