Poor eating habits to the point where one is at risk of obesity are harmful to anyone regardless of their walk of life. But when a woman is pregnant, the complications of overeating are more far-reaching, considering there's a life in progress involved.
It's a given that once a woman is expecting, eating habits change, as do a number of other mental and physiological things. But counting calories and watching what you eat only scratches the surface of how to deal with overeating, say proponents who claim these methods don't tackle the real issue of why people are prone to overeating in the first place.
However, one San Francisco study took on the motive element, citing stress as being the root of eating issues linked to obesity. The results, published in June, focused on the useful applications of mindfulness, which could help pregnant women become more aware of the links between stress and overeating by monitoring not only their behavior but their emotional state and types of thoughts may trigger eating.
With a focus group of 110 overweight women, between eight to 20 weeks of their pregnancy, as well as an additional 100 subjects comprising a comparison group, the study used a number of intervention tactics designed to cut down on stress among expecting women. Besides looking at eating habits and nutrition, researchers also dedicated equal attention to hunger awareness and mindfulness, choices and mindfulness stress-reduction techniques.
The approaches ran the gamut of activities that included meditation, light stretching, mental exercises dealing with acceptance and techniques used to cope with stress. Subjects also discussed practical ways to deal with stress, which led to participants adopting three major commitments of mindful eating, moving the body and breathing.
The intervention techniques employed in the study participants included simple sitting meditation, light stretching, acceptance, and coping with stress. For mindfulness skills, participants discuss coping concepts and practical solutions that are informal and easy to apply. The focus of this approach led to three primary commitments in the participants: mindful eating, move my body and breathe. From that, the study continued to work on ways to help pregnant women to eat more nutritious food and have gain weight in a much healthier fashion.
The results indicated that stress during pregnancy is directly linked to bad eating habits although mindful techniques tailored to individual requirements can curtail that activity. The study also showed that it's also possible to get positive results regardless of the diversity of pregnant women.