Pregnancy care – Tips for mothers to-be, on diet, clothing, exercise and rest, physical health, emotional health, drugs, preparing for breastfeeding and shopping for the baby. A well-balanced diet does not mean expensive foods but foods that provide energy and foods rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals.
Important pregnancy care tips !
The pregnant woman needs a well-balanced diet. It will be advisable to include fresh vegetables, fruits, milk, cheese, eggs, meat and fish in the daily food.
There is no truth in the saying that the pregnant woman should eat enough for two. Too much of eating may cause extra weight gain, putting excessive load on the already overburdened liver and kidneys.
Excess weight is also likely to increase her discomfort when the abdomen becomes enlarged. There is also a risk of permanent marking on her skin and impairment of her figure after childbirth.
That a pregnant woman should eat very little to safeguard against difficult delivery is again a myth.
What, then, is the precise recommendation? Well, you should eat a well-balanced diet and little extra of everything that you normally take when you are pregnant. This will amount to some 300 additional calories every day.
Energy-giving foods include rice, wheat, maize, potatoes, sugar, jaggery, fats and oils. Protein-rich foods include pulses, peas, beans, nuts, milk, meat, fish and eggs.
Fruits (orange, banana, mango) and vegetables (carrot, spinach, methi, mustard leaves, mint) are rich in vitamins and minerals.
Alcohol and smoking should decidedly be given up to the pregnant woman. There is now convincing evidence that smoking, especially in the last trimester, may cause growth retardation of the baby that is in the womb.
Not only that, his brain may also be affected.
Coffee and tea in moderation are permissible.
Pregnancy care involves proper clothing for pregnant women
Ordinary dress will do for the first four months. After the fifth month, the pregnant woman should make it a point to wear loose clothing.
The garment should not constrict the waist. Instead it should hang from the shoulders, hardly putting any pressure on the abdomen.
You may get tailored or ready-made maternity dresses – attractive, loose and comfortable. These should have fairly good allowance for further expansion.
It is necessary to wear a well-fitting brassiere to prevent excessive stretching of the skin under the weight of the large breasts.
Exercise and rest is a necessary feature of pregnancy care for all mothers-to-be
The pregnant woman needs at least eight hours sleep during night. An afternoon nap is desirable. Every now and then, during daily routine work, she should sit down for a few minutes and relax.
An evening walk done in moderation does a lot of good but should be diminished slowly as the pregnancy advances. As the delivery date arrives, short strolls within or around the house are good enough.
Exercise, in one or the other form, is strongly recommended. Any exercise or a sport in which risks of falls or blows are considerable is best avoided. The same can be said about long and tiresome journeys.
She should not feel fatigue as it is the enemy of the pregnant woman.
Emotional health is often overlooked as part of pregnancy care
The time-honoured advice that “pregnant woman should think of beautiful things to ensure a happy baby” continues to hold good even today.
A woman who learns to relax and enjoy her pregnancy (never mind even if you have to talk over your worries and problems to experts or other family members to come to terms with your anxiety) will come to the labour room with a relaxed body and a calm, peaceful mind.
She is most likely going to have a relatively easier labour. Such a labour leaves the mother happy, cheerful and relaxed.
She, in turn, transmits her feelings to her baby, making him relaxed and contended and easy to establish a happy feeding schedule.
A quick tip – Listen to your favourite music as often as possible.
Physical health is an integral part of pregnancy care
Well-nourished mothers who are also free from diseases are known to bear strains of pregnancy better.
They give birth to newborns with greater birthweight and higher vitality for growth and development.
A pregnant woman should take precaution not to contract German measles (rubella) during early months of pregnancy. Else, the baby may be born with variable physical defects.
Certain medicines may have adverse effects on the foetus. You should, therefore, avoid taking any drug – yes, this includes even the indigenous herbal medicines – without doctor’s advice, especially in the early half of pregnancy.
Your doctor may, however, prescribe for your iron, calcium or vitamin pills in case you are anaemic and/or nutritionally lacking in vitamins and calcium.
What is important is that you should leave medication to him, even for such commonly used ones as tranquillisers, paracetamol or aspirin.
Avoid smoking and drinking like the plague.
During the first two trimesters, sexual intercourse is very much permitted, provided that there is no history of past abortion or vaginal bleeding.
In the latter situation, it is advisable to go by the advice of your obstetrician.
Preparing for breastfeeding
Every pregnant mother must appreciate that the ideal and the most natural method of feeding the baby, at least during the first few months, is breastfeeding.
It protects the baby from quite a few infections and diseases and assists in establishing a healthy mother-child relationship.
The figure-conscious woman would find an additional gain from breastfeeding. It helps her to shed the fat collected during pregnancy and contributes a great deal towards her attempt to slim down.
Proper care of breasts, in preparation for feeding the baby should begin during pregnancy per se.
A well-fitting brassiere and a protective pad are helpful. It should also be seen that the nipples are kept clean and made softer and longer by massage, etc.
Shopping for the baby
Now that the baby is expected in another month or so, the mother should get ready with his material requirements.
A baby cot :The cot should be preferably with sides, to protect the baby from rolling over. No pillow is needed but a foam rubber mattress will be ideal.
Sheets for mattresses as also plastic or rubber sheets to protect mattresses from soiling are needed.
Baby bathtub (Plastic): Nappies or diapers made of gauze or cotton towel material together with a pad of cotton for wiping the soiled buttocks of the baby, some safety pins and nappy bucket.
Clothes : napkins, vests, shirts without buttons or zips, caps, sweaters, socks, blankets, etc.
Feeding equipment: What is strongly and without reservations recommended is that the mother must breastfeed the infant unless there is a solid case of giving artificial feeding.
In the latter case, there should properly-designed feeding bottles and nipples, brushes to clean them, milk powder and a container if cow’s milk is not regularly available and a kettle for sterilizing the bottles.
A Pram will prove handy for carrying the baby once he is more than three to four months of age.
Besides, other materials like Baby soap, powder, cream and oil are also necessary.