“Do I really have to eat food for two now?”,
“Can I exercise?”,
“Why am I so tired all the time”,
“Is this even good for me and my baby?”.
An expecting mother has a lot of questions in her mind. What to do and what not to do, she is always stuck between these questions while everyone around shares their own unsolicited tips and tricks.
The parenting professionals from We Positive Parenting, offering prenatal guidance in Ahmedabad have come up with this health guide for mothers-to-be
What should you do as a soon to be mother?
1) Have a healthy diet
An expecting mother should eat 5 to 6 meals every day. And these meals should be well-balanced.
A nutritious and well-balanced diet includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and iron-rich food, that includes protein, vitamin A, C & D, calcium, potassium, folic acid, iron and adequate fat etc. They are as below:
|Carrots||Apricots||Skimmed or 1% milk|
|Sweet Potatoes||Oranges||Soy milk|
Aim to drink at least eight or more cups of water each day. Remember, avoid overeating as an expecting mother’s body needs only 300-500 additional calories per day. Moreover, avoid coffee as increasing dose of daily caffeine intake during pregnancy has been associated with an increased risk of miscarriage as well.
Maintaining a food diary can be very helpful.
2) Exercise regularly, but don’t overdo it!
It is completely safe for an expecting mother to do basic exercises regularly. Many mothers-to-be fear increasing the risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, or early delivery due to exercising and end up avoiding them completely. We suggest you take the guidance of your doctor and gynaecologist and start working out as advised by them.
Experts suggest brisk walking, water workouts, and cycling on a stationary bike as some of the safest exercises for pregnant women. Remember do not exercise out in the open. Wear loose clothes and workout in a temperature-controlled room to avoid becoming overheated. Consume an ample amount of water post workout every time.
3) Get enough sleep & rest
Pregnancy can be physically tiring and mentally draining. Mothers often complain of lack of sleep due to the discomfort from the changes occurring in their body.
Ample sleep is very important for the mother and the offspring.Kathy Lee, a professor of nursing at the University of California San Francisco studied how pregnancy affects sleep. In the conclusion of her study she stated that to assure adequate sleep, health care providers should prescribe 8 hours of bed time during pregnancy.
In order to get good sleep, develop a relaxing bedtime routine. Try to avoid electronics for at least an hour before you go to sleep and use a maternity pillow to support your back and knees while doing so. Yoga and mindfulness meditation also help in getting good sleep.
To avoid having leg cramps while sleeping, consume a lot of water. Apart from that try to limit caffeine intake in the diet as it reduces total sleep time and efficiency.
What to avoid?
1) Say no to Alcohol & Cigarettes
Consuming alcohol and smoking can be harmful both for the expectant mother and the unborn child.
Studies have suggested that alcohol has an impact on a baby’s health in the earliest stages of pregnancy. A study conducted on Alcohol Effects on a Fetus , states that drinking alcohol during pregnancy may harm a developing baby (fetus) as it can pass from mother’s blood to baby’s blood. It can damage the growth of brain and spinal cord cells in the baby. It can also cause abnormal facial features, severe learning disabilities, behavioural issues that may last all of his or her life.
Similarly, another study published in the National Library of Medicines clearly said that infants of mothers who smoked during pregnancy had a 4.09% greater risk of death than infants of mothers who did not smoke. It also said that smoking increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), premature birth, miscarriage and other poor outcomes.
If you think that you or your loved one might have a drinking problem, seek help and counselling to help kick the habit.
2) Avoid Over-the-counter medications
OTC or Over the counter medicines are medications which can be purchased without a medical prescription. Pregnant women tend to take OTCs for allergies, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and skin conditions.
But, when it comes to taking medicines during pregnancy, there is only one simple rule to keep in mind: Always ask your doctor. If you are pregnant or are about to conceive, you should be extremely cautious about anything you take. And this includes medicines and supplements as well.
Never ingest any form of medication without consulting your gynaecologist or doctor.
3) Say no to ‘Stress’
The conception process can be very stressful for a couple due to family pressure or because of the big changes in their lifestyle. And this stress is dangerous for the couple and their unborn child.
A study on ‘Prenatal stress’ stated that if the mother is stressed during the pregnancy, it affects the brain and the behaviour of the baby. This increases the risk of the baby having depression, anxiety, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in later life.
So, for a healthy baby, an expectant mother should practise relaxation techniques. Yoga and meditation will make a mother feel rejuvenated and happier. Experts also suggest that modified yoga or even pilates are safe for expectant mothers to reduce stress and improve their flexibility. It also helps them practise stretching and focused breathing.
If you still feel that you may have anxiety or are in need of expert guidance on prenatal care, seek prenatal guidance.
Seek prenatal guidance from the experts
The challenges faced during pregnancy can be severe and can have a negative impact on the physical and mental health of the mother. Mothers who get proper prenatal care during their pregnancy rarely report any health complications in themselves or with their baby.
Managing the many dos and don’ts for pregnancy and the thought of becoming a parent can further be overwhelming for both the partners. This is where you seek the help of an expert. The parenting experts at We Positive Parenting offer prenatal and family guidance counselling in Ahmedabad to couples on their holistic wellbeing, marital relationship, lifestyle and nutrition, and transitional challenges. Through this, the couples feel more confident and comfortable with the experience.