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Embracing change

by Xoli Makabane, midwife
Baby Yum Yum - Embracing change
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Seasonal depression during the cold winter months is a real phenomenon and one that can impact negatively on existing stresses and relationship strain. Add to this the emotional turmoil caused by pregnancy hormones and even the healthiest of relationships will be put to the test.

As we say farewell to winter, I would like to use this month’s column to help reduce the number of premature labours that tend to occur in September and October, the months after winter. While there is no documented research to support this as scientific fact, there are evidence-based analogies that encourage us to take a closer look at seasons and labour.

Poor mental health is still a misunderstood and even taboo subject in many societies in South Africa, so much so that any intervention is often only made long after the problem first emerged. The fact is that emotional strain far outweighs physical strain, yet we still wait for a person to show physical symptoms before we help them.

I would like to share a case study to better illustrate my point.

Sylvia* married the man of her dreams last year and as with all young couples, they are still learning about the give and take of marriage. Sylvia fell pregnant quite early in their marriage and at six months, she is dealing with the physical demands of her pregnancy, such as swelling, water retention and stretch marks.

“With the coughing and sneezing, she may be in danger of her membranes rupturing prematurely.”

To make matters worse, their medical aid is not covering some of the tests her health care provider has requested and her compromised immune system along with the seasonal dust and pollen have exposed her a bout of the flu. This is just one example of how the physical and emotional demands of a situation can play out in our lives. With the coughing and sneezing, she may be in danger of her membranes rupturing prematurely.

The moral of this story is to be kind to yourself. Pregnancy brings with it many changes, some permanent and some temporary. Finances are important, but having a healthy baby more so. You are not alone; every woman has flaws, so let your stretch marks be yours and remember that not every comment about your pregnancy is a personal attack on you.

Allow your village to nurture you through this time and rely on the wisdom of your midwife or doctor to get you through. If you are feeling overwhelmed mentally or physically, reach out for help to enjoy a healthier, happier pregnancy.

*Not her real name

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