During pregnancy, food with low glycemic index reduces the risk of various complications such as gestational diabetes. In addition, it helps in reducing the risk of high birth weight of the baby during delivery.
A woman who is pregnant gains more weight on normal diet as compared to one with low glycemic index. Pregnant women can cut down excess weight to around 20 per cent if they follow a healthy diet with low glycemic index. So, it is very essential to have food with low glycemic index during pregnancy. However, take recommendations from your doctor before going on low glycemic index food.
What is glycemic index of food?
Glycemic index (GI) of food is the number which is associated with carbohydrate containing food indicating its effect on the blood sugar level of a person. Different foods have different glycemic index and a value of 100 is said to be the standard one. It is equivalent to pure glucose. This is a new method of analysing food, giving you the impact of particular food on the blood sugar level of your body.
Suggestions to help you to take low glycemic index food:
- Plan your meals and snacks for a couple of weeks using the glycemic index chart.
- While shopping, carry the chart along with you, it will help you buy food that is low in GI.
- Eat whole grains as they have more nutrients than refined ones; during pregnancy, it is very essential that you and your baby get proper nutrition.
- You can include oatmeal, barley, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, high bran cereals and sprouted whole wheat products.
- Have plenty of vegetables in your meals; some of the healthy options with low GI are broccoli, cauliflower, tomato, peas, carrot, cabbage, mushrooms, corn, eggplant, beans and sweet potatoes. Potatoes and pumpkin are high GI foods.
- Eat plenty of fruits as they have lots of nutrients which are required for proper development of the baby. Oranges, plums, cherries, coconuts, kiwis, peaches and strawberries are some of the fruits with low GI. Dates and watermelons should be avoided during pregnancy as they are high GI fruits.
- It is essential to have low-fat dairy products as they provide calcium, responsible for healthy growth of bones, teeth and nails of the baby. Most of the low-fat dairy products are low in GI. Milk, yogurt and cottage cheese are not low but moderate GI foods.
- You can eat white fish and chicken during pregnancy as these are low GI food. Pork, lamb and beef should be avoided.
As the glycemic index of food you eat during pregnancy plays a vital role in the development of the baby, you should eat food with low GI. But don’t forget to consult your doctor before going through such diet.
Eat healthy and give birth to a healthy baby.
Pregnancy is one of life’s many phases when your body undergoes different changes. These changes occur mainly due to hormones which influence to a great extent your immune system and your susceptibility to allergies.
Causes of allergies in pregnant women
Allergies are the most problems that occur during pregnancy due to various reasons. Fungus, dust, pollen etc. are some of the environmental allergens that lead to sniffling, sneezing, and watery eyes. Most pregnant women suffer from food allergies and have rashes or itching on skin. The allergic reactions may also occur due to medicines, chemicals, animal dander or insect bites. Some of the allergies go away quickly while some persist for long. This depends solely if you have taken these allergies seriously or not.
If you have asthma before conceiving, then you must take proper care so that it doesn’t worsen during pregnancy. You can take certain measures to prevent occurrence of allergies during this period.
Follow these preventive measures:
- Quit smoking during pregnancy. Moreover, stay away from people who smoke. It will not only help in preventing allergies but also help in the healthy development of your baby.
- Avoid food causing allergies: When you get pregnant, make a note of those foods that you have already been allergic to. Some of the common food allergens are peanut, soy, wheat, sesame, egg, milk, fish, shellfish etc. Such allergens have a tendency to trigger the immune system. Once you have identified them and avoid them, then take expert opinion for confirming how your nutritional requirements are to be met. Maintain a food diary before meeting the nutritionist.
- Stop alcohol intake: In order to avoid allergies during pregnancy, you should avoid taking alcohol which is dangerous to your baby, as well.
- Stay indoors: If you are allergic to pollen, try to stay inside your house where there is filtered air conditioning. And if you go out, you can wear sunglasses and remove your shoes outside the door. Don’t forget to wash your face and hands immediately after coming from outside.
- Stay away from dust: Use vacuum cleaners and wet mops to clean your house in order to avoid dust allergies during pregnancy. Keeping clean will help you avoid dust allergies.
- Keep your pets away: During pregnancy, you may have allergic infections due to animal dander. If you have a pet at home, make sure to have a separate room in your house in which your pet doesn’t enter.
- Avoid chemicals: During your pregnancy, stay away from household chemicals like paint thinner as it may worsen your allergies.
Treatment for allergies during pregnancy
If you are suffering from allergies before pregnancy and having regular medications, then you should consult your doctor if they can be continued or not after you get pregnant. While you should always consult your doctor before taking any type of medications, here are a few medications to treat allergies:
- Antihistamines: Generally, over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines are considered to be safe during pregnancy. They help in treating seasonal allergies and perennial allergies. But they have side effects like drowsiness etc.
- Allergy shots: If you are having allergy shots before pregnancy, then only allergy shots are considered to be safe. But many allergists feel that it not a good idea to start allergy shots during pregnancy as they may cause reactions to the already changing immune system due to pregnancy.
During pregnancy, it is quite normal to feel hotter than usual. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, increased flow of blood and the heat produced by the placenta are factors responsible for high body temperature in pregnant women. But getting too hot is not good at all for the pregnant woman and the developing baby. Heat and humidity during summer makes you more uncomfortable when you are pregnant. The high body temperature added to the summer heat makes life more miserable. So, it is very necessary for you to remain cool during summer.
Some tips for a cool and healthy pregnancy during summer:
- Staying hydrated is very important during pregnancy. Drink lots of fluids so that it will replace the fluids you lose in the form of sweat.
- Remain indoors as much as possible and avoid exposure to direct sunlight.
- Carry a water bottle along with you when you go out of your house.
- Keep a small water-filled spray bottle with you to mist yourself whenever you feel warm.
- Place a damp cloth on the back of your neck and forehead to keep yourself cool during summer.
- Do your outdoor work in the morning or evening hours when the heat is low.
- In order to prevent your rooms from heating up from direct sunlight, keep the curtains closed.
- Take quick showers frequently during summer; it will help you to keep cool.
- Wear loose fitting cotton clothes which will help avoid skin rashes under the breasts, abdomen etc. during pregnancy and keep you cool and comfortable.
- Wear a light headscarf when you go out; it will help reduce direct sunlight.
- Wear flip flops to keep your feet cool.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages, caffeine and street food during summer.
- You can refresh yourself by having cold fruit or vegetable salad; it is not only refreshing but healthy, as well.
- Minimise intake of salt; it will help in combating water retention, making you stay more comfortable during summer.
- You can exercise during the cooler time of the day and avoid doing it till the point of exhaustion.
- Stay in cool places as much as possible at the time of your pregnancy during summer.
Back pain is one of the common problems that occur during pregnancy. Most pregnant women suffer from back pain mainly due to weight gain. But this doesn’t mean you have to suffer throughout the pregnancy. Besides consulting your doctor, there are several ways (read further below) you can overcome back pain during pregnancy.
Factors causing back pain during pregnancy:
- Weight gain: Gaining weight during pregnancy is quite a normal phenomenon. But some women tend to gain more weight than required. The extra weight puts a load on your spine resulting in lower backache and other complications. Moreover, the weight of the developing baby and the uterus puts pressure on the nerves and blood vessels of the pelvis and back.
- Hormonal changes: This is another factor causing back pain in pregnant women. Due to the hormone called Relaxin, the ligaments in the pelvic area tend to relax and the joints loosen. It also loosens the ligaments supporting the spine that causes instability causing back pain.
- Changes in posture: As you gain weight during pregnancy, the centre of gravity also changes. So, in order to be comfortable, you change your sitting postures, the way you walk etc. These changes in posture give rise to back pain.
- Muscle separation: As time passes, the uterus starts expanding more and more. In the process, the two parallel stretches of muscle between the rib cage and pubic bone get separated along the centre seam. This process worsens backache if you are already suffering from it.
- Emotional stress: During pregnancy, emotional stress causes tension in the back muscles which may result in back pain.
Back pain during pregnancy can lead to following:
- Difficulty in getting up from a sitting posture
- You may find it difficult to change positions on the bed
- Uneasiness while walking for a longer period of time
- Dressing and undressing may become a problem
- Difficulty while taking a bath
- Doing work with back pain becomes very painful
How to ease back pain during pregnancy?
Following these points can help you get rid of your back pain to a great extent:
- Exercise: Exercising is one of the best ways to ease backache in pregnant women. Walking, cycling on stationary cycle and swimming are some of the safe exercises which you can do while pregnant. Exercising for at least 30 minutes five times a week will not only help you strengthen your body muscles but also increase your flexibility. Staying active by doing exercises and light work is the key to reducing back pain during pregnancy.
- Posture: Improving your posture helps in getting relief from backache. You should avoid staying in the same posture for a long period of time. While sitting you can use a cushion at the back and rest your feet on a stool. Using maternity pillows while sleeping also help to reduce backache.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture helps you to get rid of back pain. But it is very necessary to get it done by experienced professionals.
- Heat and cold: To get relief from pain, you may apply cold packs or hot water bag according to your convenience. Even a warm bath can be helpful to reduce back pain.