Care during pregnancy starts early – in fact – as soon as the diagnosis is made. Personal hygiene has to be meticulous. Apart from the medical care given by the attending Doctor, it is better to know certain day-to-day matters which are taken for granted.
Diet: The baby is a true parasite of the mother, since its nutrition comes totally from the mother. Hence, it is important that the mother’s diet is supervised. Total intake should be about 2,500 calories per day and protein foods should be 60 to 85 gms and of these half should be of animal origin i.e., milk, eggs or meat.
The best way to know if the nutrition is adequate is to keeps a record of weight gain. There should be a steady rise, neither a fall nor excessive gain.
The important supplements are Iron, Calcium and multivitamins. By 4th month, baby’s blood starts being formed and iron from the mother is diverted to it. Hence mother starts showing effects of anemia. To counteract this, iron treatment must start as soon as 3rd month is over.
Calcium deposition in baby’s bones starts at 5th month and is maximum towards the end. If enough calcium is not available in the diet, it will be taken from the mother’s bones leading to bone and joint pains and weakening of skeletal system.
Hence calcium supplement must start by 5th month. Milk is the best source of calcium and two pints of milk contain 1.5 gms of calcium. Another gram in the form of two tablets will be adequate.
Although a well balanced diet contains adequate vitamins, it is difficult to know how much is destroyed in cooking and how much is absorbed from the bowel. Therefore one capsule of multivitamins should be taken daily.
Clothes: The best fabric for pregnancy is cotton and these should be freshly washed. Clothes should not be tight fitting but allow free movement. A kaftan makes a suitable dress at least for home wear. Corsets are not necessary till after child birth. Well fitting brassieres are however necessary. Well fitting shoes, thick soles and low hells are recommended for working women.
Posture and Gait: Posture and gait are important as adequate blood supply to the uterus has to be maintained. Erect posture with correct usage of muscles will ensure that there is no undue feeling of tiredness. The accompanying diagram gives the correct posture.
While walking your balance has to be maintained.
There is a tendency to waddle like a duck and this should be avoided. Some women look very ungainly during pregnancy. This is mostly due to wrong clothes and wrong posture and gait. Walk in front of a mirror and see how you look. You can also consult your Physiotherapist.
Bending during pregnancy should be at the knees and one needs to practice this from the beginning. Bending at the waist will be painful and unnecessarily strain the uterus. By holding on to the arms of a chair placed in front of a mirror you can practice bending at the knees, keeping the back straight.
Exercise: Regular walks during pregnancy are traditional. Modern medicine includes antenatal physiotherapy. This is usually a group activity where exercises are taught and a woman is prepared mentally and physically to face child birth. Household chores need not be diminished during pregnancy useless advised by your doctor.
Exercise is of great help in pregnancy to get into perfect Figure after pregnancy Exercise is a must. For mroe details visit: Perfect figure after childbirth
Smoking and drinking: Nicotine reduces the size of blood vessels particularly of the placenta and so is harmful to the baby. Mothers who smoke have small sized babies and have a higher occurrence of abortions and premature deliveries. Therefore smoking should be totally avoided or restricted to two cigarettes per day.
Social drinking of “a glass” over an evening is safe. But there is no uglier sight than a pregant woman who is high. Remember alcohol goes through your blood to the baby’s blood.
Sex: This should be avoided in the first three months, as it may lead to a
miscarriage and certainly in the last two months. It is safer in the middle three-four months. In complicated cases, instructions from the Doctor have to be followed strictly.
Intercourse in this stage can affect both child and the mother. For more details visit: Pregnancy and sex dos and donts
Breasts: Have to be prepared for lactation. Nipples have to be drawn out daily using a little cold cream. A gentle massage from the periphery towards the nipple will promote good functioning of the ducts. A tight well fitting bra is a must.
The breast of the woman considerably changes during pregnancy stage. Their shape should be maintained. For more details visit:
Breast shape up after delivery
Bowels: Bowels must move daily. With proper diet this should not be a problem. If constipated, then strong purgatives should be avoided. Stewed prunes and figs should be tried first. Loose unformed stools indicate bowel infection, and should be treated promptly.
Sleep: Pregnant women and heart patients are the only individuals who need afternoon sleep. Continuous sleep is difficult during pregnancy. Women should change positions frequently. In lieu of sleep, rest in an easy chair with legs raised, for at least half an hour, compromise. The aim is to take the weight off the feet, and to improve the circulation. Sleeping pills of any kind may be dangerous and should be avoided totally at least in the first three months.
Traveling: In these days of jet set living, traveling has become a way of life. It is not unusual to come across a pregnant woman who wants to go half way round the world. However, there are risks involved. All aircrafts are pressurized so the old problem of pressure difference at high altitude does not arise.
But changes in climate and altitude do have an adverse effect. Above 5000 feet, the baby’s heart rate goes up by 10 to 30 beats per minute as a response to low oxygen tension. Women with high blood pressure, anemia or heart disease are better off at sea level than at high altitude.
Traveling by train is safe and should be preferred to long car journeys on bumpy roads. Just prior to undertaking a journey a medical check up must be done. The Doctor may wish to prescribe certain medicines which will sedate the uterus during the journey.
Generally only essential traveling should be undertaken. The air lines can refuse to fly a patient after the seventh month. The journey should be so planned that there are short hops and plenty of rest, in between, for acclimatization.
If traveling by sea, sea sickness may be anticipated. Medical aid on board is limited and required medicines should be taken along.
Simple Medication: Even the simplest of medicines may be harmful to the baby. It is a golden rule to avoid all medication in the first three months. However, in case of need, a doctor’s permission should be sought.
Careful reading of literature accompanying the drug should help as all pharmaceutical firms print contraindications in pregnancy.
Headaches, backaches, etc. can be treated by external applications of balm and by hot water bottle etc.
X-ray exposure is also dangerous of pregnancy is suspected it must be mentioned to the X-ray specialist.
Although it is a truism to say that pregnancy is a natural state and that most women develop a harmonious relationship with a fetus which is beneficial to both, yet everyone knows that things can go wrong too.
Pregnancy is a state of tremendous stress and strain, many diseases which are dormant can surface and many minor illnesses can have adverse effect on the pregnancy. If health is neglected during this period it can lead to disaster and death to the two lives involved. Therefore, one can never overemphasize the need to take care.