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What You Need To Know When You're Expecting - The Complete Pregnancy Guide For M

*What You Need To Know When You’re Expecting *

The Complete Pregnancy Guide For Moms and Dads

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Dr. Jyothi Shenoy and Priscilla Gavinson

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

 

Introduction      

Chapter 1: The most recent developments in obstetrics      

Chapter 2: What you should know about pregnancy      

Chapter 3: Top 10 pregnancy myths busted      

Chapter 4: What to expect: Physical Symptoms and Solutions      

Chapter 5: Dangerous pregnancy symptoms that should not be ignored      

Chapter 6: Eating for Two: Diet and Nutrition Tips for a Pregnant Woman      

Chapter 7: Guidelines for safe exercises during pregnancy      

Chapter 8: Emotional advice on riding the mood roller coaster      

Chapter 9: The most current lifestyle trends and their impact on your pregnancy      

Chapter 10: What’s hot and what’s not in pregnancy lovemaking      

Chapter 11: How to juggle a busy career with your pregnancy      

Chapter 12: Travel tips for pregnant women      

Chapter 13: What a man should know about pregnancy      

Chapter 14: Safe skin products during pregnancy      

Chapter 15: What clothes are suitable to wear during pregnancy      

Chapter 16: Packing list for the hospital or birth center      

Conclusion            

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Introduction

 

Do you know that the difference between a single vertical line and 2 vertical lines can be extremely huge? Ask any to-be-mom who has just tested her pregnancy with a home-kit. The simple urine pregnancy test confirms that you are pregnant when it shows 2 vertical lines after putting a drop of urine. The first vertical line is just meant to confirm that the kit is working fine. The fraction of second it takes for that second conclusive line to appear after the first one seems like years for a woman who is waiting with bated breath for the result to come positive. And once it does, it’s time for celebrations!!! The joy of the couple knows no bounds. They are going to enter a new role of father-mother soon!

 

The nine months of pregnancy are a learning phase for a mom-to-be. May be it’s the nature’s way of giving time to the mother to allow her to learn all about pregnancy, baby care and parenting to prepare her for a life with a baby. This is the time you will find them reading books, scouring the net and quizzing their mommy friends about tips on having a smooth pregnancy. But do their impressions of pregnancy and the newborns match the reality?

 

It has been found that most pregnant women are still in for a few shocking surprises during their pregnancy. It usually happens not because there is any lack of information; but the reason is exactly opposite, there is just too much of information out there. And what do you expect an expecting mom to do? Sore her finger clicking on every link that tells about pregnancy? Of course not. So, to make it all simpler, I have made available, at one single click, all the information the moms-to-be need to know.

 

 

 

[[+Chapter 1: The most recent developments in obstetrics +
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After your husband, your mom has to be the first one with whom you would like to share the great news of your pregnancy. Of course; she is going to be extremely thrilled. She may also secretly wish, “Now she will realize what I had to go through when she was small”. The moment you flash the breaking news to her, she is bound to bombard you with dos and don’ts during pregnancy. Listen to all that she says, because she really cares for you and your baby. But, you must know how much of that you actually have to follow.

 

The obstetric branch of medicine has undergone a sea of change since the days your mother was pregnant. There is a lot of change in what obstetricians advise pregnant women to do for taking care of themselves and their baby. The perceptions about a woman have also changed. Today, she is a ‘superwoman’ handling both her career and family with ease. And so have changed the dos and don’ts of a pregnancy. So, let us first learn about what the today’s obstetric has to say about pregnancy and a pregnant woman.

 

Pregnancy test pinpoints conception

 

Nowadays, the conception stories have started losing the touch of mystery (Was it on your birthday or it was that night after “Breaking Bad”?). The new home pregnancy tests can give estimate of when exactly you got knocked up. You get to know whether you’re pregnant and also for how long you’ve been that way! This helps the doctor to predict your due date more precisely much before an ultrasound test.

 

Methods of Birth

 

The age old practice of vaginal birth is still the most common and most preferred method of childbirth. Women, who deliver this way, do not have to stay in the hospital for long, can breastfeed more easily and can avoid the risks involved in major surgeries like a C-section. However, today you have the option of giving birth vaginally without having to bear the excruciating pain. If you do choose to take pain killers, like an epidural, it will help you deal with the pain while being alert enough to actively participate in the birthing process.

 

Some other advancements in obstetrics in terms of delivery are water birth and Hypno Birth. More and more mothers are opting for the unconventional water birth method because of the comfort it provides. The baby feels right at home in the water tub as she has been floating in the amniotic sac for the past nine months. As soon as the baby comes out, she is removed from the water and begins breathing. Water birth is a gentle experience for the mother. It has been found to be good for relaxing the muscles. It reduces anxiety and allows more freedom of movement to the mother.

 

Hypno Birth, as the name suggests, uses hypnosis to help the mother deal with pain. To make the process easier, the women are taught the methods of controlled breathing and self-hypnosis. The process helps control your thoughts and creates a more pleasant birthing experience.

 

The option for C-Section is reserved for women who are having multiple babies, are at risk of complications or suffer from certain health conditions that may pose problems during a vaginal birth. It is a surgical method of delivery in which an incision is made in the abdomen to remove the baby.

 

Fertility treatments offer better odds

 

If you have conceived after undergoing fertility treatments like IUI or IVF, there’s good news for you. Though the process was possibly a frustrating and exhausting one; your chances of a successful full term delivery are much higher than those of women who got pregnant with similar procedures earlier. Plus, today we also have an option of egg freezing to preserve our fertility for a later age so that we can concentrate on other strategically important issues in our present life like career.

 

*Less risk involved in prenatal tests *

 

Choosing to skip or have an invasive test like amniocentesis during pregnancy is no longer a difficult decision. These tests can give you accurate information about whether the fetus has any genetically linked abnormality like Down syndrome. Previously, these tests involved a small risk of miscarriage. Which is why; the today’s medical community is excited at having a new, non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) for detecting common chromosomal abnormalities. These screening tests do not pose much risk to the woman and the baby’s health.

 

Babies are getting more time in the womb

 

Pregnancy seems like a very, very long time. And not so long ago, obstetricians were willing to trim it a bit by scheduling a C-section or an induction at around 37th week. The baby was considered full term and ready for the world at that point. And hence, even a non-medical reason was a valid ground for early delivery. But not anymore. The latest research has proved that every additional week of a fetus in the womb leads to a healthier baby. So, letting the labor begin on its own is considered the best course of action.

 

Once upon a time, pregnant women used to hide their bellies under tent-like pastel frocks that had over-sized bows! Thankfully, pregnancy trends have come a long way. You would have never thought something as fundamental as making a baby to change much. But doctors, scientists and caregivers are working constantly to hone and refine this ancient process so that bringing new life into this world becomes easier, safer and more enjoyable.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2: What you should know about pregnancy

 

You’re obviously blissful about your big baby news — but a little confused also thinking what might go down when you are sharing your body with your baby! And if this is your first time as a mom-to-be, then you must be extremely curious to know what’s in store for you. To your rescue: here is a quick list of exactly what you should know about your pregnancy.

 

Some of them might surprise you …

 

  1. The infamous nausea

 

You may feel incredibly nauseated in the first and last 3 months of pregnancy. You may even think it’s going to last forever. But, it won’t. The morning sickness – oh well, let’s give it a more appropriate name: the all-day sickness may hit you hard in the initial days. But, it will simply go away once you enter the second trimester. You will wake up one fine morning into your second trimester and viola! It’s gone.

 

  1. Don’t expect too much weight gain

 

As soon as you realized you were pregnant, you must have envisioned yourself with a pleasant, round bump. However, it’s going to take a while for that to appear. The chances are you’ll gain only a few pounds during the first 3 months – blame it on the morning sickness. It will be difficult for you to up your calorie intake when your stomach is having trouble keeping the food down. So, don’t get too worried if your weighing scale doesn’t show a higher number.

 

  1. More frequent urination

 

You may actually wake up 3-5 times in one night to pass urine. This is going to be harder in the third trimester when the baby has grown up so much that it keeps pressing on your bladder. As a result, you keep getting up, possibly every single hour, to pass very little amount of urine each time.

 

  1. *The inevitable stretch marks *

 

You can buy the most expensive creams, potions or lotions; the stretch marks are sometimes inevitable. No pricey cream, fancy oil or even drizzled olive oil is going to help prevent the dreaded stretch marks. Somewhere at the end of the second trimester, the belly is bound to erupt with them. Your once supple and smooth skin may start looking like a tiger that has scratched its claws down to the stomach. These stretch marks can only be made less visible; but you can not do away with them completely – at least not during your pregnancy. If you want to get rid of them, you may try other options post your delivery. As of now, you can try cocoa butter to keep them in limit! Do not think much about them at present. Fortunately for you, the stretch marks do fade over time.

 

  1. Prepare yourself for pregnancy rash

 

The skin of some women breaks out in a full-body rash during pregnancy. It usually happens in the 8th and 9th month. You may just wake up one morning with a few hive-like bumps on your arms and legs. And Uh-oh, they might itch a lot. You may be prompted to think you have developed an allergic reaction to something. One or two days later, the hives will start popping up on your belly and the next thing you will see is the eruptions coming up everywhere - on your face, scalp and even in the creases of your eyelids! This peculiar rash is called PUPPP -Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy. The cause of it is not known. The rash can get incredibly itchy and uncomfortable. But you will be relieved to know that all these eruptions will disappear as miraculously as they appeared once you give birth to your baby.

 

  1. An amazing ease with the doctor

 

The most surprising change you will find in yourself during pregnancy is you will suddenly become weirdly OK with the healthcare workers poking things into your private places. A pregnant woman has to visit a doctor quite frequently – once a month during the first trimester and possibly once a week towards the end. And you may have to undergo two, three or sometimes more number of vaginal or abdominal ultrasounds throughout the pregnancy. You may feel nervous and hesitant before the first check up by your obstetrician. But by the time you are nine months pregnant, all the poking and prodding in private places will cease to feel odd.

 

  1. *Your simple headache medicine could double your risk of miscarriage *

 

Now that you are pregnant; it’s time to take stock of what’s in your medicine cabinet. You must know there’s a big difference between acetaminophen and ibuprofen – especially when you’re expecting. The risk of miscarriage is much higher when you are taking the non-aspirin pain killers like Ibuprofen or Naproxen during pregnancy. Taking some of the painkillers more frequently during your pregnancy can also lead to a risk of congenital defects. Relax, though: you can trust Acetaminophen for relieving headaches during pregnancy. It is a much safer pain-relief option.

 

  1. The time spent on your job may harm your baby

 

If you are a workaholic and are thinking of replying to all of your work emails until your contractions begin; then there is an alarming piece of information for you. According to a research, pregnant women who clocked in till the ninth month had a higher risk of delivering low birth weight babies than those who stopped working earlier. Pregnancy can cause a huge physical stress on the body. Working hard for long hours can increase this stress resulting in a higher risk of complications like preterm labor and stillbirth. Experts advise reducing your workload upon entering the 8th month and taking frequent breaks during the day while at work.

 

  1. Keeping up your exercise routine is a must even during pregnancy

 

Your bump is not a valid excuse to let your workout routine slip. There is evidence to prove that pregnant women who included aerobic exercises into their routines had babies with lower heart rates, which is a sign of a healthy heart. Recently, it has been found that the babies of mothers who exercised regularly enjoyed better health after birth. So, its time to say hello to your yoga pants! But, do remember not to go overboard with the exercises.

 

  1. Fearing labor pains could lead to a longer labor

 

The duration of labor in women who are scared of the pain while giving birth tends to be about an hour and a half longer than that of other women. Your fear may cause the contractions of the uterus to be futile resulting in a quicker muscle fatigue. As a result, the contractions get even less effective. So, experts recommend pregnant women to attend prenatal breathing classes to help them feel at ease during labor.

 

  1. C-Section births are not smooth sailing in all cases

 

Scheduled childbirths via C-section can be tempting for women who like to plan everything. However, the risk of post-surgical infection, long term back pain and some other complications are higher in women who have had a C-section. Hence, it is advisable to opt for C-section purely for medical reasons. It is best to leave the decision to the doctor.

After your pregnancy test came positive, you may have felt as if you are stepping into an uncharted territory. Hopefully, after reading this article, you have found answers to your queries and have got a better understanding of what’s going on now and what’s going to happen during the months that lie ahead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 3: Top 10 pregnancy myths busted

 

I just happened to ask my obstetrician friend about his worst experience as a doctor treating pregnant women and he told me an incidence that I found funny; but he was fuming at it. He told that one night, he received a frantic call at 3 a.m. from a pregnant woman asking him what to do as she had woken up to find herself sleeping on her back!!! It seems someone had told her never to sleep on the back during pregnancy because it can harm the baby. The doctor had a hard time pacifying the woman that nothing would happen to the baby if she slept on her back. This is just one incidence. Obstetricians usually have a tough time clearing the myths and misconception women have about pregnancy.

 

Pregnancy is understandably a very special time in a woman’s life. She gets special attention from everyone. Sometimes, even strangers come up to her and enquire, “Which month?” To add to that, most elderly women tend to have a special penchant for superstition and speculation. “Your face is glowing so much, you will definitely have a…”, …., “Your tummy has not gotten that large, so…”….the list of myths is endless. With an overload of misinformation out there about pregnancy, it’s very important for the expecting women to be careful about which advice they should heed. So, here we will deconstruct the 10 most common myths about pregnancy.

 

Myth no 1: Baby’s gender: the guessing game

 

Most people actually believe that if a pregnant woman has a low belly; she is carrying a baby boy and if she has a high belly, she is carrying a baby girl!!! You will also have people telling you that if you have a small, round belly; you are carrying a boy and if your belly is large, then you are carrying a girl. Uhhh!!! Do you think there is any truth in this? Gynecologists say that the shape of your belly is determined by the strength of the abdominal muscles, the original shape of your tummy, the distribution of fats, the number of babies you have conceived and the position of the baby. So, here’s the first most common myth busted!

 

Myth no 2: You have to double your food intake when you’re pregnant, because you’re eating for two

 

The “eating for two” myth has been stuck around for so long that people have started believing it. During pregnancy, the nutritional demands of the body definitely increase. Hence, a pregnant woman should maintain a nutritious, well-balanced diet throughout her pregnancy. She should eat smaller meals at frequent intervals. But, just because the baby is dependent on the mother for its supply of vitamins, minerals and proteins; it does not mean she has to eat for two. Eating in excess can only lead to unnecessary fat deposits.

 

Myth no 3: Pregnant women should sleep on her left

 

I really don’t know from where and how this myth originated. It has no base, no logic, no nothing. You should sleep in whatever position you feel comfortable in; just keep the weight off from your tummy.

 

Myth no 4: Having sex during pregnancy induces miscarriage

 

You will find many women who will swear by this theory. However, this myth is nothing but a “myth”. As long as you are physically fit and your pregnancy is running smoothly, there is no reason why you should not have sex. It’s perfectly fine to enjoy an active love life right until your baby arrives. Doctors merely ask couples to adopt the position that doesn’t cause any discomfort to the mother.

 

Myth no 5: Using a computer during pregnancy can affect your baby’s development

 

There is no evidence to prove that working on a computer can harm the growth and development of a baby. It may cause backache if you are working on a computer for 8 to 10 hours a day. Experts advise women to avoid keeping a laptop directly on the lap. Keep it on the desk or keep a pillow below it if you are keeping it on your lap.

 

Myth no 6: The method of delivery is hereditary

 

There will be people who will tell you that if your mother had a C-section, then you are likely to deliver your baby the same way. But, the fact is your mode of delivery has nothing to do with your genes. It depends on the number of babies you have delivered, the presentation of the baby and the structure of your pelvic bone.

 

Myth no 7: You can’t fly

 

Many women think that it’s not safe to fly during pregnancy. Well, there’s not much truth to this. It’s safe to fly during the first and second trimesters and even in your third, although your airline may request a doctor’s note. And for practical reasons, you obviously would not want to stray too far away from your home close to your due date – so it would anyways be the time to stop jet-setting by then!

 

Myth no 8: You can’t exercise!!!

 

Exercise is, in fact, one of the most beneficial things you can do for your and your baby’s health. Exercising and keeping fit will help you to cope with the pregnancy aches and pains and prepare your body for the stresses of labor. Women, who keep active during pregnancy, also have their weight drop off quicker after they’ve given birth. So, pregnancy is the time to get moving!

Myth no 9: You can’t dye your hair

 

You can carry on looking and feeling gorgeous when you’re expecting. If you have been dying your hair with one particular brand of hair color, you can continue using the same even after you get pregnant. You may feel safer using an ammonia-free dye; not because you are pregnant, but because they are generally safer than the dyes containing ammonia.

 

Myth no 10: If you don’t satisfy an expectant mom’s craving, you will get a dark mark on your nose

 

I am sure this one was spread by a mom-to-be who took to the opportunity to get her cravings satisfied. Although all the expecting mothers may wish they had this power, the fact is that there is no link between your cravings going unsatisfied and getting a blotch on the nose. But of course; if you want, we will keep this a secret!

 

When you’re pregnant, everyone would be ready to give you loads of advice – some of which may be based on the facts; but most of them could be just myths. Hopefully, by now, you have a clear idea about how much of that advice is worth listening to and how much of it is just made up of old wives’ tales passed down through the generations.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 4: What to expect: Physical Symptoms and Solutions

 

If you’ve never been through it before, it will be very hard for you to imagine what it feels like to be pregnant. But the urge to know is definitely strong. The bodily changes, the physical symptoms and the psychological development – a lot happens in a woman’s life when she is pregnant. Let us first concentrate on the bodily changes and physical symptoms a woman has to endure during pregnancy and the simple ways to tackle them.

 

*Morning sickness *

 

This is the symptom that usually makes the heroines in movies and daily soaps to realize they are pregnant. An unexplained bout of vomiting is a classic symptom of pregnancy. It actually starts around the sixth week of pregnancy by which time most women have missed their menstrual period and got a hint that something might be going on.

 

Morning sickness occurs due to the rapidly changing levels of a hormone called HCG or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. The levels of HCG start increasing during early pregnancy resulting in a chain of reactions that result in nausea and vomiting that we call the morning sickness. However, don’t get fooled by the name. It doesn’t occur only in the morning. It can occur at any time during the day. The best way to ease this unpleasant symptom is to eat dry food items like toast or biscuits each time you start getting the feeling. Keep a pack of biscuits with you all the time so that you can munch on them when you feel nauseated. Avoid fried and spicy foods as these can upset your stomach and trigger nausea.

 

[*The first-trimester fatigue *]

 

Women tend to get ungodly tired during first trimester. This can be tough for the partner to understand because the woman doesn’t look much pregnant yet. You may feel completely worn-down as if you haven’t slept well since many days. Simple chores like going to a nearby grocery store and cooking dinner feel like running a marathon.

 

Fatigue in early pregnancy is caused due to the extra work your body is putting into the pregnancy. It is this phase during which the body is gearing up for the metabolic and physical changes that are to occur in the next few months. Counter this by drinking lots of fluids. Drink fresh fruit juices or eat fruits that have high water content like melons. Fortunately, the fatigue usually lifts by the 12th or 13th week of pregnancy.

 

Breast enlargement

 

Blossoming breasts is another common symptom of pregnancy. The growth may be caused due to the excess fats deposited by the body in anticipation of nursing. The hormonally driven growth of the breast tissue is meant to produce milk for the baby. The breast enlargement usually starts long before the baby bump makes its appearance. Unfortunately, the bigger breasts tend to ache and cause a lot of discomfort in some women. Though you can not and should not try anything to stop this enlargement, you can reduce the discomfort by wearing appropriate inner wear.

 

*Baby kicking *

 

Unlike the daily nausea and aching breasts, the kicking and turning of your baby in your tummy is one symptom that most women welcome with a teary eyed smile. It kind of shows you that everything else you’re going through is worth it. At first, the baby’s kicks might be confused with gas bubbles; but as they grow in strength, you will be able to make out the real baby kicks from the gas bubbles. Each time your baby kicks, caress your tummy gently. Your baby can actually know the touch of a mother and feel assured that someone is there taking care of her. Make sure your baby is kicking at regular intervals. If you haven’t felt your baby kicking since more than a day, you should rush to a doctor at the earliest.

 

*Relaxing joints *

 

The term “relaxing joints” may seem like a nice soothing feeling. But, it’s not. It can cause aches in your joints. It is a very odd sensation that very few pregnant women suffer from. The process of giving birth involves passing of the large head of the baby through the comparatively narrower pelvic opening. To allow this to happen, the body produces a hormone called relaxin that softens the cartilage at the pubic bone. Now, relaxin doesn’t target this cartilage in particular and makes the rest of the joints loose and unstable. Due to this; the woman feels aching sensations in the loosening joints. You can get rid of this weird sensation by doing strengthening exercises that improve the tone of your muscles. The exercises will firm up your joints and make you feel more stable.

 

*Weight gain *

 

Weight gain is a normal symptom of pregnancy as long as at least 30% of the gained weight belongs to the baby. A woman will generally gain 24 to 35 pounds during pregnancy and about 7.5 to 8 pounds of that is the fetus itself. About 1.5 pounds belong to the placenta and the breasts gain about one pound. About 7.5 pounds of weight gain is due to the maternal energy stores in the form of fats. The rest 7.5 pounds are due to the water retention and the extra blood circulating in the body during pregnancy. This weight gain can be frustrating at first. You may feel bloated and find that your clothes don't fit your body. But you must understand that this weight gain is the most integral part of your pregnancy. The all you need to do is make sure you eat a balanced diet and cut out on junk foods so that the weight you have gained is healthy. Refrain from wearing clothes that don’t fit well as it will only make you and your baby feel uncomfortable. Make the most of it by shopping for bigger sized clothes.

 

And while you are out shopping, buy yourself a pair of flat footwear also. Your bulging tummy can cause the body’s center of gravity to shift. So, wearing high heels may lead to imbalance while walking making you fall.

 

These physical symptoms can occur at different times during your pregnancy. Follow the simple tips given here to ease the symptoms so that you can enjoy a smooth and healthy pregnancy.

 

 

 

Chapter 5: Dangerous pregnancy symptoms that should not be ignored

 

Though most women have normal pregnancies with no complication whatsoever, some may develop a few signs and symptoms that could lead to dangerous consequences. It is important to be aware of the signs that mean something could be wrong. You may wonder which symptoms require immediate medical attention and which symptoms can wait till the next scheduled visit. Here are the signs that should set off an alarm bell and prompt you for a swift action.

 

Bleeding

 

Bleeding can mean different things throughout the pregnancy. If the bleeding is heavy and accompanied by dizziness or severe abdominal cramps, it could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg implants at a place other than the uterus. This condition can be life-threatening.

 

Heavy bleeding with cramping pain in the first or early second trimester can also be a sign of miscarriage. When the same set of symptoms occurs in the third trimester, it could mean placental abruption that occurs when the placenta is separated from the uterine lining.

 

[*Significant decline in the baby’s activity level *]

 

How can you know whether your previously active baby is now having less energy? There are some ways to determine if the decline in the baby’s activity is normal or due to a problem. One way to know this is drink something cold or eat something and then lie on your side. If this gets the baby moving, it could be normal.

 

Another way to determine this is to count the kicks. Though there is no optimal number of movements a baby should have in the womb; you should be able to establish a baseline and develop a subjective perception of whether your baby is moving more or less. If you have doubts, call your doctor as soon as possible. He will be able to determine if the baby is moving and growing appropriately by using the monitoring equipments.

 

Contractions in the early third trimester

 

Contractions are the sign of labor. But it’s common for the first-time moms to get confused between true labor and false labor. False labor contractions, also called Braxton-Hicks contractions, are non-rhythmic, unpredictable and do not increase in intensity. They tend to subside in an hour or two. On the contrary, the contractions of true labor occur about 10 minutes apart or less and gradually increase in intensity.

 

If you’re in the third trimester and think that you’re having contractions, contact your doctor right away. If it’s too early for the baby to be born, the doctor would be able to stop the labor by giving appropriate treatment.

 

Pain in the middle of your tummy

 

Most moms-to-be ignore this symptoms thinking it’s due to indigestion or acidity. This may be true in some cases. However, if the pain is severe, sharp and occurs without nausea or vomiting; it could indicate preeclampsia, a serious condition characterized by high blood pressure and damage to vital organs like the kidneys. Some other symptoms you may have due to preeclampsia are persistent headache, abdominal pain, visual disturbances and swelling.

 

Your water breaks

 

If you feel a sudden flood of water rushing down your legs, it could mean your amniotic sac is broken unless it is the urine leakage caused due to the pressure of your enlarged uterus on the bladder. If the flow is gushing and the quantity is more, the chances are that the fluid is from the amniotic sac. If you are not sure whether it is a true rupture of the membrane or just urine, go to the bathroom and empty your bladder. If the fluid continues, then you have broken your water. You must rush to the nearest healthcare center immediately.

 

Your hands and feet are swollen

 

Edema (puffiness) of your face, eyes and the hands is common in late pregnancy. However, if the swelling comes on suddenly and is severe, you may be having high blood pressure. The risk of hypertension and related complications like preeclampsia and eclampsia are higher in women who are obese, had similar problem in their previous pregnancy or are having a family history of the same. Women may also develop persistent headache and vision disturbances due to hypertension. Though your doctor will record your blood pressure at every prenatal check up, do contact him between the scheduled visits if you develop such symptoms suddenly.

 

I itch all over

 

Itching all over the body, particularly at night, is a sign of obstetric cholestasis or OC. OC is a condition that affects the liver resulting in jaundice, dark urine, pale stools and extreme weakness. The itching caused by OC usually centres on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. If you develop such symptoms, bring it to the notice of your doctor so that he can treat it before it flares up and causes complications.

 

I fell and hit my belly

 

Falls and blows are not always dangerous. The baby is well cushioned in your uterus by the amniotic fluid. If you fall down or get hit on the belly, call your doctor and explain what happened. In rare cases, complications may happen. If you start getting severe pain in the abdomen and notice leaking fluid or any bleeding, go to the nearest accident and emergency department immediately.

 

 

These general warning signs apply to all pregnant women, even those having no apparent risk. You just need to be aware of them and keep a watch. In case you develop any of these, contact your doctor at the earliest so that appropriate treatment can be given to avert any serious eventualities.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 6: Eating for Two: Diet and Nutrition Tips for a Pregnant Woman

 

Pregnancy is often a wake up call for women to fine-tune their diet. Almost all pregnant women need to make drastic changes in their diet to get more of proteins and certain nutrients like folic acid and iron. If your diet is poor, making the transition to eating balanced meals is the best thing you can do for your baby. And even if you are already eating well, you may have to make a few subtle changes in your diet to make it pro-pregnancy.

 

Eat a wholesome diet

 

Good nutrition is very important for your baby to grow and develop. Ideally, a woman should consume about 300 more calories per day than she did before the pregnancy.

Though nausea and vomiting can make this difficult during the first few months of pregnancy, try to compensate by taking prenatal vitamins. Here are some dietary recommendations to help keep you and your baby healthy.

 

[*● *]Eat a variety of foods to include all the nutrients you need. The recommended daily servings include about 6 servings of grains or bread, 2-4 servings of fruits, 4 servings of dairy products, about 4 servings of vegetables and 3 servings of protein sources like meat, fish, poultry, eggs or nuts. Use sweets and fats sparingly.

 

[*● *]Choose high-fiber foods such as whole-grain breads, pasta, cereals and rice to ease digestion and prevent constipation.

 

[*● *]Eat iron-rich foods like lean meats, beans, spinach and breakfast cereals each day to fulfill your daily iron requirement.

 

[*● *]Ensure proper development of your baby’s brain and nervous system by eating foods rich in iodine like cheese, yogurt, baked potatoes, cooked navy beans and seafood like cod and shrimp.

 

[*● *]Pregnant women need approximately 70 mg of vitamin C per day. Make sure your body gets enough vitamin C by eating oranges, grapefruits, honeydew, strawberries, papaya, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green peppers and mustard greens.

 

[*● *]You can get your daily dose of folic acid by eating dark green leafy vegetables and legumes like black beans, lima beans and chickpeas. This is necessary to prevent the neural tube defects in the fetus such as spina bifida.

 

[*● *]The best sources of vitamin A for the growth and development of your baby are carrots, pumpkins, spinach, sweet potatoes, winter squash, beet greens, turnip greens, apricots and cantaloupe.

 

*Eat frequent, smaller meals *

 

It’s fine to get creative with your meals during pregnancy. If full-size meals are unpleasant for you due to nausea and food aversions, try eating about five to six smaller meals per day at more frequent intervals. Create a pattern of eating that works for you. It will help you meet your nutritional needs during pregnancy. Make your choices count. Satisfying snacks are fine; but limit your intake of junk food.

 

Treat yourself occasionally

 

Packaged snacks, sugar-loaded desserts and processed foods should not be the mainstay foods in your diet. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up all your favorite goodies just because you are pregnant. You don’t have to beat yourself up if you cave in to the temptation. Try smart and tasty snack ideas. Treat yourself with frozen all-fruit non-fat sorbet or a banana smoothie once in a while. The occasional piece of cake or cookie won’t hurt you or your baby.

 

Manage your food cravings during pregnancy

 

Food cravings are normal during pregnancy. Your taste for certain foods can change suddenly. You may start to dislike the foods that you were fond of before you became pregnant. Although there is no widely accepted explanation for these weird food cravings, more than 50% of pregnant women experience them. If you get an urge for a certain food, feel free to indulge your craving as long as it provides the essential nutrients and enough calories. But, if your craving prevents you from getting the other required nutrients, limit your intake of that food so as to maintain the balance in your diet.

 

Some women feel an urge to eat non-food items like ice, clay, laundry starch, ashes, chalk or paint chips. This is called pica and is usually associated with the deficiency of a nutrient like calcium or iron. Refrain from giving in to such non-food cravings as they can be harmful to you and your baby.

 

Don’t diet while you’re pregnant

 

As a rule, you must not diet during pregnancy. It can be potentially hazardous for you and your baby. Most weight-loss regimes are likely to leave you low on calories as well as on essential minerals and vitamins like iron and folic acid. Some amount of weight gain is bound to happen during pregnancy. It has been found that the women, who gain an appropriate amount of weight during pregnancy, are more likely to have healthy babies. So, it’s important to eat sensibly and avoid crash dieting during pregnancy. If your weight is on a higher side, you can still keep it in check by eating a nutritious diet.

 

Avoid a “Low Carb” Diet When Pregnant

 

Low-carbohydrate diets like the South Beach Diet and Atkins are very popular. However, no studies have ever been conducted to check the effects of a low-carb diet on the fetus. Hence, you are advised to avoid such a diet while you are pregnant.

 

Go all the way to maintain your vegan diet

 

If you have been following a vegan diet, there is no reason for you to divert from it just because you are pregnant. Your baby will receive all the nutrients required for him or her to grow and develop through your vegan diet. But, make sure you eat a wide variety of foods that provide enough calories and proteins for you and your baby.

 

*Steer clear of junk foods *

 

Irrespective of whether you are pregnant or not, there is no valid reason for indulging in too much of junk food. Junk foods are very high on calories and provide no nutrition. Stay away from all junk food items including French fries, burgers, pizzas, cakes, pastries and so on. The empty calories provided by these foods will hamper the growth and development of your baby and lead to an extra weight gain for you that you will find very difficult to shed after delivery.

 

Control your caffeine intake

 

Caffeine is the most loved beverage all over the world! But now that you are pregnant, you may need to cut down on the daily intake of your favorite drink. Caffeine is a stimulant. It increases your heart rate and blood pressure, both of which are not recommended during pregnancy. Caffeine can also increase the frequency of urination causing reduction of the fluid levels in the body leading to dehydration. Caffeine may even cross the placenta and reach your baby. The baby’s body cannot metabolize the caffeine fully. So, a small amount of it may remain in the body of the fetus resulting in changes in the baby’s sleep pattern in the later stages of pregnancy.

 

Caffeine can also contribute to your heartburn by increasing the secretion of gastric acid. Keeping in mind all these reasons, it is highly advisable for a woman to limit her consumption of caffeinated beverages during pregnancy. Caffeine is found not just in coffee; it may also be present in tea, chocolate and soda. So, beware of what you consume.

 

One thing you must remember throughout your pregnancy is eating better doesn’t necessarily mean eating more. It just means making smart food choices that will help you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

 

 

 

Chapter 7: Guidelines for safe exercises during pregnancy

 

Regular exercise is a great way of improving your health during your pregnancy. Most women desist from exercising during pregnancy for the fear of miscarriage. However, you will be glad to know that exercising does not increase the risk of miscarriage in a normal pregnancy. In fact, it provides several benefits, which only help you get through the nine months of pregnancy smoothly. Of course, you must know how much and what kind of exercises you should do during pregnancy. Let’s learn the basic guidelines for safe exercises during pregnancy.

 

Balance with your previous routine

 

If you were physically active even before your pregnancy, you can continue your activities in moderation. But, avoid exercising at your former level; rather, do what is most comfortable for you now. Do not allow your heart rate to exceed 150 beats per minute. Low impact aerobic exercises are encouraged versus the high impact strenuous exercises.

 

If you are starting from a scratch; I mean if you have never exercised regularly before, you will have to begin with a safer exercise program in consultation with your healthcare provider. Do not get overambitious or try a new, strenuous activity. Walking is the safest activity to begin with when pregnant. Experts recommend 30 minutes of brisk walk per day, for 5 days a week, unless you suffer from a medical or obstetric complication.

Who should not exercise?

 

Curtains medical conditions can pose a problem for you during pregnancy especially when you perform tiring physical activities. Exercises may be harmful if you have asthma, diabetes, epilepsy or a heart disease. Exercises are also not advisable if you have an obstetric condition like:

 

[*● *]Previous premature births

[*● *]Bleeding or spotting

[*● *]Threatened or recurrent miscarriage

[*● *]Low placenta

[*● *]Weak cervix

[*● *]A history of early labor

 

Which exercises are safe during pregnancy?

 

Most routine low-impact exercises are safe during pregnancy, as long as you perform them with caution and do not overdo it. The most productive activities that carry little risk of injury for a pregnant woman are brisk walking, stationary bicycling and aerobics. Other activities like jogging and swimming can be done in moderation. These activities benefit your entire body and can be continued until birth.

 

You should choose activities that do not require great coordination or balance, especially in the later months of pregnancy. For example: Racquetball and tennis are generally considered to be safe activities; but they are not recommended during pregnancy because the rapid movements can affect the body’s balance. Let us have a look at the safe and beneficial exercises during pregnancy.

 

[*● Stretching Exercises *]

 

Stretching exercises make the muscles firm and warm. Neck rotation, shoulder rotation, ankle rotation, thigh shift and leg shake are some examples of stretches that you can perform during pregnancy. These activities are simple and involve moving the particular part of the body in a linear or rotatory fashion. The movements should be slow, gentle and rhythmic. You can do these exercises for just 5-10 minutes upon getting up in the morning to relieve the muscle stiffness and body pains.

 

[*● Kegel Exercises *]

 

Kegel exercises help strengthen the muscles supporting the uterus, bladder and the bowels. By strengthening these muscles, you can improve your ability to control and relax these muscles in preparation for the labor.

 

To do Kegel exercises, imagine as if you are trying to control the flow of urine. Hold on for a slow count of five and then relax. When you do this, you will be contracting the muscles of the pelvic floor. While doing this, try not to move your buttocks, legs or abdominal muscles. In fact, no one should be able to know that you are doing any exercise. So, you can do it anywhere! Do this exercise for 5 minutes, about 3-4 times a day.

 

[*● Tailor Exercises *]

 

Tailor sit and Tailor press are the two Tailor exercises recommended for pregnant women. To practice Tailor sit; sit on the floor with your ankles crossed and knees bent. Lean forward slightly while keeping your back straight; but relaxed. Maintain the position for 5 seconds and then release.

 

Practicing Tailor press involves sitting on the floor with the bottoms of your feet together and your knees bent. Grasp the ankles and gently pull your feet towards your body. Place your palms under the knees and inhale. Press your knees down against the palms and press your palms up against the knees. This is called counter-pressure. Hold the position for a count of five and then release. Tailor exercises benefit by strengthening the hip, pelvic and thigh muscles and also relieve the low back pain.

 

● Leg lifts

 

Leg lifts use the body’s own weight to strengthen the muscles in the thighs. Simply lie down on the floor on your left side with your shoulders, hips and knees lined up straight. Support your body by placing the right arm on the floor in front of you and by holding the head with your left arm. Slowly lift your right leg as comfortably as you can and then lower. Do ten repetitions, then switch sides and repeat.

 

Try to vary the type of exercises you do. Remember that exercises do not have to be formal to have a positive effect. Any activity that fits into your everyday life like walking, doing housework or taking the stairs counts.

 

Here are some tips for safe exercising during pregnancy:

 

[*● *]Wear comfortable, loose fitting clothes and a good support bra

[*● *]Choose shoes, which are specially designed for the type of exercise you perform

[*● *]Exercise on a flat, leveled surface

[*● *]Consume enough calories to meet the increasing needs of your pregnancy and the exercise program.

[*● *]Finish eating at least an hour before exercising

[*● *]Drink water before, during and after workouts

[*● *]When you finish doing floor exercises, get up slowly to prevent dizziness

[*● *]Never exercise to the point of exhaustion

 

There are certain activities that can be harmful for your pregnancy. Avoid:

 

[*● *]Activities where falling is likely such as horseback riding and skiing

[*● *]Holding your breath for too long during any activity

[*● *]Exercise that may cause even mild abdominal trauma, such as jarring motions

[*● *]Contact sports like football, basketball and volleyball

[*● *]Activities that require extensive jumping, hopping or bouncing

[*● *]Full sit-ups, deep knee bends and double leg raises

[*● *]Excessive waist twisting movements

[*● *]Spurts of heavy exercises followed by long periods of inactivity

[*● *]Exercises that require lying on your right side or back for more than three minutes.

[*● *]Exercising in hot, humid weather

 

Maintaining a regular exercise routine will help you stay healthy and feel your best. It will also improve your posture and reduce the discomfort caused due to backaches and fatigue. Regular non-strenuous exercises will also relieve stress, help prevent gestational diabetes and build more stamina needed during labor. The advantages are too many; so wait no further. Start at the earliest and reap the benefits.

 

 

 

Chapter 8: Emotional advice on riding the mood roller coaster

Have you been very moody lately? You can blame it on your pregnancy, or rather the hormones playing havoc in your body. It’s very common to have your moods swinging from one extreme to other during pregnancy. The hormonal changes affect the levels of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the nervous system) in your body resulting in unpredictable mood changes. Everyone responds to these changes in a different way. You might have some “Pleasantville”-like images of pregnancy or feel dreadful worrying about your baby. Most often this moodiness flares up at around 6 to 12 weeks and then eases up once you enter the second trimester. And well… it may reappear as the pregnancy winds to a close.

 

Rare is the woman who manages to sails through her pregnancy without meeting this challenge! If you have started experiencing these ups and downs, take a deep breath and relax. Here are some wonderful tips on how to enjoy this emotional roller coaster ride of pregnancy.

 

[*● *]Take it easy. Do not give in to the urge to finish off as many chores as you can before the arrival of your baby. You may want to reorganize the closets, stencil bunnies on the nursery walls or put in a few extra hours working overtime before you go on a maternity leave. You must avoid hurrying up with too many things in a short period of time. Pampering yourself is an important part that will help you take care of your baby. So, just pencil yourself in at the top of your to-do list.

 

[*● *]Bond with your partner. Let your partner know how you’re feeling and reassure him that you still love him. This will help him avoid taking your emotional outbursts personally. Spend plenty of time together to nurture your relationship. Take some time out to strengthen your connection so that you can really be there for each other when the baby is born. Keep the lines of communication between you and your partner clear and open. Allow him to pour out his feelings as well. This two-way communication will strengthen your bond and ease undue stress.

 

[*● *]Make yourself feel good by indulging in activities you like. This could mean carving out some special time for yourself to do something just for you: go for a walk, curl up for a nap, see a movie with a friend or get a prenatal massage. This quality ‘me’ time will help reduce your overall stress levels and make you feel human. This will also help you to cope better with the changes you’re going through. Taking some time out for yourself will allow you to introspect about what exactly is causing the stress.

 

[*● *]Confide in friends. Air your worries about the baby and your future with understanding friends. Put your concerns into words. This will dissipate your emotions and help you get valuable insights from your friends. You can even consider talking to the friends who have gone through similar emotions. This will halve the load on your mind and stop you from feeling alone.

 

[*● *]Practice stress buster methods. Rather than letting the frustration build up in your mind, find ways to decompress it. Have some fun. Identify the sources of stress in your life and change what you can. Sometimes, trimming your “to-do” list can be a surprising de-stressor. Take pregnancy yoga classes and practice meditation or other relaxation techniques if you still find anxiety creeping in.

 

[*● *]Eat well. A balanced diet is essential not only to ensure that your body gets all the nutrients to grow a healthy baby; but also to regulate the hormones that can cause the mood swings. Food rich in simple carbohydrates like cakes, candies and colas can sometimes aggravate the feeling of anxiety and depression. Eat nutritious foods so that you get more energy that is needed to cope when you do feel down in the dumps.

 

[*● *]Make exercising a part of your routine life. Whether it’s yoga, swimming, walking or something else; exercising regularly will boost the levels of happy hormones (read: endorphins) in your body and give you a lasting buzz to keep you smiling. Exercising also works as a great outlet for the frustrations and anxieties within you and can help you feel in control of your changing body.

 

[*● *]Sleep well. Lack of sleep is a very common cause of frustration in pregnant women. You may not be able to get a sound sleep during pregnancy due to reasons like increased frequency of urination, nausea, abdominal discomfort or backache. Try taking short naps may be twice or thrice during daytime whenever you feel fatigued. A nap of just 10-15 minutes will keep you from feeling drained out.

 

[*● *]Discuss your concerns with your doctor. If you are having serious concerns regarding your pregnancy or baby, talk to your healthcare provider so that he can prescribe medicines or suggest other treatments for your problem. Most often, the concerns are just a figment of imagination. You may have heard about a woman who developed so and so complication and start fearing what if you also develop the same. But don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about any such thing thinking he might just laugh at you. Sharing your concerns will help you clear any misunderstanding and give you a better picture of your health and pregnancy.

 

Pregnancy can be an overwhelming and turbulent time. Some moms-to-be experience heightened emotions – both good and bad – while others feel dull, anxious or depressed. You may feel euphoric at the thought of having a child and at the next moment, you may just begin wondering what you’ve gotten yourself into. You may be worried about whether the baby will be healthy or whether you will be a good mom and will the cost of adding a member to your household affect your family’s finances. You can follow the tips given here to cope with such ups and downs during pregnancy and manage depression, stress, fear and anxiety with ease. Make conscious efforts to nurture yourself so that you can keep yourself on an even keel during stressful times.

 

The takeaway: “Don’t get worried about being worried; instead do something about your worry.”

 

 

 

Chapter 9: The most current lifestyle trends and their impact on your pregnancy

 

 

Our lifestyles have changed. We love to flaunt a cute butterfly tattoo on our back and can’t wait to get our belly button pierced. But how far are these current lifestyle trends safe during pregnancy? And what do you do if you already have them on? Here are the answers to all your queries regarding the latest lifestyle trends and their impact on your pregnancy.

 

“Is tattooing safe during pregnancy?”

 

The main health risk for having a tattoo is the possibility of contracting blood borne diseases like HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B or C. The possibility is higher if your tattooist does not use sterilized equipment or if the same dye has been used for multiple tattoos on different people. It might put the unborn baby at an increased risk of being infected if the woman has contracted the virus during her pregnancy.

 

So, it’s best not to have a tattoo while you’re pregnant. And anyways, it’s very unlikely that you will find a tattooist who will be willing to give a tattoo to a pregnant lady. Here are some other reasons why tattooing is not safe for a pregnant woman:

 

[*● *]Sometimes, the person having a tattoo can pass out. Most tattooists will be averse to take the risk of a pregnant woman fainting.

[*● *]Tattoo needles are sharp and can cause a shock. Such unusually stressful events may result in premature labor.

[*● *]The tattoo ink may get absorbed into your body. The effects of the ink on the fetus are not fully known.

[*● *]Your skin stretches during pregnancy. So, the appearance of the tattoo may change during the course of pregnancy making it look distorted

 

All these reasons are sensible enough to warn a pregnant woman to wait to have a tattoo until after the delivery.

 

“What about piercing my belly button?”

 

“I have my belly button pierced. Now I’m pregnant, do I have to take the jewelry out?” This is a very common question most pregnant women are asking to their doctors. Your pierced belly button looks cool, stylish and sexy – it helps you show off a flat, toned tummy. And pregnancy is all about bye-bye flat tummy! So, most of you may want to give up on your belly piercing when your tummy starts to bulge with baby. You may also think it might harm your baby because a baby is connected to the mother through the umbilical cord. So, should you get rid of your belly piercing?

 

Certainly not. Your umbilicus has nothing to do with your baby; you got it years back when you were delivered to your mother. So, your umbilicus or belly button was connected to “your mother” before you were born and not to your baby. So, it’s absolutely harmless. Hence, as long as your belly piercing is healthy and healed (read: it’s been a very long time since your trip to the piercing pagoda), there’s no medical reason why you should remove the jewelry. So, be proud of your bulging tummy and don’t hesitate to flaunt the pierced navel during pregnancy. Your existing body work will not harm your unborn baby. The pierced belly button will not provide a path for bacteria to reach your baby. Besides, the incision taken during most c-sections usually runs along the bikini line and so, even that will not interfere with the belly button.

 

But, if your belly ring begins to feel tight, it’s better to remove it or you can consider replacing it with a more comfortable piece of jewelry. You may also have to take the jewelry out if your piercing has not healed or has been red and inflamed.

 

And one more thing…if you are planning to get your belly pierced after your pregnancy is detected, detest from doing so. Puncturing the skin during pregnancy is not a good idea because it can increase the risk of infection.

 

“Should I try aromatherapy?”

 

Aromatherapy is fast gaining popularity as a safe and effective method of dealing with stress. And since pregnancy and labor are considered the most stressful periods for women, it’s natural for you to be more curious about the benefits of aromatherapy. However, experts recommend women to avoid using some essential oils during first trimester, as they can cause the uterus to contract resulting in a miscarriage. This can also hamper the development of your baby.

 

Here are some aromatherapy oils which you must avoid during pregnancy:

 

[*● *]Nutmeg Oil

[*● *]Rosemary Oil

[*● *]Almond Bitter

[*● *]Camphor

[*● *]Fennel

[*● *]Clove

 

You can use aromatherapy in the second trimester when the baby is more developed. Some of the essential oils used for aromatherapy act as uterine relaxants and pelvic elasticity promoters; hence are beneficial in the second trimester when the uterus is stretched to accommodate the growing baby. Some of them have a strengthening effect on the uterine contractions during active labor. They help ease the labor and de-stress the woman. Some oils have antiseptic properties and some are good for nausea and headaches. There are essential oils that help prevent excessive blood loss during delivery, calm the nervous system by acting as sedatives and also give a sense of euphoria. So, if you are planning to undergo aromatherapy, do so after the second trimester and make sure you inform the therapist about your pregnancy so that he knows which oils to use for you and which to avoid.

 

Some other benefits of an aromatherapy massage for a pregnant woman are:

 

[*● *]Relief from fatigue

[*● *]Eases cramps

[*● *]Decreases stretch marks

[*● *]Provides peaceful sleep

[*● *]Makes the skin soft and supple

[*● *]Gives relief to swollen and tired feet

 

“I want to take Botox injections”

 

There is no conclusive evidence that proves the safety of Botox (botulinum toxin) in pregnant women. So, if you are pregnant and considering Botox injections, I would recommend waiting until after your delivery to receive the treatment.

 

However, if you have had a Botox injection before you realized you were pregnant, the risk of it harming your baby is low. A single injection of Botox does not contain enough of the chemicals to circulate in the body and reach your baby. But, avoid having further Botox treatments during the remainder of your pregnancy and breastfeeding.

 

Fashion and trends are a part of our life. But, when a new life is breathing within our body, we need to take more precautions and take appropriate decisions giving preference to the health and safety of the baby. You can always have a tattoo of your choice and enjoy the benefits of Botox treatment after 9 months of your pregnancy. Your healthy child will surely be proud to have a trendy mom, who has a soft and loving heart that’s ready to make sacrifices for her sweet baby.

 

 

Chapter 10: What’s hot and what’s not in pregnancy lovemaking

 

Imagine going nine months without sex. Wait, but why would you want to do that in the first place? Pregnancy doesn’t mean you ditch the sex out from your life. I won’t advise you to swing from chandeliers during your pregnancy. But having sex is far from that.

 

So, here’s all that you want to know about sex in pregnancy…

 

The first thing that will crop in your mind is it is safe? Should we avoid it? Will it harm my baby?

 

The answer is a big NO. Having sex is not going to cause any harm to your baby provided you take some understandable precautions. As long as your pregnancy is progressing normally, there is no valid reason why you can not have sex. Excluding some special cases like having a history of miscarriage or preterm labor, you can have sex as often as you like. There’s no chance of hurting the baby during sex because your cervix and the amniotic fluid can protect the baby.

 

Now that you know sex is safe during pregnancy, let us see what are the reasons for why you “should” have sex and what are the benefits of having sex:

 

[*● *]As your estrogen and progesterone levels rise during pregnancy, they will cause some changes in your body that will boost your libido. So, having sex is something that you will really enjoy and so, that will act as a great stress buster. The increased blood flow in the vagina and the cervix during pregnancy will intensify your sexual desire. Hence, it will also improve your orgasm. In fact, most women achieve a real orgasm for the first time ever during pregnancy!

 

[*● *]Sex is the righteous recipe for romance. It will help nurture your relationship with your husband, which will go a long way to ensure you provide a healthy family environment for your kid.

 

[*● *]Having sex with a fair amount of foreplay is the best cure when you are having troubles getting sound sleep. Frequent bathroom trips, back pain and the well rounded tummy in the third trimester can make sleep disturbed and uncomfortable. Sex can be a solution to your sleep issues because a hormone called prolactin, which is released immediately after orgasm, will help you feel relaxed and sleepy. A better night’s sleep also means an energized and recharged mama in the morning! The rocking motion of the sex session will also lull your baby to sleep.

 

[*● *]Most pregnant women wait for the night to climb into the bed, only to find they can’t get comfortable even on their soft mattress. A growing uterus puts unique strains on the body resulting in discomfort. Sex, however, can block this pain! Oxytocin, aka the “love hormone,” that is released during sex, produces a pain relieving effect by increasing the body’s pain tolerance.

 

[*● *]Sex can actually boost your immunity! The immune power of a woman is lowered during pregnancy. Sex can help you by boosting the production of antibodies and help you ward off that cold… which is the last think you would want to have when awaiting for the arrival of your sweet little one!

 

[*● *]Stronger pelvic floor is the best direct benefit of having sex in pregnancy. You really need a strong pelvic floor during this period to hold up all the organs in your pelvis and to help you with bladder control. There are two ways by which sex helps to strengthen your pelvic floor: “sexercise” and orgasm. “Sexercise” is a term coined for the Partner Kegel exercises. It is the same as the Kegel exercises that we discussed earlier; but this one is practiced with the help of your partner. When the male partner tries to enter you; the muscles of the pelvic floor contract the same way as they do when you hold your breath in Kegel exercise. Orgasm causes strong contractions in these muscles and you get a workout for strengthening your pelvic floor. The difference is you are really going to enjoy this workout!

 

[*● *]Sex has been shown to be effective in lowering blood pressure. Keeping your blood pressure in a healthy range will lower your risk of pregnancy complications including the need for a C-section.

 

[*● *]By strengthening the pelvic floor during pregnancy, you will help your muscles recover much faster after the baby’s birth. A strong pelvic floor will also make the baby’s delivery much easier.

 

Since your body doesn’t change much in the first trimester, sex can pretty much continue the same way as it has been in the past. Later, as the tummy grows, some positions may get a bit difficult to perform. As a rule, a good sex position during pregnancy is the one where:

 

[*● *]Both the partners are physically comfortable

[*● *]The position allows for the kind of physical contact you want to have without causing undue stress or pressure on the bump and the vagina

 

Figuring out safe sex positions during pregnancy requires a sense of humor, some amount of creativity and a lot of pillows. If you’re looking to jumpstart your creativity, you might want to come up with your own positions by exploring the sex positions game. But, if that seems like too much of work, you can try the following sex positions that are generally considered safe and comfortable even as your body changes during pregnancy.

 

The New Missionary Position

 

The traditional missionary position obviously doesn’t work when you have a bump. But the new missionary position does. Lie on your back and keep your legs straight. Your partner can then kneel between your legs to enter you, so as to avoid any weight on your bump. You will find it more comfortable with a pillow under your bottom.

 

 

The Butterfly position

 

The woman lies on her back on a raised, flat surface. This may work on a bed; but something higher like a table would be better. The man stands in front of the bed/table and lifts her legs over his shoulders. The woman then puts her hands down to lift her hips, while the man holds her bottom for extra lift. This position ensures there is no pressure on the tummy. However, it also allows the male partner to thrust more deeply. So, tell him to be slow and gentle when you want him to be.

 

 

 

Spooning

 

The spoon position can be very cozy and intimate. Lie down on your side, in a curled up position. Your partner lies behind you and enters from the behind. The penetration is shallow. So you may find this position comfortable even during late pregnancy.

 

From Behind

 

Lean down on the pillows with your partner kneeling and entering you from the behind while you are on all fours on the bed. Alternatively, you can try bending over the bed with the support of the pillows with your partner standing and entering from behind. This position allows for better penetration and higher sexual satisfaction. However, do tell your partner if it gets painful.

 

 

 

The sexual positions given here are perfect during pregnancy. There are also some other options if the thought of intercourse is just too much for you. You can try mutual masturbation, oral sex, massaging and so on.

 

But one caution: If you are having oral sex, your partner should not blow air into the vagina, as this can cause an air bubble to block a blood vessel resulting in complications for the baby. Otherwise, pregnancy is a good excuse to experiment with some new ways of having sex.

 

Just as every woman’s pregnancy is unique, so is every woman’s sex drive. If your spirit is willing to have sex; but your fears and misinformation are holding you back, this advice will help you brush off your worries and enjoy sex to the fullest. So what are you waiting for? Grab your partner and get down tonight!

 

 

 

Chapter 11: How to juggle a busy career with your pregnancy

 

With all the changes and preparations keeping you occupied during pregnancy, it’s understandable for your career development to slip down the ranks in the list of your priorities. When you’re about to bring a new life into the world; it’s natural to be concerned about your health and baby than your career. However, the addition of a new member to your family necessitates that you give attention to the status of your job role before, during and after maternity leave. Hence, it’s important to work towards these goals during pregnancy. Let’s take a look at the factors involved in striking a balance between your pregnancy and a demanding career.

 

[*● *]Being happy and confident about your pregnancy

[*● *]Staying fit and healthy

[*● *]Avoiding being unduly stressed by your boss, job or organizational requirements

[*● *]Staying in touch with the matters related to your job throughout the maternity leave at a level you find comfortable

[*● *]Exploring work options in the spirit of sensitivity and flexibility

[*● *]Looking forward to your re-entry and returning to the work willingly

 

There involves a clear three-stage process in these efforts including:

 

[*● *]Preparing for a maternity leave

[*● *]Holding onto options

[*● *]Re-entry

 

Let’s discuss each one at length.

 

Preparing for a maternity leave

 

The situation of every woman on the eve of her maternity leave is unique. It may hold a number of pros and cons and there could be some unforeseen circumstances. Ask your organization if it can provide you an access to career guidance through internal or external sources with whom you can have one-to-one discussion about this phase of transition. A good career guide should be able to give suggestions that suit your unique situation by having a better understanding through spending significant time talking with you. Find a career guide who is compatible with you as a person, your lifestyle, your background and your concerns.

 

Irrespective of whether you use or not use any professional guidance, you must aim to prepare for a maternity leave with a long-term perspective in mind. Ask yourself questions like, “What are my future career plans? For how long will I need to take the leave?” And so on… If you wish your organization to really flourish in your absence, make sure to equip your stand-in with all the possible tools, information and advice. If you’re contemplating shifting to a different business area within your organization upon your return, don’t wait for too long to convey the same to your boss as well as the other persons concerned.

 

Similarly, if you think you may have to leave the business post delivery, indicate the same to your employer so that it makes the things easier for him as well as for you in case the circumstances force you to change your mind later on.

 

Holding onto Options

 

While you are on a maternity leave, check-in with your colleagues, boss and your organization in general to the level of frequency you wish. Much depends on how the things pan out for you after the birth of your child. These things are impossible to predict. Hence, it is harder to know how you are going to cope with the new role as a mother and how much of and when exactly you will be able to take up the responsibilities of your job role. Make sure you keep the people concerned in your organization updated about the developments even though you can not provide them the exact date of your return. As you get closer to the decision time, you can move into the third stage of the process.

 

Re-entry

 

Most people assume that women on maternity leave can return to their previous slot as soon as they return from their maternity leave. The law too underpins that position. However, there will be a lot of career options that you may want to evaluate as well as different elements of career objectives and family life that you’ll want to balance. Consider all the options and evaluate each in terms of convenience, your physical and emotional requirements, flexibility and the amount of work-life balance you will be able to strike. Take your decision carefully based on what may work out the best for your current and future position. This is where the efforts you undertook at stage 1 can come to your rescue. If you have already indicated to your employer that you might not be able to return to the same role as you have been holding, he or she will be more prepared for the confirmation of this. The trust of your employer that you will gain from confiding in him the reality will help you have better prospects even when you opt for a different role based on your qualifications, capabilities and experience.

 

By following this three-stage process, you will be able to feel in control with your career. Throughout the pregnancy, you will have the opportunity to think about your work-life balance and successfully negotiate this emotional and difficult period of transition.

 

If you still feel angry or stressed with the fear that you may need to put your career on the back burner or if you feel your pregnancy has come at a time when you were about to reach a new height in the corporate ladder; do not worry. There are ways to ensure that you can continue having a successful career and even break the glass ceiling to reach the top while fulfilling your role as a mother. Read on to know more.

 

[*● *]Inform your employer about your pregnancy and assure him that you will continue to be focused at work. Discuss with him an outline of the new job profile you would wish to take up upon your return and assure him about how you will be able to contribute to the role. The new position could just be an extension of your existing role and may not demand much in terms of training or learning new skills. If you feel you will not be able to handle the new role, tell him so right away and ask if there is any alternate assignment. If you’re clear about your goals, your management will be more willing to work with you to come up with an ideal solution.

 

[*● *]Pregnancy can be a physically and emotionally draining time. But, preparing for the future is also essential. Having a plan in place will help minimize your stress levels. So try having some certainty about what you will be doing upon return – your time and hours of work and so on. Most organizations have clear policies about how to return to work after childbirth. Familiarize yourself with these and have discussions to get mutually agreed upon terms about your return as far in advance as possible.

 

[*● *]Keep your superiors informed about the progress at work and your appointments. If you need to be away – keep them updated and have someone stand in for you so that the work is not hampered due to your absence. Avoid antenatal appointments during office hours unless there is an emergency.

 

[*● *]Use your time judiciously. Steer clear of office gossip, long lunch breaks and personal telephone calls.

 

[*● *]Let your work speak for you. If you have worked sincerely, there will always be a room for growth. There are enumerable examples of women who have joined back after maternity leave and achieved much – all due to their dedication, grit and determination.

 

[*● *]If you feel your office is not supportive enough, look out for other flexible working options or a career change. This, however, should be your last resort.

 

Though finding a good work-life balance is like walking on a tightrope, have confidence that things will eventually fall in place. Your career does not have to end because you are pregnant. If you’re dependent on your job for financial stability, it is going to be even more so after the delivery. Providing for your baby and being able to successfully manage your family, work and other elements of your life will help you develop satisfaction about your overall life.

 

 

 

Chapter 12: Travel tips for pregnant women

 

Travelling is usually a concern for pregnant women. Most women avoid long distance travelling especially by car to avoid the jerks and bumps on the roads. Some women are not sure whether they can travel by air and what precautions they should take for the safety of their baby. Here, we will discuss the safety tips for travelling during pregnancy.

 

Car travel

 

When traveling by car, remember to wear your seatbelt, even if the car has an air bag. Run the shoulder belt up over your shoulder and between your breasts and not over your abdomen. Strap the lower belt across your upper thighs. Remove any excess slack in the seat belt. If you are sitting in front of the air bag, slide your seat back as far as possible and tilt the seat slightly backward to increase the distance between the air bag and your chest to at least 25 cm.

 

Make sure you will be able to take frequent bathroom breaks. Take short walks after every 2 hours on the journey to increase the blood circulation in your legs. During your third trimester, it’s advisable to not stray too far from your home so that you can get immediate medical attention in case of emergency.

 

Airline travel

 

The safest time for a pregnant woman to travel by air is during her second trimester when the risks for preterm labor and miscarriage are lowest. Some airlines do not allow women more than 35 weeks pregnant to fly. Hence, it’s prudent to check with the airline for its requirements before booking a flight. Carry a written documentation of your due date as your airline may request to see this information.

 

When in flight, wear your seat belt strap over your upper thighs. Keep your seat belt fastened as much as possible even when there is no turbulence. Take a few walks so as to increase the circulation of blood in your legs. Choose an aisle seat, if possible, as this will make it easier for you to move around in the plane.

 

Though it is quite safe to travel during pregnancy by car or air, you will need to take a few added precautions and do some extra planning. So, before you hit the road, take a look at this list of things-to-do:

 

*Consult your healthcare provider *

 

Ask your doctor whether there are any health concerns related to your pregnancy, the medications you may need and the upcoming tests you will need to work around. Women with high-risk pregnancies need to be extra cautious, which may prohibit travel.

 

Consider your prenatal test schedule

 

Plan your travel taking into consideration the time of the prenatal tests you have to undergo. It’s advisable to have the tests done before the journey rather than postponing them. Allow time to get the results so that the doctor can give you an appropriate advice and medications based on the reports.

 

*Gather the vital health information and your medical records *

 

Prepare a list of the names and contact numbers you will need if an emergency arises. Pack it in your carry-on luggage. Bring along your prenatal chart if you are in your second or third trimester. The chart includes your blood group, age, the contact details of your healthcare provider, your due date, information about prior pregnancies, any risk factors, results of lab tests and ultrasounds, your medical history and the records of vital signs taken at prenatal visits. Keep this chart with you at all times during your trip. If you’re planning an extended visit; check where the nearest hospital is.

 

*Medications *

 

Pack a sufficient supply of prenatal vitamins, prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs you may need during your trip. It’s a good idea to keep the prescription medicines in their original container. Carry the prescription with you as you may need it in case your stock gets over.

 

Keep your luggage to the minimum

 

If you are travelling alone, choose a trolley bag which doesn’t have to be lifted and pack only as much as you can carry. Any heavy lifting can increase the pressure in your abdomen resulting in the rupture of the membrane in the later months and may also hurt your back.

 

Carry enough bottled water and keep sipping on it to avoid dehydration. Carry snacks and meals from home. You could pack fresh fruits such as bananas or apples, dry fruits and protein biscuits to keep you going.

 

There is no need to avoid long distance travelling during pregnancy. You just need to be more careful and take appropriate precautions so that you can enjoy the journey without causing any risk to yourself and your baby.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 13: What a man should know about pregnancy

 

This one’s for the dads-to-be…

 

A woman is not the only one who’s expecting when she gets pregnant. There are two of them working on this home improvement project – the mother-to-be and the father-to-be. So, the dad-to be also requires to know what a woman feels like when she is pregnant, how to take care of her and how he can make her feel good. So, find out what you need to do to get her through the 40-odd weeks of pregnancy.

 

Prepare the nest

 

When people talk about pregnancy, they tend to say a lot about the mother, the changes in her body and her moods. There is hardly anything said about the changes needed in your home and the household matters. This, ideally, should be a topic of interest for you just as how your expecting partner’s swelling bosom does. Your domestic routine must already be settled assuming that you have been living together for a little while. Now, that your partner is pregnant, the things she used to do earlier will no longer be easy for her to continue doing. So, you should be willing to step up and do more things around the house than ever before.

 

Don’t treat her like a glass

 

Many men feel very protective for their wives. And when it’s your baby growing inside her, that protective instinct ratchets up several notches. But, you shouldn’t think that she can not fend for herself. Helping her with the chores is one thing. But, don’t overdo the ‘safety’ bit till the time she yells, “I’m not made of glass, stop treating me like a princess!!!”

 

Your house needs some changes

 

Now that you’re soon to be a family, your home will soon contain a lot more stuff – the crib, nursing rocker, changing table, swing, stroller, bassinet and car seat. Plus, there will be all the baby toys and gadgets that you never cared to know about so far. If you plan to set up a nursery, get ready to decorate. Be prepared to discuss bumper patterns and crib sheets and make appropriate changes before the baby arrives.

 

Your bedroom needs attention too

 

Things will be different in the bedroom when your partner is pregnant. The bed you share might seem less cozy for her as she may become uncomfortable due to back pains and so on. Help her by accommodating her graciously. Make room for her extra-large body pillow. Be ready to lose your bed mate for a while if she prefers to sleep in a reclining chair.

 

Be patient

 

Pregnancy wreaks havoc on your wife’s hormones. At one moment, she’ll feel fantastic, and at the next, she’ll bite your head off if you open your mouth. Be patient and understand that it’s just the hormones. Avoid making her feel guilty once she calms down from a “bad” mood. Just reassure her that you understand what she is going through and you are always with her. Also tell her that you appreciate all the pains and inconveniences she is bearing for your baby. Tell her she’s beautiful and that you love her. Affirm your unwavering dedication to her each and every day.

 

Help her through morning sickness

 

Morning sickness is perhaps the worst part of being pregnant…well, besides that whole labor thing. Despite its name, morning sickness doesn’t happen only in the morning. The symptoms may strike at any time, day or night. Keep experimenting with different remedies to help her through this rocky period. Introduce new treatments to see which work for her and which don’t. Be willing to make many trips, sometimes late at night, to get her something to ease her trouble. Prepare for her ginger ale, ginger tea or peppermint tea, get her some crackers or try options like applying seasickness bracelets on her wrist.

 

Smoking becomes doubly dangerous

 

Though having a pregnant partner is not the only reason for you to quit smoking; it becomes doubly important to do so when she is. All the smoking inside your home must stop right away when there is an expecting mother in the house. Secondhand smoke is highly dangerous for the baby. It could cause serious complications during pregnancy and may make the baby prone to asthma after birth. Take the pregnancy news as an excuse to quit smoking. It is the most welcome change you will be making in yourself for your and your baby’s health and well being.

 

Prenatal visits and the expecting father

 

A generation or two ago, it was quite unusual for an expecting father to hang out with the mother during prenatal visits and labor. Now, the dads are encouraged to accompany the moms during their prenatal care appointments. Assuming that all goes well, there will only be about 12-16 prenatal visits scheduled with varying frequency during each trimester. If you take time out to join your partner at the appointments, she will definitely appreciate it and you shall benefit from knowing what’s going on.

 

The Grand Finale

 

Towards the last months of pregnancy, the mom-to-be will draw up a plan for the birth with a detailed description of how she wants to do the delivery, where to go, whom she wants in the room and what your role will be. When “the” moment actually arrives, all might go according to the plan or the circumstances could trash the plan utterly. Hence, it’s important to take the birthing classes together so that you will be able to figure out the best ways to support her throughout the labor. Once she goes into a labor, it will get increasingly painful. To you, it might seem like not much is happening. But she could be experiencing pain that you just can’t imagine. Stay focused on her. Be there from beginning to end. Keep reassuring her. Your support will help her get through the pain much easily.

 

The thing about men and pregnancy is that there's nothing much they can do -- the expecting mother does all the work and she also gets all the attention. Of course, she deserves it. But, as an expecting father, by getting involved early and at every level, you will make things easier for her and this will also keep you from feeling left out.

 

After all, the birth of your child is a big event that will change your life. And the final star of this big event is going to be the baby, your baby!!! So get ready for the nine months of roller coaster. Consider this as an expectant father’s guide for a healthy mom and a healthy baby.

 

And yes, there are a lot of cool things awaiting you besides these ‘responsibility’ stuffs. You’ll get to feel and talk to your baby even before he is born! Enjoy every moment of this beautiful phase in our life!

 

 

 

Chapter 14: Safe skin products during pregnancy

 

By now, you know that what you put (or don’t put) in your body is important for the wellbeing of your growing baby, whether it’s the right kind of proteins, certain types of fish or too much of caffeine. But are you aware that what you put on your skin is just as important? You may slather on oceans of lotions every day, but some of it might pass the skin barrier and get absorbed into your body. And with a developing baby in your belly, this can be a vital concern.

 

What you apply on the skin can affect your baby and this isn’t just an old wives’ tale. So let us learn which skin care products to avoid and how to take care of your skin during pregnancy.

 

1. Retinoids: vitamin A derivatives

 

The biggest baddies for pregnant women are the prescription drugs containing retinoids. The retinoid products are prescribed commonly for a variety of skin conditions including acne, rashes, bumps and discolorations. These powerful substances, found in most anti-aging moisturizers, are lauded for improving the skin tone and for reducing wrinkles. Retinoids speed up the cell division that helps quicken your skin’s renewal and also prevent the breakdown of the skin collagen.

 

However, this vitamin A derivative, in its oral forms, is a huge issue with pregnant women as it is linked to several birth defects. Though there is no data to show that retinoid ingredients are harmful when applied on the skin, it’s advisable to be extra cautious when using it in its topical forms for the safety and well being of your baby.

 

2. Luxury bath products

 

This is good news for women who do not like to waste money on expensive skin care products. It has been found that the cheap shower creams are composed of safer ingredients that the high-end products that seem to contain more exotic ingredients. The chemicals included in some luxury bath products can cause allergies that can be quite irritating and disturbing for you during your pregnancy. So, leave the stuffs with fancy names on the shelf and stick to a classic low-end soap for the shower.

 

3. Nail care

 

Working in a nail salon is one of the worst jobs for a pregnant woman as reported by a leading magazine. Anecdotes about health problems experienced by nail workers include birth defects, stillbirths and developmental issues. An increased risk of spontaneous abortion is also observed among nail salon employees. This risk is attributed to the “toxic trio”: formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate and toluene. Most nail products include these ingredients. Even if you are having your nails done just once in a couple of weeks; the fact is, no one knows whether that is a “safe dose”. Hence, it’s best to avoid getting any nail job done while you are pregnant. Wear naked nails with pride during pregnancy. You can treat yourself with a manicure and pedicure without using harsh chemicals.

 

4. Spray-on tanning

 

The use of Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) in the spray-on chemical tanning products has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, the approval has not taken into account the risks of inhaling the sprayed particles that get into the air during “tanning”. Studies suggest that DHA can be mutagenic and may cause damage to the DNA. Bottom line: spray-on tans may be considered safe and healthy when used on healthy adults; but it’s not worth taking any unknown risk to your developing fetus.

 

*5. Skin lightening *

 

Most skin lightening products contain chemicals like hydroquinone and glutathione. These chemicals interfere with the enzymatic processes, which lead to the production of a pigment called melanin that is responsible for the darkening of the skin. Unfortunately, pregnancy often induces skin darkening, making the urge to use these products stronger. However, you must keep in mind that these chemicals can affect the growth and development of the baby. Hence, it is best to wait until after your pregnancy before considering any skin lightening treatment.

 

6. Chemical hair removal

 

The active ingredient in most hair removal products is a form of Thioglycolic acid. The safety of this ingredient on the skin during pregnancy is not established. Hence, we recommend the precautionary principle: Leave it on the shelf during your pregnancy.

 

7. Salicylic acid

 

This mild acid is used in the treatment of skin disorders like acne, dermatitis, corns and psoriasis. You will find this chemical in a number of skin products such as body peels, toners and cleansers. It can penetrate the facial oils and get deeper into the skin pores to clean out the dead skin cells. It can also help reduce inflammation or redness and even reverse the signs of aging. The benefits are plenty. But, for a pregnant woman, it is another no-no. High doses of Salicylic[* *]acid, in its oral form, may cause birth defects and various pregnancy complications. The concern exists even for the face and body peels containing Salicylic acid.

 

Here are a few tips that will help you take care of your skin during pregnancy without causing any harm to you or your baby:

 

[*● *]Dab your skin gently with a blotting paper when it gets oily

[*● *]Avoid the sun

[*● *]Use sun block and cover up the exposed parts with protective clothing whenever you go out

[*● *]Drink plenty of water to keep the skin well hydrated

[*● *]Use a gentle exfoliator containing natural ingredients once or twice a month

 

Some decades ago, the chemists were busy churning out a lot of discoveries to provide us several miracle creams and lotions that helped us look better. It was widely believed that these chemical-laden creams and lotions did not cross the placenta; hence, were considered safe for the baby. But today, we know that the mother’s exposure to such chemicals can affect her baby’s chances for a normal, healthy life. However, you don’t have to let such fears overwhelm your enjoyment of the nine months of miracle. The little dose of facts given here is enough to help you protect your little bundle of joy from the harmful skin products.

 

 

 

Chapter 15: What clothes are suitable to wear during pregnancy

 

Ah! That beautifully expanding waistline as you progress through your pregnancy. What a magic time! Your protruding belly is the sign of your growing baby. Pregnancy will bring with itself several other changes in your body. And obviously as your pregnancy progresses from one trimester to another, you will find it difficult to fit into your current wardrobe. And this brings to you an opportunity to go shopping. Your new wardrobe should not only be comfortable; but also be able to flatter your figure. Learn some useful tips and the must-have maternity clothing that will help you look and feel fabulous throughout your pregnancy.

 

[*● *]Buy clothes only as much as you need because you may not wear the most of them once you get back to your svelte figure a few months after the delivery. But, keep in mind the further growth of the baby so that your wardrobe is enough to last till the end of the pregnancy and does not necessitate forceful buying during the later months. If you shop smart and at the right time, you will be able to extend much of your wardrobe until after your little peanut has made her debut.

 

[*● *]Avoid the temptation to buy loads of maternity clothes as soon as you find out about your pregnancy. There’s still a lot of time for the bodily changes to make your present wardrobe non-fitting. And you can not predict how exactly your body is going to change later in the first month itself. Besides, you may just forget to take into account how the weather is going to be during the later months. So, the clothes you buy in the first month may not be suitable when the time to actually use them comes.

 

[*● *]Now, let’s have a look at the must-haves during pregnancy. Start with a good bra. Do not try to squeeze yourself into your old saggy bra. You will need a new one for good support and comfort. You may have to buy several bras during and after pregnancy, but it’s worth it.

 

[*● *]Leggings are another “must-have” for a pregnant woman. Buy a few pairs of dark, stretchy leggings. They can keep you comfortable on your most bloated days and also give you a streamlined look when tucked into boots. When your bump gets bigger, just slouch the waistband below for better comfort. You can size up your regular leggings so that you are able to continue using them when your pooch may still be in effect in those post-baby days.

 

[*● *]When you go on a maternity shopping, don’t forget to add a tunic to the cart. These over-sized tops hit below the hip or may stop at the mid-thigh depending on your height. Why they are a necessity is they will help you flatter and hide a multitude of body issues like your bump and the not-so-curvy body. Choose the ones with lovely, slimming details such as vented sides, bracelet-length sleeves or deep V-necklines. Before pregnancy, it may have been enough to wear a tunic as a complete dress; but as your pregnancy advances, you will have to pair it with leggings or skinny jeans. The added fabric will also provide a discreet cover while nursing when your baby is born.

 

[*● *]Maxi dresses…They have already become quite trendy with women of all ages and for good reasons. To start with: they flatter your curves with empire waists, a focus on your collarbone, flowing skirts and of course, the décolletage! Choose a soft jersey fabric dress that can be draped easily over your changing body.

 

[*● *]Long tank top is one thing you will love to wear when you are pregnant. You can never have enough of these staples. Do consider investing in the best one you can find. It has the staying power and an ability to make the most of your figure. Look for one that has stretchy microfiber blends, thicker-than-usual straps to hide a bra and ruching on the sides. It should accommodate the ebb and the flow of your chest. The longer length will accommodate your belly and also give some coverage to your rear. This is especially helpful when you’re pairing it with skinny jeans or leggings. The subtle ruching will give you a shape during the first few months and whittle your middle after the delivery.

 

[*● *]An unstructured, chunky cardigan can be a great thing to add to your wardrobe when you are pregnant. The classic cardigan can never go out of style; but a fairly unstructured option will give you better flexibility when you’re expecting. By flexibility, I mean no tissue-thin material revealing more ripples than you’d like and no buttons to fuss with. An unstructured cardigan – perhaps with a toggle closure near the neckline and a simple one-button or an asymmetrical front – will allow you to wear it loosely closed or open.

 

[*● *]A classic shift dress that has a slight A-line with the body skimming around the upper part and flared out at the bottom will give you a youthful silhouette that will be quite flattering for you. A dress with spaghetti straps or a scoop neck is also a great option.

 

[*● *]Buying a good scarf is the best thing you can do for your pregnancy wardrobe. Sure, it isn’t necessarily an item of clothing, per se. But, stylists are united in their love for this exceptionally versatile accessory to add flair to an otherwise dull outfit, so as to amp up your looks. Once your baby comes, the same scarf can morph into a blanket for a quick rest in the park, an impromptu nursing cover or a makeshift shade for your stroller.

 

It may be a challenge to find the right clothes during pregnancy. These maternity dressing tips from expert stylists will help you choose the right stuffs that will work the best for you. Your new wardrobe will make you feel comfortable and look fabulous no matter what size you are.

 

 

 

Chapter 16: Packing list for the hospital or birth center

 

On your delivery day, you would want to be as comfortable as possible so that you are able to concentrate on the birthing process. And for that; you will have to be ready with the list of essentials for yourself, your partner and the baby to make the whole event as stress-free as possible. Here’s what experienced moms recommend you to pack:

 

For labor

 

[*● *]Any hospital paperwork you might need including a picture ID (like your driver’s license), your insurance card and so on

[*● *]Eyeglasses, if you wear them. Even if you are using contact lenses, I would advise you to pack your glasses as you may find the lenses difficult to deal with in the hospital setting.

[*● *]Though some hospitals provide socks and gowns to be used during labor and afterward, you can pack a nightgown or two, a bathrobe, slippers and socks if you prefer to wear your own. Choose a loose-fitting, comfortable gown that you won’t mind getting dirty. Go for sleeveless gowns or the ones with short sleeves so that the nurse can check your blood pressure easily. Slippers and a robe will come in handy in case you have to walk the halls during labor.

[*● *]Pack a thing or two that can help you relax. Here are some options: your own pillow (use colorful or patterned pillowcase so that it doesn’t get mixed up with the hospital pillows), music CDs and a device to play them on, a picture of someone you love or anything else that you find pleasant or reassuring. If you’re going to be induced for a labor, think of bringing something to watch or read because it may take a while before the labor begins.

 

For your labor partner

 

[*● *]A camera with batteries, charger and a memory card so that the big event can be documented! Though some hospitals do not allow videotaping of the birth, most of them have no objection for filming the mother-baby after the birth. If you plan to use your phone for taking photos or video, make sure it’s fully charged and doesn’t forget to pack your charger.

[*● *]You may need a battery-powered charger to charge the devices that don’t require a plug in case the hospital does not allow you to use the plugs in the delivery room.

[*● *]Do not forget to pack the toiletries

[*● *]A few changes of comfortable clothes and comfortable shoes

[*● *]Snacks and something to watch or read because it is going to be quite taxing for your partner to simply wait and watch

[*● *]Money (or a credit card) for parking. You may also need to keep some change for the vending machines.

[*● *]Pack his bathing suit if you want to take a shower or bath during labor. You may want your partner to get in with you to support you or rub your back.

 

After your baby’s birth

 

[*● *]A fresh gown, in case you prefer to wear your own

[*● *]Your cell phone and charger. Of course, you will want to call the family and friends to let them know the good news. Bring a list of all those you would like to contact so that you don’t forget someone important when you’re exhausted after the delivery.

[*● *]Snacks! This one is very important. After many hours of labor, you will be pretty hungry and you may not want to rely on the hospital food. So bring your own – fresh or dried fruit, crackers, granola bars, nuts or whatever you think you’ll enjoy. A bottle of non-alcoholic champagne would be fun for the celebrations.

[*● *]Pack a few personal items like a toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, lip balm, a brush or comb, a hair band and makeup. Some hospitals do provide soap and shampoo; but you might prefer to use your own.

[*● *]Comfortable regular bras or nursing bras. Irrespective of whether you want to breastfeed or not, your breasts are likely to be swollen, engorged and tender when the milk comes in. A good bra will provide some comfort and keep you at ease. You can use the breast pads to help absorb the leaks.

[*● *]Several pairs of maternity underpants. You may not like to wear the mesh underwear that most hospitals provide. Get your own roomy cotton underpants. Make sure you have a good supply of heavy-duty pads at home. Though the hospital will provide you sanitary pads for your bleeding after delivery, you will need them after being discharged also.

[*● *]A book on newborn care. Of course, the postpartum nurse will be there to answer your questions and train you about how to change the nappies, nurse, hold and bathe your newborn. But, you can help yourself understand it better by looking into your own newborn care book.

[*● *]Photos of your other children. You may miss them a lot while you are in the hospital. Besides, when they come to visit you, they’ll be pleased to see that you haven’t forgotten them. This will help you to take care of any ensuing sibling rivalry.

[*● *]A pen or pencil and a notepad or journal to jot down the memories of your first day as a mother. It will come in handy when you want to write down the questions you have for the doctor and the nurse, track your baby’s feeding sessions, note what the pediatrician tells you and so on.

[*● *]An outfit for going home. Bring something that you can easily get into because you may still look 5 or 6 months pregnant even after the delivery. Also get a pair of flat, comfortable shoes.

 

For your baby

 

[*● *]Install a car seat. You can not drive your baby home without it! Have a rear-facing car seat installed properly well ahead of time and learn how to buckle the baby correctly in it.

[*● *]A going-home outfit for the baby. Include a pair of socks or booties and also a soft cap if the weather is likely to be chilling. Make sure that the baby’s outfit has legs so that the straps of the car seat can fit between them.

 

We hope this list will help you to be prepared for the day! I would suggest you to pack two small bags for the birth center: one for the items you will need during the labor and the other one for the items you won’t need until after the delivery. It’s a good idea to have everything packed when you enter the 9th month, as you could go into a labor at any time from now.

 

Wish you good luck!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

Pregnancy is a truly glorious time in a woman’s life. It’s nothing less than a miracle. There is nothing more amazing than creating a brand new life from a single cell!

 

However, pregnancy does come with its share of lows and highs and it can be hard for some women to accept the physical changes occurring in their body. But even then, pregnancy is something that you should enjoy and celebrate! Just think about all the amazing changes that are happening to your baby each day. Isn’t that beautiful?

 

You may find it difficult to cope with your new shape; but it has a purpose. It’s not because you’re not eating well or not having enough physical activities; it’s because of that new life growing inside you. Cherish it! You may also be blessed with several physical bonuses for bringing a new life into the world. You may experience lush hair, larger breasts, pinker nails, etc. while pregnant. And that special glow on your face…it will give out the good news even before you tell anyone that you’re pregnant.

 

Pregnancy is a gift for the womanhood and so, it’s our responsibility to take optimum care of our health to make sure the little life growing within us is healthy. It’s not the time to worry about the weights and shapes. For once, you do not have to fret over your hips getting wider or your thighs brushing against each other while walking. Even if this extra weight gain is not in your belly, it is there to nourish your baby! Eat well so that your baby gets all the nutrition that it requires to grow and develop into a healthy newborn.

 

It’s your responsibility that you prepare your body for the arrival of your baby by exercising in a proper way. Do practice the right physical activities to strengthen your pelvic floor so that your little one has no difficulty while coming out of your womb to enter the world.

 

Make sure you feel good and proud about yourself throughout the pregnancy and be happy and stress-free so that your baby is assured that everything is fine with her mother. For this; you will have to learn to tackle the symptoms you may develop during different trimesters of the pregnancy. Sex could be one of the best ways to reduce the stress levels. Practice safe sex and nurture your relationship with your partner who is soon going to be the dad of your baby. Educate him about the different aspects of pregnancy so that he is prepared to help you in every possible way.

 

Learn how to manage your career during pregnancy and after childbirth if you are working. Your baby is going to be proud of you when he or she sees you managing all her responsibilities successfully.

 

Keep yourself updated about what’s happening in the mom-to-be’s world and learn everything about pregnancy, labor and childcare so that you are prepared to become a hands-on supermom as soon as your baby arrives. Keep yourself abreast about the dos and don’ts, the myths and misconceptions and the effect of latest trends like tattooing on your pregnancy.

 

Pregnancy is the God’s way of saying the world should go on. It could be pretty awesome to know that inside your bump, there is a real, live baby! Nurture it within you, love it, love yourself and cherish this most beautiful moment in your life! And when your baby is born, shower him with lots and lots of love and affection. Give your baby a good nutrition, teach him the healthy habits, impart the right values and make him a good human being!

 


What You Need To Know When You're Expecting - The Complete Pregnancy Guide For M

Do You Want To Know What To Do To Prepare For A New Child? Dr. Jyothi Shenoy explains EXACTLY what you need to do, why you need to do it, and when you need to do it...all in an easy to understand, step-by-step fashion. Inside this complete pregnancy guide, you will learn: - The 11 most important facts about pregnancy that all mom's and dad's need to know - The top 10 pregnancy myths - The most recent developments in obstetrics that will save you time and energy - The physical symptoms you will experience and the solutions - Dangerous pregnancy symptoms that should not be ignored - Diet and nutrition tips for a pregnant woman - Guidelines for safe exercises during pregnancy - How to handle the emotional roller coaster during pregnancy - The most current lifestyle trends in the pregnancy world - What’s hot and what's not for sex during pregnancy - How to juggle a busy career with your pregnancy - Travel tips for pregnant women - What a man needs to know about pregnancy - Safe skin-care products during pregnancy - What clothes you should and shouldn't wear during pregnancy - The packing list for the hospital or birth center

  • Author: mattmorrissf
  • Published: 2016-07-22 21:50:11
  • Words: 19142
What You Need To Know When You're Expecting - The Complete Pregnancy Guide For M What You Need To Know When You're Expecting - The Complete Pregnancy Guide For M