As many women who are due to give birth in days or weeks – not only in the South – have been stressed in the shadow of the rocket and missile fire from Gaza, the Israel Midwives Association released professional advice on how to calm down.
“We hope our recommendations will help pregnant women to reduce negative emotions and survive the coming days and weeks until arriving in the delivery room,” said the organization, which represents 1,300 nurse-midwives in public hospitals around the country. Guidelines about when to go to the hospital, such as when pregnant women’s waters break and how frequent their labor pains are relevant in situations of acute security threats as well as in normal times, it said.
“First, it is important to know that the subconscious of all of us is affected by images and sights, therefore it is recommended to reduce TV viewing and frequently think about beautiful sights and pleasant memories. You can go back again in your imagination to good things that happened to you, look at pictures that you saved on your phone, uploaded to social networks or kept in albums,” the midwives advised.
“The more we draw in our imagination, over and over again, a good scenario that happened to us as a family, the better we will feel. In this way, we will strengthen the immune system and reduce the secretion of the stress hormone cortisol, whose rise can increase restlessness.”
“First, it is important to know that the subconscious of all of us is affected by images and sights, therefore it is recommended to reduce TV viewing and frequently think about beautiful sights and pleasant memories."Israel Midwives Association
The midwives also recommended writing empowering sentences related to the family and the upcoming birth, such as: “My baby will arrive in time and join the family that is waiting for him/her” or “I trust myself to know what is good for me and the fetus inside me.”
It is important to smile, even if it is staged and forced, because a smile contributes to a more positive feeling, they continued. “Studies show that laughter can also reduce the level of pain in the body.”
It is advisable to do breathing exercises that one learned in pregnancy classes for a few minutes at a time. Breathe in through the nose, wait a few seconds and then release the air slowly and consciously. The exercise should be repeated between five to 20 times at your own pace. If a worry or thought arises while practicing, put it aside and return to breathing later. The exercise contributes to relaxation, serenity and the banishing of negative thoughts, and can be repeated even several times a day. It must be remembered that when a mother is calm, the fetus in the womb is also calm.
The midwives also suggested listening to happy music and dancing. If there are other children at home, the mother and children can all dance together. Try not to be alone.
Pregnant women who want to share and consult openly or anonymously, are invited to the closed Facebook community called Midwife’s Word, which includes 3,300 women and is managed by professional midwives. Every woman can ask questions and receive a personal, evidence-based professional answer.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry has begun broadcasting a public service message on the TV that it produced for coping emotionally with the last rocket attacks. If you encounter people having a panic attack, calm them, tell them they are not alone and that you won’t leave them. Ask questions that require them to answer – not yes or no – such as where do you live, and where do you want to go?
Say things that relieve a feeling of helplessness, such as wanting to collect things or call somebody. Summarize the situation, such as saying that the siren has stopped, so you can go home now.