The joint family system provides a support system especially for children, young parents, and parents-to-be and is a major factor in their survival, health, education, development, and protection. It has the major potential to provide stability and support when there are problems. The joint family system even in India is on the decline, and nuclear families are on the rise both in urban and rural areas. This has left the pregnant woman with little or no family support to fall back on, which can be a cause of stress and thus affect the outcome of pregnancy. Moreover, during the COVID, the medical support was also limited, which has added to the distress.
Stress in the mother can result in hypertensive disorders of pregnancy with resultant low-birth-weight babies, preterm delivery, adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes for the child, and developmental delays in babies, and all these need to be avoided.
iMumz pregnancy, the baby care and parenting digital program, has sought to address these issues by partnering closely with pregnant women, offering a wide range of assistance and activities for maternal well-being in the comfort of their own homes. This study captures the responses and pregnancy outcomes of the women who have used the iMumz pregnancy digital program during pregnancy.
Materials and methods: This longitudinal study (panel study) was conducted on 512 primigravidas. The study group included 255 pregnant women who opted for a digital holistic health program: “Baby Care Program” (BCP), while the control group consisted of 257 pregnant women who received no such interventions.
The BCP included mindfulness meditation, 3 hours of yoga and breathing practices every week, 2 hours of harmonizing music every week, 1 hour of baby bonding activities every week, and 1 hour of personalized diet and pregnancy education each week. The data were collected at 15 and 35 weeks of pregnancy and then from 1 month until 6 months of postdelivery.
Results: The study showed a statistically significant improvement in sleep patterns and stress levels. It also showed a statistically significant decrease in the incidence of preterm delivery and low birth weight and a better maternal–fetal bonding or attachment (MFA) in the BCP study group compared to the control group. After initiation of BCP activities in the App, 88% of the patients reported a significant reduction in stress. The BCP study group also reported a higher sense of mastery in coping with postpartum blues. Eighty percent of the control group reported postpartum blues as compared to 19% of the BCP users. Moreover, 81.4% of the BCP study group reported more sense of control in managing their pregnancies, despite the stressful COVID environment.
Conclusion: The BCP activities, such as meditation, yoga and breathing exercise, harmonizing music, baby bonding activities and personalized diet, and pregnancy education, have helped pregnant women to reduce their stress levels with improvement in sleep quality, increased a sense of control over diet and nutrition, and educated about MFA.
The use of BCP has also positively correlated with better early childhood development and milestones.
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