Stages in Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an extremely exciting time and a wonderful opportunity to learn about your little one’s growth and development. But sometimes it can be very confusing when there is way too much information available in books, magazines or on the internet for that matter. It could be almost impossible for one to go through all the information before giving birth to their new born.

Therefore, we’ve collected all the pregnancy information that you would need, and also some information to keep you and your baby healthy, all in one place.

 

DUE DATES & TRIMESTER 

You must have noticed that after announcing your pregnancy, the first question that most people would have asked you is “When are you due?”

At your first prenatal visit, your doctor will help you calculate an expected delivery date (EDD). The average duration of pregnancy is 40 weeks or 280 days from the first day of your last normal menstrual period (LMP). All you’ve got to do is add nine months and seven days to that date and you would arrive at your due date or expected delivery date.

If your actual delivery date is the same as your EDD, then your baby is actually only about 38 weeks old. This is because your egg didn’t become fertilized until about 2 weeks after the start of your last menstrual period.

It’s also essential to keep in mind that your due date is only an estimate, most babies are born between 38 and 42 weeks from the first day of their mother’s LMP, and for a very small percentage of women the delivery date and the due date are the same.

Trimester is also a very common term that you would often hear during your pregnancy. A pregnancy is divided into 3 trimesters  primarily,

  • The first trimester is from week 1 to the end of week 12.
  • The second trimester is from week 13 to the end of week 26.
  • The third trimester is from week 27 to the end of the pregnancy.

 

TRIMESTER 1

Your Baby’s Development

The very first week is actually the week your Expected Delivery Date (EDD) is calculated from. This week is when you get your period and your EDD is calculated 40 weeks from the last day of your cycle. The second week is when the egg gets fertilized. It might sound strange but week 2 out of the 40 weeks is when you actually get pregnant. The baby’s gender is determined at the moment of fertilization. Every egg has an X chromosome; a sperm can have an X or a Y chromosome. It depends on the sperm that fertilizes the egg that has an X chromosome to determine whether the baby will be a girl or a boy. If the sperm and egg have the same chromosome then it will be a girl (XX), if it doesn’t, then a boy (XY).

For the third week, the embryo has started growing. And you may not feel it, there may be no apparent show of it but you have a healthy baby growing inside of you. The fertilized egg divides into two cells after about 30 hours of fertilization. The embryo becomes hollow and filled up with liquid. This is now known as a blastocyte which will attach itself to the uterine lining at the end of this week.

Four weeks in, the embryo will have two layers of cells – the epiblast and hypoblast – from which the organs start growing. Two other structures will develop during this period – the amnion and yolk sac. The amniotic fluid will help protect the embryo whereas the yolk sac will be providing blood and nutrition to the embryo till the placenta takes over.

It is around the fifth week that the baby’s body starts taking on a definite shape and form. An elongated tube called the Neutral Tube runs from the top to the bottom of the embryo. This later forms the spinal cord and brain. And around this time too, the placenta forms which helps nourishment from the mother reach her child. At about the sixth week, the baby’s heart will start beating. Your baby’s nose, eyes, chin and nervous system will now start forming.
Around the seventh week, your baby has become almost 10,000 times bigger than he/she was seven weeks ago! Hands, legs, arm are all forming slowly now.
The eighth week is when your baby’s fingers start forming along with the intestines. Around the ninth week, your baby’s head becomes more prominent. The reproductive as well as digestive system have been growing too. In addition, the tail at the end of your baby’s spine has almost disappeared.
By the tenth week, all of our baby’s vital organs would have developed too and chances of congenital defects will no longer remain. This signifies the end of the embryonic period and from next week, your baby will be considered an Embryo. Weeks eleven and twelve are for rapid development. Facial structures, toe nails and finger start taking better shape now. Bone development begin in week thirteen. The placenta has also formed completely by now.

 

Your Body

Your health habits and your baby’s health are interlinked when it comes to pregnancy. You need to take the time to prepare your body for motherhood, when you’re planning to have a baby. Before becoming pregnant, there are some precautions that you must take,

  • Drugs, alcohol and tobacco products are to be avoided completely.
  • Ensure that you plan a healthy diet with your doctor that comprises of all the vital nutrients essential to keep you and your baby healthy.
  • Talk to your doctor about the medicines you are taking on a regular basis.

Nourishment to the baby is provided by your uterine lining which is in the process of development. Your body secretes follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which stimulates the maturation of an egg. Folic acid and calcium are also extremely important for this will ensure that you don’t become anemic. Eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables to keep a good flow of blood in your system. Around week four and five, a lot of bodily changes will start occurring. For example, frequent urination, fatigue, tenderness in breasts, will have begun their effects. Food-borne illnesses can cause birth defects or even miscarriages so it is important to avoid certain foods. Below are some of the foods you should avoid,

  • Unpasteurized milk and juices
  • Soft cheeses
  • Raw or undercooked meats, including hot dogs and deli meats
  • Raw eggs or foods containing raw eggs and raw shellfish

Around week 6, all the common pregnancy symptoms are what you would be facing in full swing will come by: extreme fatigue, tender, aching breasts, a full-bladder, heartburn and indigestion, increased sense of smell, bloating, queasiness and vomiting (morning sickness).

Your cervix will also have been undergoing changes: you will have developed a mucous plug, which forms in the opening of the cervical canal and seals off the uterus for protection.You would notice these pregnancy symptoms too: bigger breasts, fatigue, food aversions. Prenatal care is a must so make sure you keep taking your supplements and stay hydrated throughout the day!Around week ten, a few more symptoms will arrive: increased vaginal discharge, excessive food craving, occasional headaches, occasional faintness or dizziness. Make sure you keep going for regular check-ups and that no disease is affecting you. And as your baby starts moving in your womb, morning sickness might take a toll on you and could also have you running to the bathroom too frequently.

When week eleven arrives, the doctor will go through your family’s medical history with you. This week, you can listen to your baby’s heartbeat. A lot of checks will be conducted to find out if you’re immune against a catalogue of diseases. Nourishing your baby usually requires that you gain weight, but that needs regulation which can only be achieved through regular check-ups and communication with your doctor about the kind of diet you have to follow, etc.

As week twelve arrives, so does that pregnancy glow everyone keeps talking about! The increased flow of blood gives you that nicely flushed complexion that everyone will gush about as “that pregnant glow”. Enjoy it! Sometimes an accumulation or excess of oil might lead to acne.

It is essential that you take the supplements your doctor has asked you to, in addition to eating a healthy diet.Now that your body has gotten used to one whole trimester, you would see a decrease in the level of fatigue, as your body has learnt how to adjust to pregnancy during the first trimester.

 

TRIMESTER 2

Your Baby’s Development

Your baby will now be sprouting hair all over his/her body which will stay until the time of delivery, called “lanugo”. The eyes and ears would now be moving into the correct position and baby will learn how to suck and swallow. The production of thyroid hormone would have begun because the genitals would also be in place by now.

The sense organs keep growing as the ears have moved to the side of the head and the eyes, to the front. Internally, baby’s skeletal and muscular systems keep on growing and developing. Your baby’s weight would have increased too and facial muscles would slowly start developing. The placenta is at a rapid growing rate to give your baby the required nourishment.

Ears move to their final position and hearing improves. Loud noises may even begin to startle her/him! The bones also begin to harden and some of the first bones that begin to harden are the collar bone and those in the legs.
In the last trimester, your baby’s skin was covered with a white wax like substance called vernixcaseosa. This week your baby will be covered with layers of brown fat, keeping the baby warm even after birth. To prevent from drying or chapping, the vernixcaseosa is still there protecting baby’s skin. Premature babies may be covered in this cheesy coating at delivery. Otherwise, during the last trimester more layers of fat would get added.

In the twenty first week of pregnancy, the baby’s intestines, which have developed considerably, start absorbing sugars from the amniotic fluid. These sugars are then swallowed and passed through the digestive system to the large bowel. However, the placenta still remains your baby’s major source of nourishment.

In the beginning, it was only the baby’s liver and spleen that was contributing to produce blood but now the bone marrow is involved too. With the passage of time, your baby develops taste buds and a sense of touch. This is also the time when your baby’s reproductive system develops. In boys, the testes descend from the abdomen whereas, in girls, the ovaries, fallopian tubes and vagina are formed.

This is when your baby’s muscles become more prominent as he/she starts moving their muscle almost regularly. Sometime during the 22nd or 23 rd week, preterm labor and delivery may occur, but with expert physician help, the baby will survive.

The placenta is the major source of oxygen for your baby until delivery after which their lungs start taking air on their own. To prepare for that, your baby’s lungs start to develop the ability to produce surfactant, a mixture of proteins and fat which is made in the baby’s lungs.
By now, your baby has also grown tremendously. Your baby’s vocal chords and nostrils are also developing.

The baby will start to open his eyes and blink. He/she will also start to develop eyelashes, and the hair on their head will grow too.The baby looks the same and still needs his vital organs like lungs and liver to properly develop; also his immune system needs to strengthen.

The hearing of your little one grows too. The baby will start recognising your and your partner’s voice even though the sounds will be a little suppressed as there is a coating of wax called vernix around your baby’s ears to protect the skin from being chapped by harmful fluids.

 

Your Body

Amniocentesis is a test done between 15 and 18 weeks to detect abnormalities in a foetus. If you’re older than 35 your doctor may discuss amniocentesis with you. Amniocentesis does carry risk of miscarriage, so speak to your doctor about your concerns and the risks and advantages of the test.

The start of the second trimester means less fatigue and more energy. Be sure to lap up on this.The changes in your body will become apparent in your teeth as well, with inflamed and aching gum also. Staying relaxed is vital and taking your nutrients and health boosts is vital too. This period stand for a lot of emotional bipolarity and being high on hormones. Hence, getting enough rest is extremely essential. One of the most highly recommended tests is the maternal blood screening test, also known as a “triple marker” test or “triple screen,” which measures the levels of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), a protein produced by the foetus, and the pregnancy hormones HCG and estriol in the mother’s blood. The results of these tests can tell to-be mothers if their children are at risk.

The hormonal change in your body will bring about a change in your breasts. They will grow bigger to accommodate your child. You will start showing soon and others might feel the urge to touch your belly. If you’re comfortable with them doing so, then it’s good, and if you’re not, then speak up, do not be shy, and tell them firmly.

Your uterus will be the size of a melon by now and your centre of gravity would have shifted greatly which would cause your lower back to arch forward. Your baby’s movements in your womb might cause some rumblings in your stomach. Mild swelling in ankles and feet, varicose veins, stretch marks, leg cramps, are also some of the common symptoms you could be faced with. Your baby’s movements begin within the first 18-20 weeks, and this early sign is called quickening. At this stage, sex is not harmful, and also it is very important to communicate with your partner about these things.

The movements might feel like butterflies or growling in your stomach. During the rest of the pregnancy term, you may even feel hiccups, kicks and punches! Babies are different in how much they move during their stay in the womb but if you should feel that the frequency of these movements have decreased or increased, consult your health provider.

Exercise is of utmost importance because it keeps you flexible and varicose veins, backache and many other ailments at bay. Low- or non-impact exercises such as yoga, swimming, and walking are highly recommended. As a precaution though, consult for medical help before beginning on an exercise routine.

During this stage of pregnancy your uterus starts practicing for delivery. You may feel irregular, painless contractions called Braxton Hicks contractions. These give a squeezing sensation in your abdomen. If the contractions become more intense, painful, or frequent, contact your doctor immediately as it may be a sign of preterm labor.

Be prepared as anxiety, frequent urination, heartburn, leg cramps, and general discomfort become a regular feature and might result in a short night’s sleep for you. However, your baby’s health and your own, depends on you getting adequate rest. A warm bath, soothing music, a relaxing book, or a cup of herbal tea are some of the ways that will help you relax and ease out.

During weeks 24 to 28 an important prenatal test, glucose screening is conducted. It checks for gestational diabetes, a temporary type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy and can cause problems in the newborn, such as low blood sugar. However, gestational diabetes can be controlled by eating a well-planned diet and getting regular exercise. In some cases, medication, such as daily insulin may also be required.

Reflux (also known as heartburn) is a common occurrence in pregnant women. The expanding uterus puts pressure on the valves; therefore it is important to consume small meals frequently as opposed to large meals. If the heartburn seems unbearable, visit your doctor and ask for a prescription of an antacid.

Since your body is a safe haven for your little one, once the baby is born you will have to learn the skills of proper motherhood. So sign yourself up for post natal classes on how to tackle pain, breastfeeding, formula feeding, baby proofing, etc. It will help you feel more confident about being a parent, especially if it’s your first time.

 

TRIMESTER 3

Your Baby’s Development

Your baby has now come into the breech position – the position in which he/she will be coming out i.e. head first. The body continues to grow while layers of fat continue to deposit.
Counting your baby’s kicks and keeping track of all the movement is a good idea around now. If your baby kicks more than 10 times in one hour, your baby’s movements are healthy. If this is not the case, you might want to contact your Health provider regarding this. To help your baby stay warm, fat will continue to grow around your baby. This will also make the baby look less wrinkly. The twitches in your stomach are happening because your baby is trying to breathe on its own by moving its diaphragm up and down. Your baby would be urinating into the amniotic fluid because of which, more frequent runs to the bathroom are guaranteed. If this is not the case, your baby might be having trouble with her/his kidneys. The lanugo hair has also almost fallen off and all body parts have formed. All vital organs and features of your baby have almost finished developing. Your baby can somewhat see, hear and feel and even experience some rapid eye movement and sleeps similar to a newborn. The baby will gain a considerable amount of weight during the final weeks. Baby’s lungs are also almost developed and matured.

Since your baby is still growing and there is no space for it to move around, its movements will decrease. If your baby is in a head first position then its head will rest on your pubic bone and would be prepared for labour. A phenomenon called molding occurs when the bones in your baby’s skull can move relative to one another and overlap each other while your baby’s head is inside your pelvis. This helps the baby pass through the birth canal. It might be surprising but your baby hasn’t stopped growing and he continues to fine-tune his brain and nervous system, getting ready to enter the world.

Waste material has been collecting in your baby’s intestines as it had to suck and swallow amniotic fluid. There would be a greenish-black substance, your baby’s first bowel movement. The reproductive organs of your baby would have been completely developed by now.

Sometimes the umbilical cords get tangled around the baby’s neck. A c- section is required then as the umbilical cords put pressure during the labor. The lanugo and the vernix that covered your baby’s skin has gone by this time.

Your due date is now almost here! And don’t worry if labor-day isn’t right on time, it’s always supposed to be an estimate. A baby born at 40 weeks weighs, on an average, about 3.17 kilograms, 3,300 grams and measures about 51 cm.

Now, your baby’s system, your baby’s genitals may appear enlarged because of your hormones in the baby’s system. Your baby may even secrete milk from the tiny nipples, be it a boy or a girl.Mucus will be suctioned out of your baby’s mouth and nose and you will hear the first cry. Your baby may then be placed on your stomach, and the umbilical cord will be cut. Apgar score, the very first test performed on your newborn, would assess your baby’s responsiveness and vital signs, and he or she will be weighed and measured.

 

Your Body

Blood tests are performed regularly during Pregnancy. Rh factor, a substance found in the red blood cells of most people, is measured when taking a blood test. Not having the same Rh factor as your baby can cause health problems later. A vaccine called Rh globulin taken at 28 weeks can protect you from this mishap.

Iron deficiency is something to be avoided at all costs. Also, constipation is common during pregnancy which is why eat lots of fibre rich foods. And don’t keep idle and exercise and drink lots of fluids to keep yourself hydrated.

Your breasts will start making colostrum which is the first milk produced by them. During routine check-ups, your doctor may look for signs of preeclampsia which could be rapid weight loss or swelling. This condition is serious and can be problematic in the latter half, for both the mother and the child. Do not be scared of coming labor pains. Techniques like pain-relief medications and epidurals, where doctors can give an anaesthetic by means of a soft, thin catheter that’s placed in your lower back, are there to help you. All you need to do is be informed so that you can choose what is the best option for you and your little one. This is not only important, but also a wonderful experience for you both.

Prenatal check-ups at this stage of pregnancy are of utmost importance. You may experience lightening in your stomach area, which happens when for the preparation for labor the baby drops into the mother’s pelvis. Your appetite will be back as there is no pressure on your stomach and intestines anymore.

You might have a certain kind of discharge from your body, pink- or brown-tinged mucus discharge which means that the blood vessels in the cervix are rupturing as the cervix dilates in preparation for labor and delivery.

Since your baby is resting on your pelvis there is more pressure on your bladder. Get ready for repeated trips to the loo. False labor pains might occur during this period. These contractions may be as painful, strong and real as actual labor is. You should be alert about the rupture of your amniotic sac. When your water breaks, some experience a rush of water and some only feel a trickle. Do visit your doctor/gynaecologist if you experience frequent contractions or pains.

If you don’t go into labor within a week of your due date, don’t worry. Your doctor may give you a non-stress test, which monitors foetal heart rate and movement. Discuss what happens and the possible outcomes of this test thoroughly with your doctor. Your doctor may also induce labor by artificially rupturing the membranes or by administering the hormone oxytocin or other medications. If you have already decided to deliver via caesarean section and scheduled your baby’s “birthday” in advance, then it is easier to be emotionally and mentally prepared for the procedure. An unplanned caesarean should be no cause for disappointment or worry as long as you have a healthy baby!

Cherish this beautiful moment and congratulations on your motherhood!

For more pregnancy tips including great recipes for your pregnancy diet and other quality products for motherhood, check out the rest of the site. Also, have a look at our pregnancy test calculator, the ovulation calculator and the conception calculator to have a proper grasp of your pregnancy.

Stress & Pregnancy

One of the most important pregnancy tips anyone can give a pregnant lady is how to deal with stress. Stress has become a part of everyone’s lives, but it should not be dealt with casually during pregnancy. It can be extremely harmful for you and your baby, if not taken care.

SIDE EFFECTS OF STRESS DURING PREGNANCY

  • Very high levels of stress can either lead to an increased risk of premature delivery or babies with low weight.
  • Stress also leads to the increase in heart rate, blood pressure and chronic anxiety, which is neither good for the health of the mother nor the baby.
  • Stress also leads to hormonal imbalances and anxiety.

TIPS TO MANAGE STRESS DURING PREGNANCY

  • Eating well will provide you with the energy you need throughout the day.
  • You are more likely to be stressed if you are not getting the right sleep. Also to prevent heartburns, avoid eating at least one hour before going to bed.
  • Exercise is an ideal way that makes you feel more energetic to take up the daily challenges. Exercising after work at the end of the day will help you to relax and unwind.
  • You can try some natural stress reduction techniques like biofeedback, yoga or meditation.
  • Communicating regularly with your family and friends would comfort and ease you at times of high stress.
  • If the work is getting very stressful then it is time to cut back on it.
  • Talk to your partner about your fears about then sort them out. Do not keep your anxieties holed up inside. Discuss your fears about the pregnancy with your gynaecologist so that you are informed of what to expect and how to go about things.

For more tips and information that’ll help you during your pregnancy, check out the rest of our site.

Maternity Dresses

While your life will change when your pregnancy test reveals you’re about to be a mother, it doesn’t mean that everything has to change.Women and fashion are inseparable, and women’s clothing is getting even more innovative with each passing year. An interesting aspect about women’s apparel lies in the various trendsetting designs available for maternity clothes. Well, pregnancy is not about ditching all your fashionable threads to the back of the closet. Pregnancy does not mean draping yourself with endless fabrics. A woman can also look sensuous in chic maternity clothes.

 

FASHION TIPS FOR MATERNITY CLOTHES

  • Comfort is the prime concern during pregnancy and Maxi dresses are a great option for women who wish to remain comfortable during any outing. Such long flowing dresses come in various silhouettes. Choosing smaller prints and designs can draw attention away from the stomach area. You can look for a beautifully designed neckline or hemlines. Solid colored maxi dresses also make a strong style statement.
  • Trendy maternity clothing can also include tunics that can be worn over jeans. Choose tunics in stretchable fabric that hugs your figure. A snug fit is snazzier as compared to wearing oversized clothing. Look for interesting elements such as ruffled sleeves or asymmetrical edges. These emphasize other areas of your body and basically have a slimming effect visually. Tunics that have gathers on the side and stretch over the tummy area can make any mommy-in-the-making feel and look attractive.
  • Jeans can be a part of your wardrobe even as maternity wear. Women who feel jeans are their second skin can opt for branded denim wear that caters particularly for pregnant women. Such jeans have waistbands that stretch and can be used for initial months during pregnancy. Pair them with interesting tunics and you shall be dressed to kill!

For more pregnancy tips and information including delicious recipes for your pregnant diet check out the rest of our site.

Understanding Ovulation

Many couples tend to make love and are disappointed when their pregnancy test comes negative. While fingers can be pointed to the state of sex education in the country, as adults we should have a proper understanding of the human body works.

 

WHAT IS OVULATION?
Ovulation is when a mature egg is released from the ovary, pushed down the fallopian tube, and is available to be fertilized. Approximately every month an egg will mature within one of your ovaries. As it reaches maturity, the egg is released by the ovary where it enters the fallopian tube to make its way towards waiting sperm and the uterus.
The lining of the uterus has thickened to prepare for the fertilized egg. If no conception occurs, the uterine lining, as well as blood, will be shed. The shedding of an unfertilized egg and the uterine wall is the time of menstruation.

 

SOME KEY FACTS ABOUT OVULATION 

  • An egg lives 12-24 hours, after leaving the ovary.
  • Normally only one egg is released each time of ovulation.
  • Ovulation can be affected by stress, illness or disruption of normal routines.
  • Some women may experience some light blood or spotting during ovulation.
  • Implantation of a fertilized egg normally takes place 6-12 days after ovulation.
  • Each woman is born with millions of immature eggs that are awaiting ovulation to begin.
  • A menstrual period can occur even if ovulation has not occurred.
  • Ovulation can occur even if a menstrual period has not occurred.
  • Some women can feel a bit of pain or aching near the ovaries during ovulation called mittelschmerz, which means “middle pain” in German.
  • If an egg is not fertilized, it disintegrates and is absorbed into the uterine lining.

Don’t forget to check out our ovulation calculator to get a proper idea of when you’re ovulating next. And when it’s the time to check for pregnancy, try out the Prega News Advance pregnancy kit.

Pregnancy Discomforts

When your pregnancy test reads positive, a wonderful journey begins. But like any memorable adventure, begin pregnant also has it’s share of problems. This could be anything that makes you feel uncomfortable while you’re pregnant, including fatigue, morning sickness or even foods that make you feel nauseated. What causes these discomforts during pregnancy, though? This frequently asked question has been answered below for you.

1. NAUSEA ( morning sickness)
One of the first signs of pregnancy is morning sickness/nausea which starts around your 6th week of pregnancy and for most women it stops around the 12th week of pregnancy. It happens mostly in the 1st trimester of being pregnant. It is not exactly “morning sickness” and can occur at any time of the day.

Nausea happens due to the changing hormones in one’s body. Doctors are of the opinion that nausea is a good sign and it signals the good health of the baby.

Tips To Avoid Nausea

  • Have small meals multiple times a day as opposed to few large meals a day.
  • Hunger pangs could trigger nausea, so avoid staying empty stomach and try to start eating before you feel hungry, or immediately after you feel an urge for food.
  • Avoid specific types of foods like spicy and/or fatty foods. Avoid caffeine as well.
  • Avoid overeating. Eat until you are satisfied, then wait until the urge for food returns before you continue eating.
  • Fluids can be drunk 1/2 an hour before or after meals, but not with food.
  • Small amounts of fluid to be drunk throughout the day to avoid dehydration.
  • A minimum of 8 hours of sleep per night is advised and ensure that you rest whenever you feel tired, as when your body is weakened due to exhaustion you are more likely to feel nauseous.
  • Don’t lie down immediately after eating.
  • Start your day with light biscuits/crackers first thing in the morning.
  • Keep a stock of crackers and healthy snacks handy at work, in the car, in your handbag, near your bedside table so that you can easily grab these as and when you need them.
  • Avoid any food that might increase your nausea.
  • Avoid strong fumes and strong smells. Open the windows or turn on the fans if the smell bothers you. Have someone else cook for you. Turn on the exhaust fan in the kitchen while food is being cooked.
  • Plenty of rest is advised.
  • Avoid very warm places (feeling hot can worsen nausea).
  • Get plenty of fresh air. Avoid stuffy places.
  • Use a lot of ginger and lemon in drinks or food. For example, drink fresh “nimbu pani” or lemonade.
  • Exercise / Go for walks.

2. ACHES & PAINS
Backaches, abdominal cramps, headaches and other aches and pains are fairly common problems faced by a lot of women during pregnancy. The main causes for these are,

  • Increased weight during pregnancy which causes strain in the back.
  • You may even feel stretching or pain in your lower belly, usually on one side or the other. This is because of the stretching of the ligaments and muscles around your uterus. This usually happens between 18 and 24 weeks. When you feel pain or stretching, move a little slowly or change positions.
  • As the baby grows and the uterus expands, women might get pain in the pelvic area (nerves can get pinched, etc.)
  • Because of hormonal changes your joints get looser–in a way preparing for childbirth. They are not as strong and this causes frequent aches and pains.
  • Avoid standing in one position for too long. Keep moving around to continue circulation.
  • Avoid high-heeled shoes as they may cause backache.
  • Try sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs.
  • Ensure you sit in a comfortable chair that supports your back well Avoid standing for too long.
  • Don’t lift heavy objects Do exercises that your doctor advises.
  • Get adequate rest and sleep. Make sure you take short naps to help your back If the pain is unbearable and coming in the way of your being healthy, check with your doctor for which medicines might be safe to take.
  • Ask your doctor for some back support bandage.
  • Do continue with exercise (as long the pain is mild) to strengthen your muscles. This will help in preventing/reducing backaches and other aches.

3. BREAST CHANGES
Breasts start changing from the first few weeks of pregnancy. It is because your breasts are starting to prepare for breastfeeding right from the start. They may become heavy and full, swell up and make you feel uncomfortable. Your breasts will start getting bigger in size as the months progress, in preparation for breastfeeding, and may feel full, heavy, or tender.

In the third trimester, some pregnant ladies may begin to leak colostrum from their breasts. Colostrum is the first milk that your breasts produce for the baby. It is a thick, yellowish fluid containing antibodies that will protect your new born from infection. If leaking becomes embarrassing, cotton pads can be put inside to help soak in the colostrum.

Tips to avoid discomfort while your body is undergoing these changes

  • Wear a good supportive bra. A sports bra is almost always helpful in lessening discomfort in your breasts. You can wear the same bra later while nursing.
  • Add pads in your bra to absorb the leakage of colostrum.
  • Wash your nipples with warm water and not soap, since soap tends to make them itchy and dry.
  • Applying lotion also brings more comfort.

4. DIZZINESS
Dizziness is another common problem faced by pregnant ladies. It is the feeling that you get of things around you spinning, like you’re about to lose your balance and fall.

During the first trimester, there is not enough blood to fill one’s expanding blood vessels and this causes lesser blood to reach one’s brain cells. This in turn causes dizziness. In the second and third trimesters, the expanding uterus can put pressure on the blood vessels and make you feel dizzy. Later, you may become dizzy while lying on your back because the uterus that is expanding might press on a vein carrying blood from the lower part of your body to the heart. Low blood sugar due to changing metabolism may also cause dizziness. In such a case, constant snacking helps.

Tips to tackle dizziness

  • Sitting or standing should be done gradually. The blood gets shifted away from your brain as you change positions suddenly during pregnancy.
  • When you’re feeling dizzy, lying down on your left side increases blood flow and makes the dizziness stop.Avoid lying on your back for a long time.
  • Avoid sitting or standing in one position for a long time. Keep moving to increase circulation.
  • Keep snacking frequently on healthy food.
  • Drink a lot of water and stay hydrated.
  • Keep your feet elevated.
  • Avoid stuffy places. Keep your room well ventilated.
  • Avoid strong fumes.

If you faint or have persistent dizziness, advise your doctor as soon as possible.

5.HAEMORRHOIDS
Bulging or swollen veins in the rectum are called haemorrhoids. They can cause itching, bleeding and even pain. About one third of women get haemorrhoids after childbirth because of the straining involved in labour.

  • Causes of Haemorrhoids
    In pregnancy, haemorrhoids are caused by the growing uterus that puts pressure on the pelvic veins and the inferior vena cava (a large vein on the right side of the body that receives blood from the lower limbs). This can in turn slow the return of blood from the lower half of your body, which increases the pressure on the veins below your uterus and causes them to become more dilated or swollen.
  • Constipation is another common problem that can both cause and worsen haemorrhoids.
  • Many women get haemorrhoids only after childbirth because of the straining involved in labour. The straining during labour can further aggravate hemorrhoids in women who had them during pregnancy as well.

Tips to prevent and relieve haemorrhoids

  • Drink lots of fluids.
  • Eat plenty of fiber-rich foods like whole grains, raw or cooked leafy green vegetables, and fruits.
  • Take steps to avoid constipation. Eat a high-fiber diet (plenty of whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables), drink plenty of water (eight to ten glasses a day), and get regular exercise, even if you only have time for a short, brisk walk. If you’re constipated, ask your practitioner about using a fiber supplement or stool softener.
  • Strain during bowel movements to be avoided.
  • Your doctor must be consulted before taking any laxative.
  • Ensure you advise your doctor in case of any rectal bleeding as well.
  • Talk to your doctor about ice packs or topical medicines that you can apply to soothe haemorrhoids.

6. SPOTTING
Spotting is light discharge of blood from your vagina. It’s similar to a period, but much lighter. The colour of the blood can be anything from red to brown. Be rest assured as in the early weeks of pregnancy, a little spotting is something that is very common. Around one in five expecting mothers with a continuing pregnancy have some sort of bleeding in the first trimester.

Sometimes, though, spotting can also be a sign of something more serious, such as a miscarriage. Hence, it’s always best to discuss the exact symptoms with your doctor.

7. CONSTIPATION
Constipation is a common problem among pregnant women. High level of hormones in your body may leave you stuck with slow digestion and constipated. In the last two trimesters, the expanding uterus has a tough time coping with constipation.

Tips to avoid constipation

  • Eat fiber-rich foods like fruits and vegetables and lots of lentils or dals daily.
  • Drink eight to ten glasses of water everyday.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea, colas, and some other sodas), since caffeine makes your body lose fluid needed for regular bowel movements.
  • Get moving. Mild exercise like walking may also ease constipation.

8. HEARTBURN OR ACIDITY
Heartburn is when you get a burning sensation at the top of your stomach, and this is a problem prevalent in most pregnant women. Not staying true to the term, heartburn actually occurs over the stomach, where the food pipe is located and not in the heart.

Causes of heartburn

  • Pregnancy slows down digestion. So food goes more slowly down the digestive tract. The valve that separates the food pipe and the stomach becomes slow in responding so if you eat a big meal, the acids from the food get digested slowly. This in turn leads to heartburn.
  • Later in the pregnancy, an expanding uterus puts pressure on the food pipe and causes heartburn and bloating.

Tips to avoid heartburn

  • Small meals frequently instead of a few big ones
  • Eating slowly and not merely gulping everything down
  • Avoid spicy and fried foods
  • The best home remedy – sip some cold milk (this will soothe your digestive tract) Consult your doctor for some antacid medicine

9. STRETCH MARKS
Stretch marks are as common as a tan in summer, among pregnant women. The colour of stretch marks varies according to the tone of your skin. These start occurring in the second trimester because the body grows faster than your skin can keep up with.

Stretch marks occur usually on the abdomen but you can also get them on your thighs, buttocks and the breasts. After pregnancy, stretch marks still remain, although they fade. Stretch marks do not hurt but they itch when dry. Massaging with a good lotion helps in lessening the scratching and irritation.
What can be done about stretch marks:

  • A healthy, well balanced meal is necessary in helping the skin stretch and then gain back its elasticity too, after pregnancy.
  • Lots of water is important to boost the skin’s elasticity as well.
  • Many Indian women are often advised that to be rid of post-pregnancy stretch marks, it is often good to massage one’s skin.

10. OTHER CHANGES
There are many skin changes that occur during pregnancy due to changing hormones. Here are some of them.

  • Darker nipples starting from the beginning of pregnancy. This is to help your baby locate your nipples. The body starts preparing early on for the little practicalities of pregnancy.
  • A dark line (called the linea nigra) comes up from the navel to the center of the pubic bone.
  • Melasma or brown spots is caused by pigmentation on the skin. These occur more among dark skinned women.
  • Acne is another problem that is faced by women during the course of their pregnancy. Don’t fret, the pimples will subside shortly after delivery. Avoid abrasive scrubs or exfoliants; these could be harsh for the pregnant skin which is too sensitive.
  • Most of these skin changes are temporary and will only stay until pregnancy. So if you are worried about permanent damage, you can absolutely be relaxed now.

11. SLEEPING PROBLEMS 
Catching up on sleep is one of the main concerns when pregnant, since discomforts lead to disturbed sleep. Especially in the first trimester, more sleep is longed for since you feel more tired. Make sure you get adequate sleep. After all, you are supporting another human being within you. Frequent trips to the bathroom are also expected. The second trimester happens to be your “Honeymoon phase”. Women are very energetic in this phase and have mostly no trouble sleeping. So be sure to make the most of this stage.

It’s not easy to sleep in the third trimester. Here are some problems.

  • The largeness of the abdomen may make it difficult to sleep at night. Many women find that sleeping with a pillow between their legs helps a lot.
  • Leg cramps are a frequent complaint. Calcium supplements takes care of that.
  • The baby’s movements may keep you awake at night but this is a good thing if the baby is moving. Nothing can be done about this.
  • Heartburn can keep many women up at night.
  • If not actual nausea, then the fear of getting nauseous could also make you stay up all night in tension. Remember, this is the time when you need to be your calmest and not worry.
  • And on top of all this, you will need to go to the bathroom very often. Your growing baby will put pressure on your urinary bladder and make you feel like going to the bathroom frequently. There is not much you can do about this also.

You need to take care of not only yourself, but the life that is going to be born within you as well. You need to sleep well and ensure that you are well rested before childbirth. What you need to learn is to make the most of the sleep you can get despite disturbances. Your sleep cycle would change massively and you would need to sleep and wake up and do whatever it is you need to (go to the bathroom, wake up to your crying baby after childbirth, etc.) and then go right back to sleep. It comes naturally after some time. But there are some steps that you can take to get your sleep.

Tips that can help you sleep better

  • Avoid eating a large meal before your sleep. You might get indigestion or heartburn.
  • Women find it uncomfortable to sleep with a large abdomen. Many women find that sleeping on your side, with your legs crossed and a pillow between the legs very comfortable. Many doctors say that the ideal side to sleep on is the left side. This increases the blood supply to the baby.
  • Stay calm at all times and do not think too much. Be positive and relaxed.
  • Do not have any coffee or caffeine rich foods (chocolates etc.) before bed. These will keep you awake. This is all the more reason for you to limit your caffeine intake.
  • Yoga, pranayam (yogic breathing exercises) and meditation can help a lot. Do not start any new yoga exercises. But if you have been doing yoga earlier, you could continue after checking with your doctor. Meditation is safe, a great way to relax and helps you to sleep better.
  • During the day, get fresh air and get some exercise. Walking outside is a great exercise during pregnancy.
  • Stay organized during the daytime (Keeping up to date with tests and doctor appointments, preparing for the baby) will reduce your anxiety. This way you can reduce your chances of sleepless nights full of anxiety.
  • Staying active and keeping your mind occupied will also help you sleep well.
  • Take short naps during the day. But do not overdo it because then you might not sleep well during the night.

12. LEG CRAMPS 
You could have painful spasms called cramps in your legs or feet, mainly in your second and third trimesters. Cramps occur mainly at night. Leg cramps may be caused by fluid accumulation, the additional weight gain of pregnancy and changes in your circulation. The growing uterus may also put pressure on your nerves and blood vessels causing cramps.

It is also believed that leg cramps could be caused by a calcium deficiency. This is because of a change in the way your body processes calcium during pregnancy. There is no conclusive medical research on this, but meanwhile it is best to ensure that you are taking adequate calcium – it can only help in your pregnancy. Do consult your doctor about this.

Tips to prevent / ease leg cramps

  • Drink lots of water and fluids to keep circulation going (remember tea and coffee do not count).
  • Get regular mild exercise, like walking.
  • Gently stretch your leg muscles. If you have a sudden leg cramp, straighten your legs and flex your ankle and toes gently up towards your face. Doing this a few times before sleeping, can help prevent these at night.
  • Ask your doctor for other simple stretching exercises to ease cramps.
  • Keep your legs warm at night.
  • When you get leg cramps, massage your legs and use some heat – for example apply a hot water bottle or a wet warm towel.
  • Many find taking a warm bath before going to bed very helpful.
  • Eat calcium rich foods like milk, curds etc.
  • Ask your doctor if you need calcium or other supplements.

13. NASAL PROBLEMS 
Stuffiness and nose bleeding are seen commonly in pregnant women. The reason for their occurrence can be attributed to the increased amount of blood in your body and pregnancy hormones irritating the lining of your nose. The best way to stop nosebleeds is by pinching your nose, that is, squeezing your nose between your thumb and finger for a few minutes. If you are bleeding from the nose for a long time or have frequent nosebleeds, have a word with your doctor. Drinking extra water and keeping your room humid during dry weather may help relieve nasal stuffiness. You can keep your room humid by getting a cool mist humidifier or keeping a wide utensil full of water in your room.

14. FALLING SHORT OF BREATH
As the baby grows, your expanding uterus will put pressure on your lungs and you will feel uneasy and short of breath. This is absolutely normal. It is in the third trimester when the baby really grows that you will experience the maximum shortness of breath.

Tips to ease breathing

  • Go about everything slowly and avoid rushing.
  • Stay calm. Do not panic.
  • Take deep breaths frequently.
  • Get lots of fresh air.
  • Do mild exercise like walking.
  • Maintain good posture (walk erect instead of bending. This will expand your lungs and maximize oxygen flow in your lungs).
  • Sleep on your side, do not sleep on your back. This would help you to breathe better. Many women keep a pillow between their legs to sleep on their sides.

15. SWELLING
There are various factors that contribute to the swelling on the feet and the ankles, during pregnancy. Your growing uterus puts pressure on your veins, which stops return of blood to your heart. This can lead to swelling in the legs, ankles and feet. Hormonal changes could also play an essential role.

Tips for reducing swelling

  • Drink 8 to 10 (eight-ounce) glasses of fluids (water is best) daily.Avoid caffeine.
  • Try to avoid very salty food (pickles etc. as well)
  • Include physical activity in your daily routine.
  • Try to sleep on your left side with your legs elevated on the pillow.
  • Rest when you can with your feet elevated.

16. VARICOSE VEINS
Varicose veins are twisted, enlarged veins near the surface of the skin. They most commonly develop in the legs and ankles. They are bulging and are dark blue in color.

The amount of blood in your body increases during pregnancy. The veins then enlarge and the pressure on the large veins behind the uterus can cause the blood to slow in its return to the heart. For these reasons, varicose veins in the legs and anus (hemorrhoids) are more common in pregnancy.
The following tips can help reduce chances of varicose veins,

  • Avoid tight socks.
  • Sit with your legs and feet elevated whenever possible.

17. FEELING WARMER THAN USUAL
During pregnancy, your BBT (basal body temperature) is higher than before because of hormonal changes (the increase in progesterone) and this causes you to feel warm. This is normal. Here are some tips to feel better,

  • Wear cool and airy clothes.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Avoid warm and stuffy places.
  • In winters, maintain a balance in temperature to avoid catching a cold.

A good practice would be to chart your body temperatures which could also reveal weakened hormones or other health concerns, affecting your fertility and the length of your cycles.

18. THIN WHITE VAGINAL DISCHARGE DURING PREGNANCY 
Hormonal fluctuations (increase and decrease) during pregnancy can cause a vaginal discharge which is white in color. This is usually mild in smell and very normal. It starts around the second trimester and lasts till the end of pregnancy. Some tips in dealing with this are,

  • Wear a thin sanitary napkin (do not use tampons during pregnancy).
  • Keep yourself (especially the privates) clean and wash often.
  • Avoid synthetic underwear. Stick to cotton underwear.

In case the discharge becomes yellowish or greenish or foul smelling and you start getting red and itchy, get in touch with your doctor, as it could be a urinary infection.

19. WHEN TO CONSULT WITH THE DOCTOR?
Your body undergoes in numerous changes during pregnancy, ranging from usual discomforts (such as nausea) to other, more serious discomforts. If you see any of the following symptoms, it is probably dangerous for you and your baby and it’s advised to consult your doctor for the same.

So, call your doctor as soon as you can if you,

  • Are bleeding from the vagina.
  • Leaking fluid (could be amniotic fluid) from the vagina.
  • Suspect your baby is moving less than normally after 28 weeks of pregnancy (if you count less than 10 movements in 2 hours or less).
  • Have discomfort, pain or cramping in the lower abdomen.
  • Have a fever or chills. get severe or long-lasting headaches.
  • Have sudden or severe swelling in the face, hands, or fingers.
  • Are vomiting excessively or have persistent nausea.
  • Feel discomfort, pain or burning with urination.
  • Have problems seeing or blurred vision.
  • Feel dizzy or have fainted before.
  • Sense a change in your baby’s movement.
  • Find yellowish, greening or foul-smelling vaginal discharge.

Always remember, prevention is better than cure. So, when in doubt, don’t forget to call your doctor.

Have a look at the rest of our site to get more tips and information on motherhood. You’ll also find amazing recipes for your pregnancy diet and a video of Shilpa Shetty talking about her pregnancy.

Pregnancy for Working Women

There are many mind-boggling questions that a working woman whose pregnancy kit has just turned positive, is faced with. It could vary from the very basic questions like ‘What if my job requires extensive traveling during pregnancy?’, ‘Should I be traveling at all during pregnancy?’, ‘When would be the right time to announce the news to my boss?’, ‘How would people at work react to it?’, ‘What all changes would I have to make to my work life?’, ‘Will I be able to work after the birth of my child?’, ‘How will I feed my baby considering my hectic work schedule?’, and the list goes on.

Sometimes, being pregnant could feel like a full-time job. This could be a problem when you already have a full-time job, especially one that requires you to be at your desk at all times, not at the doctor’s, or an essential part of your job requires you to be amicable and patient with your clients at all times.

There are way too many questions which would confuse your mind, and that’s perfectly normal. Don’t get bogged down if these questions keep popping up in your mind every now and then. But try staying calm at all times. Working women often find it a little difficult to handle not only their personal, but also their professional lives and fulfill the responsibilities both demand, after getting pregnant. But pregnancy does not mean giving up your job. You need to plan, prioritize and balance everything very carefully in both, your professional as well as personal life.

Here are a few pregnancy tips for working mothers.

BREAKING THE NEWS AT WORK

The first most significant point in a working woman’s pregnancy is breaking the news to her boss. Deciding when to tell your boss might make you feel anxious and biting your nails over possible pregnancy notions. For example, for some women, their co-workers start behaving differently around them the minute they know why they’ve been sick or tired lately. Hiding pregnancy symptoms at work is hard and it is best that you let your boss know as soon as you yourself are sure.

Some women wait to share the news till the first trimester is over. It is completely upto you when you want to divulge this information.

There might be co-workers at your workplace who have been pregnant. You could seek them out if you are feeling hesitant about talking to your boss. Getting tips from experienced mothers would give you the go-ahead and push to be more confident! Their advice might include thoughts on,

  • The kind of response they got when they broke the news to their boss.
  • If there was any change in the boss’ behavior towards them – whether discriminatory or not?
  • How did they cope with the fatigue, sickness, mood swings and general exhaustion of the mind, at work?
    Was getting a maternity leave problematic?
  • Some bosses are rather generous and understanding towards their employee’s pregnancy and love to make things easier for them. While some are not as forthcoming in their understanding and can even be openly dismissive or rude about the pregnancy hampering productivity.
  • In such cases, talk to your boss and tell them that strenuous activities or a very heavy workload is not advisable for you for a couple of months. Such requests to make them understand your situation could be attempted and you should not feel intimidated or fearful about speaking up.

WORKING DURING YOUR PREGNANCY

  • A healthy pregnant woman with no early complications can work until the very last days of her pregnancy. The main concerns would be how to deal with the onset of pregnancy characteristics. Being comfortable on the job is extremely essential. Here are a few helpful tips for you,
  • Plenty of fluids are advised. Even though you might be hitting the washroom more often than before, it is important to stay hydrated.
  • Some foods will be to be done away with when they start stirring up nausea. Whether it’s coffee or the aroma of fried chicken or the taste of lettuce, if there is a food item that is giving you an urge to vomit, steer clear.
  • Eating small meals throughout the day will keep you up and active. Foods like nuts and fruits are healthy, full of nutritious value and also keep serving you with a constant supply of energy. Tea, juices and ginger ale as well as other fresh beverages are good for you too.
  • Take a break every now and then if it’s a sedentary job, to move your legs or breathe in some fresh air.
  • Go to bed early during this period so you can wake up fresh faced and invigorated the next day!
  • Keep up with your daily exercise routine. Hefty and strenuous exercises are advised against and a light workout schedule is more essential and energy-giving too.
  • Wear comfortable clothing that isn’t tight or obstructing your movements in any way. Light, loose clothing is the way to go. Clothes that have been made specially to accommodate you during pregnancy are another excellent option. Shoes that support your heel and girth all the way are a must.
  • Take small power naps at regular intervals to internally rejuvenate your system.
    Keep emergency number on your desk and in your bag as a precautionary measure.
  • Health supplements are not to be taken without your health provider’s advice. Anything you consume now is not only affecting your health, but also that of your child. Do not start taking medicines or supplements that aren’t verified by your doctor especially during this period.
  • Take an occasional sick leave or so to charge up your batteries and rest your body a while. You might be thinking of saving up on those leaves for after when the baby is born but a holiday from work is good for your body.
  • Managing morning sickness and fatigue at work: Morning sickness is probably the most prominent symptom of a woman being pregnant. Managing this problem is not too hard. You can keep plastic and paper bags around as well as citric scents that can keep the nausea at bay.
  • Missing meals is something that encourages the nausea so that you feel sicker than you did in the first place. Protein rich foods have been found to alleviate general nausea considerably.
  • Staying in a cool environment also helps. Don’t expose yourself to too much heat as it will increase feelings of nausea.
    Eat slowly as it helps in feeling less uneasy. Also, try and take naps in between.

RIGHTS YOU MUST BE AWARE OF 

In any job that you are involved in, you are entitled to a certain period of maternity leave. The Government of India has provided their citizens with the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961 which states that,

  • Any pregnant woman is entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave. The usual way is six weeks before and six weeks after giving birth. But it is your decision when you want to avail these weeks. Generally, women take two weeks off before delivery and the rest of the eight weeks are spent nursing their child after delivery.
  • In any case, any employer is bound to provide their employees with payment of maternity benefit as long as they have been working for more than eighty (80) days under the same establishment. This maternity benefit counts for their days of ‘actual leave’, i.e., from the day of their delivery until the last day of leave.
  • Every pregnant woman is also entitled to a ‘medical bonus’ from her employee if no sort of pre or post natal care has been provided to the same.
    The employer is also to make sure that a new mother is also not to carry out strenuous work or work that might include standing for long hours that could hurt her in any way.

If you are laid off from work for reasons related to your pregnancy, you can file a case in the Industrial and Labor Court, under the Maternity Benefits Act. The court would then initiate legal action against your employer. So, do not be afraid in availing the benefits that motherhood rightfully brings.

 

IS YOUR JOB HAZARDOUS TO YOUR BABY?

  • Work that requires long hours of standing: Studies have found that long hours of standing during the last half of your pregnancy can disrupt the blood flow. Too much standing on your job might increase the risk of the woman developing high blood pressure, as well as the risk of premature birth. Hence, the best option for women in high-risk pregnancies, who work more than four hours a day on their feet, are advised to switch to a desk job or quit by their 6th month. (Women who feel comfortable and healthy on the job and have no medical problems, could continue working.)
  • Jobs that involve toxic chemicals: There is a long list of jobs that involve dangerous substances. Examine your work and try to replace dangerous materials with safe ones. You can avoid the toxic aspects of your work by requesting for reassignment or protect yourself by wearing a facemask and using better ventilation. No matter what you do, be sure you consult your doctor about your job and the hazards of toxic exposure.
  • Jobs involving physical strength: If your job requires lifting, pushing, bending, and loading materials all day, you should avoid doing it during your pregnant days.

For more pregnancy tips from delicious recipes for your pregnancy diet to using the pregnancy kit properly, check out the rest of our site.

Eating Healthy: Recipes

Eating well is essential because intake of food must match the requirements of your and your baby’s body.

During this period a lady must eat for two. The first trimester and the last trimester of pregnancy are very important as most of the physical and mental growth of the baby takes place during this period.

Your pregnancy diet should be made keeping in mind the requirements of your and your baby’s body. The pregnancy diet should consist of a variety of foods selected from the five basic food groups. It should include fresh fruits and vegetables; whole grain products; meat or fish or other protein alternatives, milk and other dairy products etc.

Spicy food, sodas, canned, processed foods must be avoided and salt intake must be drastically reduced. Also, avoid tea, hot chocolate, coffee and any sugary eatables like cakes.

Try to have three meals in a day. You can even have six smaller meals if you suffer from disorders like nausea or acidity. Besides the natural diet, prenatal vitamins especially iron, calcium, folic acid are often prescribed routinely throughout the pregnancy by the doctor.

Some of the essential nutrients are,

  • Folic acid: Folic acid is the most vital nutrient for pregnant women as it helps in the development of the baby’s nervous system, particularly in the first few weeks. Folic acid is vitamin B which prevents baby from neural tube defects (the spine, brain, or their covering defects) and other birth defects like cleft lip and congenital heart disease. Folic acid is found in dark-green leafy vegetables like spinach, liver, yeast, beans, citrus fruits, fortified cereals and bread. These foods should be steamed or eaten raw as the content of folic acid is lost by cooking. Iron: Iron is needed to fuel haemoglobin production and deficiency of iron can lead to anaemia. Get your haemoglobin regularly checked by your gynaecologist. You can help prevent anaemia by eating more iron-rich foods like potatoes, raisins, dates, broccoli, leafy green vegetables, whole-grain breads and iron-fortified cereals.
  • Calcium: The baby’s bones and teeth start growing in the eighth week; hence intake of calcium needs to be doubled. Green leafy vegetables and dairy products are a good source of calcium. The recommended calcium requirement during pregnancy and breast feeding increases significantly by 800-1200 mg. Protein: Protein rich food must be consumed during pregnancy. Vitamin B6 must be included in the diet. Fish, meat, nuts, peas, beans and dairy foods such as milk and egg supply contain adequate amount of protein. Animal sources are high in fat, so limit your intake of these. Vitamin C: It helps in building strong placenta, which enables your body to fight infection along with the absorption of iron. Food loses vitamin C when stored and cooked long, so eat fresh cooked or steamed green vegetables or eat them raw. Foods rich in Vitamin C include papayas, strawberries, bell peppers, oranges, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, to name a few.
  • Water: Water consumption is extremely vital as water carries the nutrients from the food you eat to the baby. It also helps in preventing constipation, excessive swelling, and urinary tract or bladder infections. Most importantly, it prevents expecting mothers from dehydration, which can lead to contractions or premature delivery or early labour. Pregnant women should drink at least six to eight glasses of water every day. Fiber: Fiber prevents constipation and piles which are common during pregnancy. Fruits and vegetables, brown rice, nuts, cereals including oats, beans, peas & pulses etc. are good sources of fiber.

EATING HEALTHY: RECIPES 

Every Gynaecologist recommends a pregnant lady to have a pregnancy diet rich in nutrients like proteins, calcium, etc. Below are a few such healthy recipes that are also very easy to make.

Soya Upma (Protein rich recipe)

Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Serves 4

Nutritive Upma, is rich in vegetables. If you are using nuggets instead of granules, chop them into small pieces after boiling them. Vegetarian diets are deficient in Vitamin B12, but Soyabean and its by products are an excellent vegetarian source of B12. Soya granules not only provide protein but also provide calcium. Always add Lemon juice in the protein diet, it helps in absorption of iron from food.

Ingredients
3/4 cup Soya Granules
1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds (jeera)
1 tablespoon Urad Dal (split black lentils)
1/4 teaspoon Asafoetida (hing)
1 teaspoon grated Ginger
1 to 2 chopped Green Chillies
1 chopped Onion
1/2 cup grated Carrot
1/2 cup chopped Cabbage
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1 tablespoon Oil
Salt to taste

Method

  • Soak the Soya Granules in hot water for approximately 15 minutes. Drain all the water from the Soya Granules and keep it aside.
  • Heat the Oil in a pan and add Cumin seeds to it. When they crackle, add Urad Dal and sauté till it turns light brown.
  • Add the Asafoetida, Ginger, Green Chillies and Onion.
  • Sauté the Onion pieces till it turns golden in colour. Then add Carrot and Cabbage and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Add the Soya Granules and mix well.
  • Add Salt and Lemon Juice according to taste.
  • Mix well and serve hot, garnished with chopped coriander.

Nutritive values per serving 

Amt Energy Protein Cho Fat Vit- A Vit – C Calcium Iron F.Acid Fibre
63 gm 107 kcal 5.5 gm 8.2 gm 5.8 gm 400.4 mcg 18.7 mg 55.5 mg 1.5 mg 18.9 mcg 0.8 gm

 

Stuffed Bajra Roti (Iron rich recipe)

Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Makes 8 rotis

Stuff the Bajra Rotis with a mixture of Paneer, Fenugreek and Tomatoes to enrich it with calcium, folic acid and iron.

Ingredients
Dough: One 1/2 cups Bajra flour (Black Millet flour), A pinch of Salt.
Stuffing: 1/2 cup crumbled Paneer (cottage cheese), 2 tablespoons chopped Fenugreek (Methi) leaves, 1 Green Chilly, finely chopped one large Tomato, Salt to taste.
Cooking: 2 tablespoons Butter for cooking

Method

  • Make a dough of Bajra flour with Water. While kneading, mix all the Ingredients of stuffing. To make it a little softer you can also use milk for kneading.
  • Make rotis out of the dough.
  • Use little oil for cooking roti.

Nutritive values per serving

Amt Energy Protein Cho Fat Vit-A Vit-C Calcium Iron F.Acid Fibre
41
gm
115
kcal
3.5
gm
13.3
gm
5.3
gm
198.3
mcg
3.3
mg
60.8
mg
1.5
mg
11.1
mcg
0.3
gm

 

Aloo Poha (Iron rich recipe)

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

This traditional dish is an excellent source of iron.

Ingredients
2 cups beaten flakes (poha, chivda)
½ cup potato, peeled and cubed
½ cup onions, chopped
½ tsp mustard (rai/ sarson) seeds
6 to 8 curry leaves (kadhi patta)
2 to 3 green chilli, slit
½ tsp cumin (jeera) seeds
Salt to taste
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp sugar (optional)
2 tbsp coriander (dhania), chopped
4 lemon wedges
½ tsp turmeric (haldi) powder

Method

  • Add the poha in a sieve and hold it under running water for about 10 to 15 seconds.
  • Drain out all the excess water and keep it aside. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. As the seeds crackle, add the green chillies and curry leaves. Stir for one minute.
  • Add the onions and sauté till the onions turn golden brown. Then add the potato, haldi, salt and a little water. Cover and heat on medium flame till the potatoes are cooked. Add the poha, sugar and a little more salt and mix well. Garnish with the coriander and lemon wedges. Serve hot.

Note: In case the poha gets too dry, you can add a tbsp. of milk to make it moist. Mix well and serve immediately.

 

Nutritive values per serving

Amt Energy Protein Cho Fat Fibre Vit-C Sodium Potassium
100 gm 110 kcal 2.34 gm 0 mg 2.87 gm 0.9 gm 3.3 mg 201 mg 1117 mg

 

Aloo Paneer Chaat (Calcium rich recipe)

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Serves 2

Ingredients
Potato -1, large boiled and cubed
Homemade paneer – cubed,same quantity as potato or can use more.
Frozen peas – a handful
Cumin seeds-1 teaspoon
Pav bhaji masala-1 teaspoon
Chaat masala – 1/2 a teaspoon
Butter -1 teaspoon
Lemon juice – To taste
Salt – To taste
Coriander leaves – To garnish

Method

  • Melt butter in a pan.
  • Add cumin seeds and splutter.
  • Put in potato, paneer and peas.
  • Saute for a minute.
  • Add the pav bhaji masala and salt and mix to coat.
  • Remove from heat and let it cool and bit.
  • Transfer to a serving plate.
  • Drizzle lemon juice and sprinkle Chaat masala.
  • Serve garnished with coriander leaves.

 

Nutritive values per serving

Amt Energy Protein Cho Fat Fibre Calcium Sodium Iron Folate Carb
325
gm
75
cal
1.90
gm
0
mg
0.8
gm
2.6
gm
10.8
mg
5.9
mg
1.16 mg 21.5 mcg 15.3 gm

Bengali Khichdi
Every pregnant lady wonders how to lose those extra kilos that she gained during her pregnancy. Don’t worry, we have a special recipe for you that is not only extremely delicious but would also help you watch your weight.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Serves  6

Ingredients
Masoor dal – 1 cup
Rice – 1 cup
Chana dal – 2 tbsp
Carrots – 50 g
Green peas – 50g
Cabbage – 50 g
Potatoes – 100 g
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Salt – as per taste
For tempering:
Ghee – 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Dry red chilly – 1-2
Cinnamon stick – 1-2
Cloves – 3-4
Bay leaf – 1-2
Garam masala – 2 tsp
Fresh coriander leaves – To garnish

Method

  • Soak all the dals and rice for 20 minutes, this will cook the khichdi faster and create the mushy form easily.
  • Finely chop all the veggies, and do not peel the potatoes, retaining skin adds the advantage of fibers along with the crunchy effect and taste.
  • Heat the ghee in pressure cooker, add cumin seeds when seeds crackle, add bay leaf, dry red chilly, cinnamon and cloves, stir them. then add salt, turmeric powder and garam masala
  • Add all the veggies and stir them for 2 minutes.
  • Now add dals and rice. Mix them and add 5 cups of water. The calculation is that water should be double of total of dals and rice, plus one cup for veggies.
  • Now pressure cook on high flame for 2 whistles and then on low flame for 7-10 minutes.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot.

 

Nutritive values per serving

Amt Energy Protein Cho Fat Carb
200
gm
238.5
cal
9.8
gm
0
mg
2.7
gm
43.5 gm

Bean Soup

Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients
3/4 cup kashmiri rajma (kideny beans)
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 tsp finely chopped garlic (lehsun)
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp oil
Salt – to taste

For Serving
Finely chopped tomato
Sliced spring onions
Chopped coriander (dhania)
Tabasco sauce

Method

  • Soak the beans overnight. Drain thoroughly.
  • Heat the oil, add the onions and fry for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, garlic, chilli powder and salt and sauté for 1 more minute.
  • Add the beans and 3 cups of water and pressure cook till they are soft. Blend in a blender.
  • Do not strain. Add the lemon juice and mix well.
  • Serve hot topped with tomatoes, onions, coriander and tabasco sauce.

Useful tip: If using red rajma (kidney beans), then add 6 cups of water instead of 3 cups at step no. 3.

 

Nutritive values per serving

mt Energy Protein Cho Fat Fibre Calcium Vit C Iron Fat
129
gm
157
kcal
7.4
gm
22
mg
4.3
gm
2.1
gm
120.4
mg
23.9
mg
2 mg 4.3 gm

 

Pregnancy Personal Care Tips

Pregnancy brings the natural glow in any women, that’s because of the joy and excitement one goes through, but it also brings along hormonal changes and completely alters the way you look.
So, to stay looking beautiful and more importantly, feeling good about yourself while you are pregnant have a look at these beauty & skin care tips. Banish the blues, feel amazing and celebrate your motherhood with us.

 

1. DRINK LOTS OF WATER
During pregnancy you need to consume lots of water during a day. It not only helps in filtering and washing out all the toxins from your body but also maintains sufficient amniotic fluid in the sac for the baby to be comfortable.

 

2. EAT THE RIGHT FOOD
During pregnancy one needs to be extra cautious about what you are eating and how healthy it is as, it directly impacts the growth of your child. It’s advisable to consult a doctor for a diet chart. Pregnant women need between 2000 – 2500 Kcals per day – spread over 4 meals: breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner.

Must-haves for your diet,

  • Vitamins: Vitamin C (citrus fruits, green vegetables, etc.), Vitamin A (carrots, tomatoes, etc.), and Vitamin B (milk, eggs, whole grains).
  • Iron: lots of women suffer from iron deficiency, it’s therefore important to also eat red meat, fish, lentils, spinach, etc.
  • Folic acid, which helps iron work properly in the body: asparagus, almonds, etc.
  • Calcium, essential for the formation of your future baby’s skeleton. Try to eat a variety of dairy products: milk, cheese, yoghurt, etc.

 

3. MAINTAIN A SKIN REGIMEN 

  • If you are prone to acne, arm yourself with a good skin care and anti- blemish agents. Be aware that retinol and such chemicals are to be avoided during pregnancy. So consult your dermatologist before you use any new product.
  • Some women are known to suffer from dry skin though it’s not a part of their regular skin type. Use a lot of thick moisturizers and also increase your fluid intake. Reapply them all through the day.
  • Don’t forget to moisturize your skin. Use your HG moisturizer to keep your skin supple and glowing.
  • Dip some cotton into non-boiled milk and run it slowly across your face. Your skin will be hydrated, tan reduced and a glow added.
  • A paste of corn flour and honey definitely helps handle blemishes and dead skin. Scrub it away and moisturize.
  • Use sliced cucumber to give relief to strained eyes. Freeze them for better cooling effects.
  • If you are suffering from major hair loss, opt for a shorter hair cut. Now is the time to experiment with all the newness.
  • Don’t forget your sunscreen. Sun protection is always on the top of the priority list.
  • Avoid using soap. Soaps dry your skin maximum and give you blotchy spots. Use hydrating cleansing milk instead.

 

4. BEAUTY SLEEP
Fatigue is one of the symptoms which expectant mothers experiences, especially during the first trimester. Proper rest is very important because that’s when your body and mind rejuvenates itself. Make sure you catch enough sleep that your body feels less fatigued. Make yourself comfortable when you go to sleep. Keep your posture right. You might want to use a maternity cushion or something equally comfortable while you sleep.

 

5. EXERCISE

  • Walking
  • Aqua Aerobics
  • Pregnancy yoga
  • Swimming

These are the top four ideal sports for pregnant women. Exercise is strongly recommended to strengthen joints, improve circulation in your legs, stimulate breathing and can even help your body cope with labour.

Avoid sports where you’re at risk of falling (cycling, horse riding, skiing, etc.), and only do exercise in moderation. If you weren’t previously active then seek medical advice before taking up aqua aerobics or swimming and take your walking and yoga session easily at first.

 

6. HAIR CARE

  • Oil Massage: Oil your hair, at least, three to four times a week. Opt for oils that have healthy ingredients like olive, coconut, almond, jojoba, castor and the like. Heat up the oil slightly, making sure it is not too hot, but just warm. Massage this through the scalp and hair.
  • Shampoo & Conditioning: Make sure you use a shampoo at least once to twice a week.
    Use a mild shampoo, or better still, use a shampoo that is herbal. Apply a conditioner every time you wash your hair. Pay special attention to the tips of the hair to avoid dry or split ends.
  • Combing: Avoid combing hair when it is wet. Let your hair dry naturally, or use a hair dryer at medium heat. Comb it using a wide toothed comb when dry. This will help avoid hair fall.
  • Regular Hair Trims: Your hair goes through different changes during pregnancy, causing difference, in hair texture and thickness. A good idea is to go for a regular hair trim that will help avoid split ends or rough ends.

For more pregnancy tips and quality products for motherhood, check out the rest of our site.

Tips on Trying to Conceive

Getting pregnant is one of the greatest joys that a married couple can expect in their lives. However, it is estimated that one in eight couples have problems in trying to conceive. While this shouldn’t deter one’s patience, if it keeps happening for a long time, it is bound to cast a shadow on the couple’s happiness. A few months of trying doesn’t mean that you have a ‘fertility issue’, but the most probable reason could be that you are not making love at the right time. As in a woman’s one month menstrual cycle, she has a window of approximately 2-3 days in which pregnancy can occur – so just missing the boat could be a likely cause. You can use the help of our ovulation calculator as well to help you know when is the right time.

Knowledge of the right timing and right way can shorten the waiting period. Couples must keep the following things in mind while they’re trying to conceive.

  • Overweight or obese women may have problems in conceiving. Shedding down weight helps in trying to conceive a baby. Regular exercise and a well-balanced diet are crucial in maintaining a consistent fitness level.
  • Caffeine has been found to reduce fertility. So if you have been a coffee addict for long, replace the intake of that caffeine with water and juices.
  • Avoid certain foods like raw and undercooked egg, oysters and meat, shellfish such as prawns, ripened cheese, unpasteurized milk, liver and liver products as they are not conducive to increasing fertility.
  • Watch your alcohol intake. It is advisable to refrain from alcohol 3 months before conception. Alcohol creates an imbalance in your system and not being in good health isn’t advisable for becoming pregnant.
  • Smoking (of any kind) is an absolute no. It can triple the chances of infertility.
  • Supplements that have been prescribed and verified by your doctor are the way to go. Ensure your diet has enough vitamins and nutrients. Take iron supplements as well.
  • Do not subject yourself to any kind of drugs during this period. Drugs diminish oxygen in the would-be womb and can cause birth defects
  • Stress and anxiety can also be the reason you are unable to conceive. It is estimated that couples trying for a second child often conceive faster.
  • The reason could be less of anxiety and pressure in comparison to the first-timers.
  • Check with your doctor in case any prescription medicine is hindering the conception.
  • Your age may work against you. Women become less fertile at the age of 30. Egg cells start disappearing at a faster rate by the time they reach 37. It is advised to not wait too long. Babies who are born to mothers in their 30s also have an added risk of being born with Down’s Syndrome, physical defects, etc.
  • Fertilization process begins when the woman’s eggs combine with a man’s sperm. A woman’s body releases an egg (ovulation) roughly 14 days before her period. She is most likely to conceive during this time. The ovulation period roughly lasts for 24 – 48 hours during a cycle. Sperm, on the other hand, lives for around 3 to 5 days, and sometimes even longer.Therefore, there is a very short time in a month when you are likely to conceive. It may take a year to get pregnant, especially if your monthly cycles are infrequent or irregular. Don’t worry if you are not pregnant even after a couple of months. Just stay positive and keep trying.
  • Before ovulation, there can be little or no mucus. But during ovulation, the mucus is highly fertile. The best time for conceiving is when the mucus stretches for few centimeters. You can check with your fingertips.
  • Try different positions every time. Tests reveal that during intercourse if the man is on top, there is a better chance of the sperm reaching its destination.
  • Ask your partner to wear boxer shorts rather than close-fitting briefs. It helps the sperm breathe and could help in boosting the sperm count.
  • Too much sex or too little sex can be a hindrance in getting pregnant. Everyday sex may reduce the sperm count. In general, it is best to refrain from intercourse few days before the ovulation period, so that the sperm count is high. Some doctors even recommend having sex every alternate day during the fertile phase.
  • STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) can also affect woman’s fertility. They may spread into the uterus and fallopian tubes, causing inflammatory disease, which is a cause of both infertility and ectopic pregnancy.
  • Oral sex before having intercourse is not advised as there is evidence that the bacteria in the mouth damage the sperm.
  • Limit your movement right after having intercourse. Sudden movements can cause the sperm to leak out. It is better to stay in the same position, flat on your back perhaps for sometime after ejaculation. Wait for around twenty minutes before standing up.
  • Check with your doctor for anything that might be wrong in your immune system. Sometimes ailments or conditions that do not directly have anything to do with sexual health tend to become hindrances in the path to getting pregnant. It always helps to keep consulting your doctor if such a thing happens.
  • Avoid living in an area that is filled with toxins. A toxic environment may unknowingly do damage to your health. Often we inhale toxins that circulate in the air, or drink water that isn’t completely purified. Even setting up a house near a factory disposal or such can be a hindrance in conceiving.
  • A very basic is to stop using contraceptives. You might not be getting pregnant immediately after quitting contraceptives because some birth control methods have a longer readjustment period than others. It depends on woman to woman as well since bodies differ in the time they take to readjust.
  • Use an ovulation predictor kit. An ovulation predictor kit will help you be sure of the number of days that you are ovulating. You can try our ovulation calculator which can help you predict the days you’re ovulating.

For more pregnancy tests and other information, check out the rest of our site.

Early Pregnancy Detection

Pregnancy can be a little difficult to detect in early days, but by keeping an eye on these symptoms, you can detect early pregnancy. If you tick all or most of the symptoms, be sure to use the easy-to-use Prega News Advance pregnancy test to get proper results.

  • Getting dizzy and/or faint: Often caused by either low blood sugar or blood pressure, a dizzy spell or fainting could be because you’re expecting.
  • Feeling extremely tired: Due to the increase in hormone levels, most women begin to feel extreme tiredness and exhaustion, as one of the first signs of pregnancy.
  • Breasts and/or nipples become very tender and sore: Many women feel that their breasts are fuller and more tender with their nipples being more sensitive during early pregnancy.
  • Signs of bloating and/or cramping: This early sign of pregnancy tends to feel like your period is coming. It could be your period, but it could also be early pregnancy.
  • Signs of headaches: Headaches are usually thought to be an effect of changing hormones in your body during pregnancy, they occur most commonly in pregnant women.
  • Signs of backaches: For women who don’t usually have backaches, this could be an intimation that the ligaments in your back are loosening, preparing for the time when you have to hold extra weight in your pregnancy months.
  • Spotting: Faint vaginal bleeding could be from impregnation of a fertilized egg into the lining of the uterus. Many women feel that it’s the beginning of their period, but it is actually one of the first symptoms of pregnancy.
  • Getting short of breath: The fetus that is slowly developing needs oxygen, which means that you’re most likely to feel a bit deprived. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that you’ll continue to feel out of breath if you decide to bring the baby to term.
  • Mood swings: Your system is being introduced to new hormones when you’re pregnant. This means you’re likely to overreact on something frivolous or suddenly find yourself teary for no good reason. Nausea and/or vomiting: Normally, morning sickness won’t occur until about a month after conception, and some don’t have this pregnancy symptom at all.
  • Urinating more than normal: Increased urination occurs due to the increase in blood and other body fluids, which ends up being processed by the kidneys and ending up in the bladder. Getting more sensitive to odors than normal: This is another early pregnancy symptom which may be due to increased estrogen levels.
  • Feeling extremely lethargic: This is one of the most common signs of early pregnancy amongst women and it’s something that most women tend to ignore, the feeling of extreme laziness or lethargy.
  • Increased appetite: Another symptom is an excessive urge to eat. While you can give in to some of your pregnancy cravings, do ensure that you don’t go overboard, instead try to follow a balanced diet and avoid foods unsafe for you and your baby.
  • Excessive sleep: Many women also tend to sleep a lot and always feel lazy, which could be another sign of being pregnant.
  • Constipation: Constipation, bloating of the stomach or an inability to go to the washroom is also a very common pregnancy symptom.

While these can all be symptoms of pregnancy, there is a chance that you might be mistaken. That is why to be certain learn how to do a pregnancy test at home. You should use the Prega News pregnancy test kit for the best results.