Experiencing natural birth in water

You might be aware that your little one is floating for nine months in your womb. How about welcoming your little one in the same soothing environment? Yes, it’s possible!

Water-birthing is a safe and natural option in which you can birth your baby in a warm birthing tub. It’s a wonderful experience as it is less stressful for you and is very gentle for your baby. Your baby makes its way from a water-filled womb into a similar environment.

If you’re interested in a water-birth, it’s best to talk to your midwife or inform your obstetrician to meet the midwifery team to discuss this option. Selecting water-birth is an informed choice that the mother makes. But, the expectant mother has to be in optimal health before choosing water-birth.

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How Eating Habits During Pregnancy Can Affect 3 Generations

After conceiving, having a balanced diet and following a healthy lifestyle is vital for you and your little one. While you’re pregnant, your body is just not your own – it has your baby attached and dependent on it as well.

Healthy eating during pregnancy is important for your baby’s development and growth. You must have heard that maintaining a healthy and balanced diet throughout pregnancy is beneficial. But have you thought why and how is it important?

What do the recent studies suggest?

New research suggests that your eating habits during pregnancy affect not only your baby but also your grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Medical professionals believe that maternal diet plays an important role in your baby’s development.

One of the unique aspects of the research was to find how a mother’s eating habits can have an impact on her baby even before conceiving.

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Common Infections During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is the most wonderful phase in a woman’s life and every woman wants to be in the best health during this time. However, pregnancy can come with its share of uneasiness and being ill can take away from the experience. This makes it essential to take preventive measures, especially because it could be harmful to your baby.

What Can Make You Prone to Certain Infections?

Our body has a natural defence mechanism to protect us from bacteria and viruses. Antibodies help fight infections, but sometimes our body fails to make enough antibodies.

Infections occur during pregnancy mainly because the immunity is lowered. The immune system adapts to protect you as well as your baby. Some part of the defence mechanism is enhanced while some gets suppressed.

Infections contracted during pregnancy can be complicated as they affect not only you but, in some cases, also your baby. Therefore, learning about these infections and getting timely treatment is crucial. Here is a list of some common infections:

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Ankle Swelling During Pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, your belly is not the only thing that swells. You may notice mild swelling throughout the body, particularly in the ankles and feet. As the body produces around fifty percent more blood and fluids to fulfil the needs of the growing baby, swelling is a normal part of a pregnancy. However, the amount of swelling you experience may vary and by the end of the day become more and reduce after a night’s sleep. Swelling could be more in women with multiples pregnancies or having excessive amniotic fluid.

Causes of Swelling

Also known as Edema, ankles and feet swelling during pregnancy is a common thing that goes away after childbirth. There are various factors responsible for the swelling. Along with the extra body fluid, the growing uterus, hormonal changes etc. are also responsible for ankles, feet and leg swelling. The uterus which constantly grows during pregnancy puts pressure on the pelvic veins and the large vein impairing the return of blood to the heart and results in swelling.

Though mild ankles and feet swelling is normal and goes away with the completion of pregnancy, but a sudden increase in swelling may indicate that the blood pressure is higher than normal. This could be a sign of preeclampsia. And a sudden swelling in one leg could be a symptom of a blood clot i.e., deep vein thrombosis. So, if you notice any one of these, it’s important to consult your doctor. However for mild swelling, you can adopt some ways to reduce it.

  • Take regular breaks

Make sure not to stand or sit for a long period. Taking a short walk will help in better blood circulation. And when you sit, keep your feet on a stool, rotate your feet at the ankles and stretch your legs from time to time.

  • Sleep on your side

Sleeping on the left side is helpful in reducing ankle swelling during pregnancy. When you sleep on your left side, it takes the pressure off the large vein that returns the blood from the lower half of the body to the heart.

  • Do physical activity

Mild physical activity is necessary during pregnancy to keep oneself active and healthy. If you can’t indulge in exercising, taking a walk daily is very helpful.

  • Wear comfortable shoes

When you go out of the house, wear comfortable shoes and at home, wear a pair of soft slippers and make sure that they are not slippery.

  • Wear compression stockings

You may be recommended by your doctor to wear stockings or supportive tights during

the daytime.

  • Drink plenty of water and eat well

Drinking plenty of water has a positive effect on reducing overall swelling. Make sure to avoid junk foods and include healthy options in your diet.

 

Treating Headaches During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a phase during which you get ready to welcome your little bundle of joy. It is also a time when women undergo physical changes and experience some discomforts. Headache during pregnancy is quite common, especially in the first trimester. Though most frequent in the first and third trimester, pregnancy headache may occur at any time during the gestation period.

Other factors responsible for headaches during pregnancy –

  • Dehydration
  • Inadequate sleep
  • Stress
  • Low blood sugar level
  • Women who used to have a high intake of caffeine but stopped the intake due to pregnancy
  • Preeclampsia
  • Stopped smoking during pregnancy

How to get relief from headache during pregnancy?

You can get relief from mild headaches during pregnancy without taking medicines by a adopting the following.

  • Cool compress

In order to get quick relief from mild headaches, lie down and put a cool compress on your head.

  • Do physical activity

Though remaining active during pregnancy may seem difficult but including physical activity in your routine such as walking or aerobics can be helpful in preventing headaches. However, make sure to consult with your doctor before doing aerobics or any kind of other exercise.

  • Manage stress

Managing stress can help you in getting relief from mild pregnancy headaches.

  • Practice relaxation methods

Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, visualization, yoga and massage can make you feel better.

  • Eat regularly

When you eat scheduled meals regularly and maintain a healthy diet, you can prevent pregnancy headaches. Make sure to remain adequately hydrated by drinking a plenty of fluids.

  • Have a sleep schedule

Lack of sleep can result in pregnancy headaches. Make sure to have the required sleep and follow a regular sleep schedule.

  • Peppermint oil

The anti-inflammatory and relaxant nature of peppermint oil can ease the mind and relieve the discomfort. A few drops on your pillow can do the trick and help you sleep comfortably.

  • Avoiding triggers

Certain odours, foods and postures may cause headache. Try to avoid the headache triggers during pregnancy.

Headache during pregnancy is common, but if it doesn’t go away or you experience more than normal, make sure to consult with your doctor. Severe headaches can be signs of pregnancy complications such as high blood pressure and damage to other organs. Fortunately, there are some effective treatments for pregnancy headaches that help you in getting relief.

Getting Rid of Pregnancy Stretch Marks

Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful phases of a woman’s life. Along with your little bundle of joy, you may also get stretch marks. They are quite common, especially in the third trimester. And though not harmful or painful, some women feel distressed with the appearance of their skin.

Stretch marks tend to occur when your body gains weight or loses excess weight suddenly. With the baby developing inside the womb, the skin stretches beyond its capacity. Due to this and the hormonal changes stretch marks occur. You may have stretch marks in the areas prone to fat accumulation such as abdomen, tummy, hips, arms, thighs and breasts. They often start as reddish or purple in colour and after delivery, they gradually fade and become white or greyish.

Medical treatment and home remedies can make stretch marks fade away but you cannot get rid of them completely. With passing time, they turn into fine lines gradually almost close to your skin tone. You can even try exercises that work on the muscles of the areas having stretch marks. Exercises help regenerate the tissues, tighten the loosened skin and diminish the stretch marks. A combination of balanced diet and exercises can make a visible difference.

Home remedies such as oil treatment, honey aloe vera, egg white, cocoa butter or shea butter etc., can help your skin feel better. Remaining adequately hydrated is vital as it helps in restoring the elasticity of your skin and keeping it supple.

Do not feel embarrassed or worry if you have stretch marks during pregnancy. Get the help of your doctor, apply creams and take proper care of your skin, and the stretch marks will reduce as time passes.

 

Trimesterwise Pregnancy Meal Planning — Third Trimester

The Third Trimester is the final stage of pregnancy during which your baby grows at a faster rate. All organs, brain, eyes, ears, lungs, bones etc. develop more rapidly and for this, the nutritional needs of your baby also increase. You have to concentrate on eating a healthy and balanced diet. A wholesome diet will help meet the extra nutritional needs of your baby.

In this last stage of pregnancy, heartburn and indigestion may occur but these issues don’t last long in most pregnant women. If you do happen to be affected, you can opt for small but frequent meals. Normally, during the last trimester, a woman needs around 350 calories more. So, now, you should include foods that contain the following:

Calcium: Is needed for bone development of the baby.

You can include the following foods in your diet.

  • Low fat Milk
  • Cheese
  • Low fat Yoghurt/ Curd
  • Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Ragi
  • Horsegram
  • Okra
  • Fortified Orange Juice
  • Fortified Soya Milk
  • Unsalted Almonds
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Tofu

Iron:

As the volume of blood increases during pregnancy, the demand of iron also increases. Moreover, the developing baby starts storing iron for further development. Some important iron-rich foods which you can include in your third trimester meal chart are:

  • Leafy Green Vegetables
  • Grains like pearl millet(bajra), finger millet(ragi) etc
  • Legumes like Bengal gram, moth beans, horse gram etc
  • Poultry and egg

Vitamin A:

Vitamin A is essential as the mother’s intake is a determinant of vitamin A status of the baby. Even after delivery, baby depends on breast milk for vitamin A so adequate intake is necessary.

  • Dairy Products
  • Eggs
  • Yellow to dark orange coloured vegetables and fruits

Selenium:

One of the minerals necessary during the third trimester, Selenium acts as an antioxidant to fight against free radicals. This mineral may be helpful in making the lungs of the baby healthy. Some of the healthy food sources of selenium are:

  • Seafood
  • Meat
  • Poultry and egg
  • Certain Cereals and millets

Some Important Things to Remember During the Third Trimester

  • Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Eat snacks that are healthy and try to avoid foods like cakes, biscuits and chocolates in which sugar content is higher.
  • Have lots of vegetables and fruits.
  • Choose dairy products that are low in fat.
  • Have different types of starchy foods like whole grain cereals, millets, potatoes, bread, rice, pasta etc.
  • Choose protein-rich foods such as beans, nuts, lentils, eggs, fish, soya, poultry etc.

Trimesterwise Pregnancy Meal Planning — 2nd Trimester

A pregnant woman’s body goes through different phases. It is very necessary that she eats a healthy diet as the developing baby receives all the nutrients from her. A healthy diet during the gestation period refers to a perfect balance of protein, carbohydrate and fat to the body. A balanced diet should contain adequate calories and provide your baby with essential nutrients.

As the baby starts developing, the nutritional requirements also vary. So, it becomes necessary that the pregnant woman takes proper care of her diet and heeds the nutritional needs of the different phases of pregnancy. In order to keep your level of energy high and ensure your body gets the essential nutrients you can have three meals a day along with snacks. Moreover, a pregnant woman should drink lots of water throughout the day.

During the second trimester, the external body structures and all the major organs of the baby start forming. During this phase, you should ensure your diet includes foods that contain vitamins, minerals, proteins, calcium, magnesium and Omega 3 fatty acid.

Breakfast: Eating a healthy breakfast provides you enough energy to remain active throughout the day. And it becomes more necessary to have a healthy breakfast when you are pregnant. During the second trimester, you should have a balanced meal which may include:

  • Eggs
  • Whole grains like whole wheat toast, whole wheat flakes, daliya, oats
  • Fruits
  • Skimmed milk

Lunch: During pregnancy, having a proper lunch is also very important. You can include the following:

  • Whole grains and millets like brown rice, whole wheat breads, quinoa, fox tail millet, bajra, jowar
  • Fortified cereals
  • Lean meats like chicken and fish
  • Yoghurt/ curd/ paneer
  • All Vegetables
  • Beans/ Legumes like Chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, black eyed beans, peas, soya bean etc
  • Lentils/ Pulses/Dals

Dinner: Having a healthy dinner is also necessary to keep yourself and your baby healthy. Include food such as:

  • Brown rice
  • Vegetables
  • Grilled chicken or fish
  • Grains
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Fortified breads
  • Whole wheat Pasta, rotis

Snacks: You can have one or two snacks between meals. You can include the following as healthy snacks:

  • Fruits
  • Low fat milk and dairy products
  • Ready to eat cereals
  • Porridges from Grains like ragi malt, oats
  • Soya milk
  • Soups
  • Vegetable juices
  • Fruits salad
  • Nuts, Seeds and dried fruits