Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Taking care of yourself during the pregnancy....

There are many things that we tend to do wrong while we are pregnant. Not consciously though. Most first time mothers these days have the responsibility of looking after themselves on their own. With the structure of the joint family already crumbling and not really welcome these days, the nuclear family has to fend for itself. Thus we are left with little or no advice, something that would have been abundant if we were to be surrounded by our elders.

Many women choose to call their mothers when they are pregnant. Some do it long-distance over the phone. Some mothers come and live with their expecting daughters, while some daughters move over to their maternal home for the delivery. A few women also go to their in-laws’ place or vice-versa.

But for those initial months, or rather, the major part of pregnancy, when we are on our own, there are a few very basic things that we can keep in mind to ensure the health of both us and our little one.

1. Eat well and do not skip meals. We have all skipped meals all our lives, especially breakfast, even though we all know by rote now that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. When you are pregnant, it is especially important that you eat well. What mothers and doctors say is true – that you are eating for two when you are pregs. Of course not literally, that is, if you are eating a plate of rice the baby will not get the nutritive value of the full plate of rice. But it will get its nutrition from what you need. And if you don’t eat well, chances are you may suffer fatigue and weakness, which can eventually affect baby. You don’t have to stuff yourself with food either. Just make sure you never go hungry.

2. Sleep on your left side. The doctor will tell you the same. Sleeping on your left side will ensure a better supply of blood to baby. This is good for baby’s development.

3. Remember what all food allergies you have and avoid them at all costs.

4. Alcohol and aerated drinks as well as smoking are a strict NO. Not even the tiniest sip of alcohol is permissible when you are pregnant. And not even that one drag on the stick.

5. Many doctors, as well as mothers, will tell you to stay away from fruits like papaya and pineapple. I am not really sure if all women are told the same thing, of course it might vary from woman to woman. But it is always better to avoid these fruits unless the doctors say otherwise.

6. Many, but not all women are also put off Chinese food as it contains a lot of ajinomoto and is said to be harmful for pregnancy. Check with your doctor about the same.

7. The pills you are given during pregnancy are almost always extremely bitter. But there is no excuse for you not to take them. It is extremely important that you religiously take each and every medicine that the doctor has prescribed. If the pills are too bitter, try and crush it and mix it with some honey or sugar (check with your doctor about the same). Or you can share your problem with them and ask if there is any substitute. If there is no other option, act like a mature adult and TAKE THE PILLS.

8. Milk milk and lots of milk. There is no beating about the bush here. Unless you are a person who suffers from lactose intolerance, you simply have to consume milk each day. At least two big cups of milk is what you should ideally be taking. But if you feel that is too much, or if you are unable to keep it down, try and take it in small sips in regular intervals. No amount of milk is too much during pregnancy. Have as much as you can, as it will be a great source of nourishment for both you and baby. Remember to boil the milk properly first and only then consume, unless it is from a carton that is already boiled.

9. Go easy on the oil. During these nine months, try and avoid as much oily and fried food as you can. Not only are these zero in nutritive value, having fried and too oily food during pregnancy leads to heartburn and acidity, which can be a huge source of discomfort.

10. Lie down, sleep, rest. As simple as it may sound, once the baby arrives, you will need all your time and energy to take care for the little one. As much as you sleep and rest now, the more your body will be able to refresh and energise itself, thus giving you a great boost to charge you up for the post-delivery days. Also, it is said (I am not sure if it is just a myth or a fact, but it happened in my case) that when the mother sleeps, the baby also sleeps, even in the womb. So it is said that if you sleep in the afternoon, even a small nap, your baby too will do the same, and the practice will continue even after birth. I never ever slept in the day, and now my daughter does not sleep either, try as hard as I might. Like I said, I don’t know if this is a myth or fact, but taking a nap can only be good for you, so go for it.

11. Try and establish a routine as much as you can. Try and wake up on time and try to keep your bed time at a decent hour. Going to bed too late will also lead to acidity and indigestion. Also, if you start getting into a routine now, chances are, it will become a part of your life once the baby arrives, and you will not have much trouble establishing a routine as your little one is growing up.

12. Dry fruits are a good source of nutrition. Keep a bowl of raisins, cashew nuts and almonds handy. When you feel the urge to munch on something but want to give meals or fruits a miss, snacking on these energy nuts will provide much energy and be filling as well.

13. Lifting heavy stuff is completely out of the question. You may feel fine and strong, but there is no guarantee that lifting something heavy will not affect the baby. Be safe and be smart and avoid it at all costs.

14. Each time you need to pick up something, remember to bend at your knees and not bend down over your back. Even if your tummy is not big by now, you are carrying your precious one inside you and you need to keep its safety in your mind at all times. Bend your knees slowly, if required, hold on to something for support, and only then pick up what you need. The tummy should not feel the pressure at any time.

Remember that every woman’s needs and likes and dislikes are different and it is wrong to compare yourself with other women who are pregnant. There may be many things that you do the same like them, as there may be many that you do completely differently. Unless you feel it is harming you or baby in some way, there is no need for concern. Keep talking to your gynae whenever you have an appointment and discuss your thoughts and fears freely. Remember, the more you talk to a doctor, the more sound and correct advice you are bound to get, which will ultimately be useful for your baby.

So take care, enjoy this attention phase and get ready for the biggest joy that is soon going to come your way.
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