DO’S AND DON’TS, MYTHS AND WARN­ING SIGNS

In this preg­nancy class, Son­ali Shivlani will help clear all those nig­gling doubts that you may have re­lated to your preg­nancy, bust some com­mon myths and dis­cuss warn­ing signs which you must re­port to your doc­tor

Mother & Baby - - CONTENTS - M&B’s pan­el­list Son­ali Shivlani is an In­ter­na­tion­ally Cer­ti­fied Preg­nancy Con­sul­tant and a child nu­tri­tion coun­sel­lor. She is the ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of CAPPA In­dia, and also trains as­pir­ing birth pro­fes­sion­als to achieve cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in preg­nancy, birth

Son­ali Shivlani busts those old wives’ tales

THERE is never a dull mo­ment in a pre­na­tal class be­cause ex­pec­tant mums have so many ques­tions to ask, so many doubts and so many myths to clear. From sleep­ing po­si­tions to travel, from count­ing fe­tal kicks to breast changes, from in­ter­course to mood swings, the ques­tions are end­less.

I’d like to be­gin to­day’s les­son with one piece of ad­vice I re­ceived when I was first ex­pect­ing: “You are not sick, you are preg­nant. Preg­nancy is nor­mal so just be­have nor­mal.” It’s like this—imag­ine you’re hold­ing your day-old baby in your arms. What would you be able to do while you held her, is ex­actly what you can do dur­ing your preg­nancy. Ap­ply this ad­vice to your preg­nancy, and you’ll find that more than half your ques­tions have been an­swered. Nev­er­the­less, it’s al­ways im­por­tant to have things in black and white, so let’s talk about some do’s and don’ts that are im­por­tant dur­ing preg­nancy:

DO EAT HEALTHY: You have to re­mem­ber that what you eat goes to your baby. A healthy diet en­sures your baby grows strong, as well as helps to en­sure you’re in the pink of health dur­ing your preg­nancy. DO EX­ER­CISE: Be­ing fit is ex­tremely

im­por­tant as it will re­duce preg­nancy dis­com­forts, pre­pare your body for labour and also en­sure a quicker post­par­tum re­cov­ery. How­ever, do con­sult your doc­tor be­fore start­ing an ex­er­cise pro­gramme. DO YOUR PRE­NA­TAL CHECK-UPS: These are your reg­u­lar doc­tor vis­its along with all your tests and scans. Make sure you don’t miss any of these as reg­u­lar check-ups and tests can catch any de­vel­op­men­tal con­cerns or healthre­lated con­cerns. DO RE­LAX: Stress af­fects not only you, but your baby as well. Stress hor­mones in the mother’s blood­stream flow di­rectly to the baby and re­search has shown that this can cause a rise in the stress hor­mones in the baby as well. DON’T EAT SOFT CHEESES: Brie, Camem­bert, Feta, Goat cheese etc. con­tain Lis­te­ria, a strain of bac­te­ria that can lead to fever, mus­cle aches, and some­times gas­troin­testi­nal symp­toms such as nau­sea or di­ar­rhoea. Cheeses like ched­dar, moz­zarella and cot­tage cheese are just fine. DON’T DRINK AER­ATED DRINKS: Diet so­das, co­las and other fizzy drinks con­tain ar­ti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers like as­par­tame that are harm­ful to your baby. DON’T CON­SUME EX­CES­SIVE CAF­FEINE: Limit your­self to just one cup per day and switch to de­caf if pos­si­ble. DON’T DRINK HERBAL TEAS: Teas like pep­per­mint and red rasp­berry leaf are known to cause preterm con­trac­tions, so it’s best avoided when you’re ex­pect­ing. DON’T EAT TOO MUCH SEA FOOD: Fish is def­i­nitely a great way to eat healthy, pro­vided you mon­i­tor your in­take. Just two to three serv­ings per week will en­sure that your level of mer­cury in­take is min­i­mal. DON’T SMOKE OR DRINK AL­CO­HOL: Smok­ing and drink­ing can cause preterm labour and low birth weight as well as birth de­fects in your un­born child. DON’T OVER­HEAT: While it’s im­por­tant to re­lax, try to avoid a sauna or hot tub as the heat can lead to de­hy­dra­tion, dizzi­ness, and low blood pres­sure. DON’T CLEAN UP LIT­TER: While it’s per­fectly safe to in­ter­act with your fam­ily pet, when it comes to clean­ing up af­ter them, let some­one else take care of that lit­tle chore dur­ing your preg­nancy.

BUST­ING THOSE MYTHS

Al­ways a favourite among the ex­pec­tant mums that come to me old wives’ tales and myths that are ram­pant around preg­nancy are al­ways fun to tackle. Let’s take the ques­tion of the baby’s sex. Al­most ev­ery­one can pre­dict the baby’s sex while look­ing at your belly. If it’s pro­trud­ing, you’re hav­ing a boy. If it’s rounder and wider, it’s a sign you’re hav­ing a girl. The fact re­mains, the way you’re car­ry­ing has noth­ing to do with the sex. It’s re­ally the way the baby is lay­ing in the ab­domen. More­over, all preg­nant women will ex­pe­ri­ence a widen­ing of the pelvis to ac­com­mo­date the grow­ing baby. The dark line run­ning down your belly called the Linea

The foods you con­sume will not in­flu­ence the colour your baby’s skin will be. Eat­ing foods like dates and brin­jal is not go­ing to make your baby dark skinned. Nei­ther will drink­ing plenty of milk or eat­ing ras­gul­las make your baby fair

Ni­a­gra is ac­tu­ally hor­monal and not a gen­der pre­dic­tor.

Now, we’ll dis­cuss myths about your diet and how they af­fect your baby. Take for ex­am­ple the fact that people say drink­ing co­conut water will make your baby’s head large like a co­conut. That’s most cer­tainly hog­wash! An­other silly cus­tom is avoid­ing dark-coloured foods. The foods you con­sume will not in­flu­ence the colour your baby’s skin will be. Eat­ing foods like dates and brin­jal is not go­ing to make your baby dark skinned. Nei­ther will drink­ing plenty of milk or eat­ing ras­gul­las make your baby fair. Fi­nally, the most pop­u­lar one is the ‘Eat­ing for Two’ phe­nom­e­non. Ev­ery­one feels that preg­nancy gives you the li­cense to eat dou­ble of ev­ery­thing. You do need to keep in mind that the foe­tus is re­ally tiny and you don’t need to eat ev­ery­thing that is put in front of you.

The forces of na­ture do not in­flu­ence your preg­nancy in any way. An eclipse is not re­ally go­ing to have any ef­fect on your preg­nancy. It’s just a nat­u­ral phe­nom­e­non and hap­pens all over the world. More­over, the sim­ple act of rais­ing your arms above your head will not en­tan­gle the um­bil­i­cal cord. These are just be­liefs that be­long in the past.

How­ever, one must al­ways be cau­tious, and if you’re ex­pe­ri­enc­ing any of these symp­toms, treat them as a warn­ing sign and no­tify doc­tor im­me­di­ately: Bleed­ing or leak­ing fluid from the vagina. Ab­dom­i­nal cramps which come and go at reg­u­lar intervals. Headaches or dizzy spells. Fever over 100°F. Ex­ces­sive vom­it­ing. De­crease in the baby’s move­ments. Swelling of the face, fin­gers and feet.

Some point­ers for a healthy and happy preg­nancy: SWEET SLEEP: The only po­si­tion which is com­pletely con­traindi­cated dur­ing preg­nancy, once you en­ter the sec­ond trimester is sleep­ing on your ab­domen. How­ever, sleep­ing on the left side af­ter the fourth month re­duces the pres­sure on the uterus and the in­testines, speed­ing up the nu­tri­ents and oxy­gen flow to the baby. Sleep­ing on your back can put pres­sure on the vena cava or the vein that sup­plies blood to the uterus. This re­sults in re­stricted oxy­gen flow to the baby. How­ever, if you do find your­self on your back or on the right side, don’t panic. Your baby can eas­ily adapt and if the baby is un­com­fort­able, he will kick around and wake you up, au­to­mat­i­cally mak­ing you switch sleep­ing po­si­tions.

JUST FOR KICKS: Your baby’s move­ments can be felt any­time be­tween week 18 to week 24 for a first time mom. These early move­ments feel like flut­ters or gas bub­bles. As the preg­nancy pro­gresses, the move­ments be­come stronger and more no­tice­able. But you have to re­mem­ber not to com­pare your baby’s move­ments to an­other baby’s be­cause ev­ery baby is dif­fer­ent. Keep a lit­tle diary and track your baby’s move­ments. In a pe­riod of ac­tiv­ity, you should be able to count ten kicks within an hour. If there is a change in the pat­tern of move­ments, you must re­port it to the doc­tor, and head for a quick check-up, just to be safe.

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