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For those who’ve just got pregnant

2018-08-24 11:27:50
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A close look at adopting the best lifestyle for you for the next ten months 

 

Now that you are expecting your precious gift on the way, taking good care of yourself is more important than ever. That’s because making healthy lifestyle choices can directly impact the health of your growing baby. Unless you are exposed to pregnancy complication risks and your doctor tells you to, you don’t have to completely overhaul your lifestyle. Instead, you only have to make simple adjustments to your physical and mental health. These changes can improve your chances of having a healthy little one. And first give yourself a little break—growing a baby is hard work!   

 


Recognise your motherhood   
The bond between a woman and her foetus is often identified by health professionals as maternal-foetal attachment. It refers to a process through which a pregnant woman experiences feelings and emotions for her foetus, and learns to interact with her foetus. This process helps to develop a maternal identity which carries many benefits in time to come.   


One such benefit is that it leads mothers to develop greater bonds with their babies during infancy.   
It also influences the baby’s future growth and development. A strong bond between mother and baby is associated with better development outcomes.   

 

The fatigue feeling one experiences during the first few months is due to the high levels of pregnancy hormones circulating within the body. Or it may be because you’re getting up in the night to go to the loo or not being able to remain comfortably in bed. 

 

Get sound sleep   
The fatigue feeling one experiences during the first few months is due to the high levels of pregnancy hormones circulating within the body. Or it may be because you’re getting up in the night to go to the loo or not being able to remain comfortably in bed.   


If your sleep is disturbed at night, try to take a quick nap in the middle of the day or go to bed early to catch up on lost sleep. If that’s impossible, at least put your feet up and try to relax for 30 minutes.   
If you are in difficulty of getting back to sleep   
Try,   

 

  • Deep breathing   
  • Visualisation   
  • Stretching   
  • Massage   


By the third trimester, try to develop the habit of going to sleep on your side. Sleeping on your side reduces the risk of stillbirth compared to sleeping on your back.   


If backache is disturbing your sleep, try lying on your side with your knees bent. Placing a wedge-shaped pillow under your bump may help ease the strain on your back.   

 


Exercise often   
Exercising during pregnancy has several other benefits like more energy, improved sleep, less back pain, reduced risk of pregnancy and delivery complications and speedier postpartum recovery.   
Exercise may also give you some relief from backache. It can help with sleep problems, too, as long as you don’t exercise too close to bedtime.   


Power walk around the neighbourhood or hike an easy trail.   


Moderate, daily exercise improves your mood and can enhance your stamina during labour and delivery.   

 

Exercising during pregnancy has several other benefits like more energy, improved sleep, less back pain, reduced risk of pregnancy and delivery complications and speedier postpartum recovery. Exercise may also give you some relief from backache


Eat and drink wisely   
Try to feed yourself with foods that are low in refined sugar and high in protein and complex carbohydrates; for healthy weight gain   


Your bodily activities are higher during pregnancy and therefore you need to drink more liquids to support that gain. Drinking water can also help prevent constipation, haemorrhoids, UTIs, fatigue 
and headaches.   


Also avoid refrigerated, smoked and under-cooked meat, poultry and seafood. If you or someone in your family has had a history of allergies be careful when you are trying new meals.   


Avoid alcohol during pregnancy as the baby cannot process alcohol very well. So, any alcohol in your baby stays in its body much longer than in you. This is a risk and exposes you to serious problems. At the worst, babies can develop a syndrome of severe abnormalities, called foetal alcohol syndrome. In others, alcohol can cause problems for the baby such as poor growth, premature labour and physical and mental disability.   


Avoid smoking or being exposed to tobacco smoke which exposes you to the increased risk of pregnancy complications, resulting in an impaired infant. In such cases there is poor foetal weight gain and premature delivery. These situations can lead to childhood asthma.   

 


Sex is safe   
Sex is not unsafe for most couples during pregnancy. As the pregnancy progresses and the bump becomes bigger you may find some positions more difficult. You may need to tryout to find something that works for both of you.   


Later during pregnancy, sex and orgasms may provoke contractions known as Braxton-Hicks contractions. These make your bump feel hard. They can be uncomfortable, but are quite normal. They usually pass after a few minutes.   


Your doctor may advise you to avoid sex if you have had heavy bleeding in your pregnancy as it may provoke another attack. This may also be the case if your waters have broken. This is because the protective barrier has gone, so having sex then may increase the risk of infection and early labour.   

 


Travel when needed only   
As you know our road safety and transport systems are not the best that you can have. If you have met with an accident doctors find it more difficult to handle you when compared to a person who is non-pregnant. This is because your body mechanisms are different and they have to look after you and your baby. So always plan before you travel and it is advisable not to travel anywhere too remote, to places which are far from medical assistance. Follow this advice particularly during the early or later stages of pregnancy.   


When in a car, wear the seat belt so that the straps go above and below your bump, not across it. 
Air travel should be preferably less than seven hours at a stretch. Try to fit in to the aisle seat so then you can easily walk around when it is safe. Move your lower legs regularly so that you can minimize a chance that you will be having a clot in your legs. Don’t forget to drink enough water and keep you well hydrated.   


Finally you don’t have to stress out or drive yourself crazy about being healthy, just because you’re pregnant. If on a given day you eat one, too many or miss a workout just don’t beat yourself up. Try again tomorrow to make healthy choices for you and your baby.   


(The writer possesses an MBBS MD (OBS&GYN) MRCOG (UK) MSLCOG, has a Fellowship in Gyne laporoscopy (Akola)  and is a Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at the DGH in Nawalapitiya)   


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