5 Must-Eat Foods for Your 1st Trimester

Pregnancy changes your body in many ways. A healthy pregnancy diet should include a well-rounded first-trimester diet plan as well as vitamin and mineral supplements to ensure that the baby is receiving the correct balance of nutrients required to grow healthily. It is also important to note that in the first trimester, your baby is quickly developing some of the most vital organs —  brain, spinal cord, heart, arms, and legs.  It is essential to consume the right foods, so that you and your baby both stay healthy.

To meet the nutrient requirements essential for good health, you need to eat a variety of foods from each of the five food groups daily, in the recommended amounts. Here are 5-nutrient-rich foods to include in your first-trimester diet plan: 

1.Cereals

8-9 servings of cereals should be consumed per day of which a major portion should be whole grains. Whole grains have more vitamins and minerals than processed grains, as well as fibre. Fibre helps in maintaining proper bowel function and lowers the risk of developing constipation. You may consume it in the form of brown rice, whole wheat, broken wheat, millets (ragi, jowar, bajra, foxtail, millets, quinoa), oats, and whole grain bread

2.Pulses/Legumes & Meat/Fish/Poultry

Focus on having 2- 3 servings every day. You may include chicken & fish (lean meat), whole eggs, beans/legumes/sprouts (Bengal gram, green gram, kidney beans, black beans, black-eyed beans, peas etc.), lentils/pulses/dals and soybean products. Inclusion of a cereal -pulse blend enhances the protein quality. Take a blend of wheat flour and soya bean flour or wheat flour and roasted channa flour in the ratio of 4 :

3.Dairy Products

As dairy products contain calcium and protein, 5 servings (each 100ml ), approximately 500 ml per day are necessary during the first trimester. Calcium is needed for the healthy development of the baby’s teeth and bones. You may consume low-fat or non-fat dairy products like cheese, yoghurt/curd, milk and paneer.

4.Vegetables & Fruits

You must have around 3.5  servings of vegetables daily. Vegetables contain essential vitamins like folate and minerals like iron and fibre. You can include vegetables like spinach, amaranth, gogu, fenugreek, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, gourd, squash, cauliflower, capsicum/ bell peppers, green beans, broccoli, corn, and peas. Daily consumption of fruits is necessary during the first trimester.  Whole fruits provide fibre and are preferable in comparison to juices. Fruits are a rich source of vitamin C, fibre, folate, vitamin A and potassium. We recommend oranges, sweet lime,  guava,  apples,  bananas, grapefruit, melon, berries, ripe papaya, pomegranate, watermelon. Make sure to include at least one vitamin C rich fruit in your daily meal plan.

5.Fats and Oils
Limit intake of foods containing saturated fat  and  include healthy fats to your plate. Total quantity of cooking oil to be used is 5-6 teaspoons (30 ml) per day. Preferably use plant based oils (groundnut, rice bran, sesame ,soya bean oil, sunflower,corn or olive oil. Include nuts such as cashew nuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, groundnuts, flaxseeds and sesame seeds(til) that are good sources of essential vitamins, minerals, fibre and essential fats (MUFA & omega -3 fats) in your diet. Other sources of healthy fats are avocado and some types of fish like salmon, herring, tuna( Have 1-2 servings a week  of these fish to get essential omega-3 fatty acids.)

The recommendations are based on Dietary Guidelines for Indians, ICMR, 2011.  Number of portions will vary if a woman has BMI > 35 kg/m2 or < 18 kg/m2.

Nausea and morning sickness during the first trimester can make it difficult to eat but you must try your best to. Proper nourishment can lower the risk of postpartum complications. A healthy balanced diet during pregnancy should be rich in good quality proteins, essential fatty acids, iron, calcium, B complex vitamins and vitamin C with optimum calories. Folic acid is especially important during the first trimester. Although weight gain during pregnancy is normal it should be based on your pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI). There’s no weight gain recommended in the first trimester; a healthy weight gain is recommended in  second and third trimesters. If you are starting pregnancy at a healthy weight, a weight gain of 0.42  kgs per week is recommended  in the second/third trimester. The focus is on having a balanced and nutrient-rich diet.

6 Immunity-Boosting Foods for your Pregnancy Diet

Pregnancy brings with it great many food cravings. While we wish we could live on cakes and other delicacies forever, it is also important to consume a healthy dose of immunity-boosting foods. Pregnancy is known to weaken a mother’s immune system, which makes the moms vulnerable to infections like common cold, UTIs, Covid-19 etc. Prevention is better than cure. Since most medication is to be avoided during pregnancy, catching an infection can be somewhat daunting. Luckily, nature has provided us with an abundant supply of “Immunity-boosting foods” that help our bodies stay strong from within.

Here is a food list of 6 superfoods that you can include in your pregnancy diet.
  1. Garlic
    Research suggests that the antimicrobial allicin found in garlic is known to strengthen immunity and decrease the risk of developing common cold. Garlic is also great for gut microbiota and is, therefore, a highly recommended superfood.
  2. Milk
    Lactoferrin is a compound found in milk that boosts immunity by interrupting the interactions between viral cells and body cells to lower the impact of viruses on the body. Expecting mothers can consume dairy in the form of buttermilk, ghee, yoghurt, whole milk etc for a steady dose of calcium.
  3. Vitamin C- Rich Foods I
    t is well-known that vitamin C is vital for a healthy immune system, but it is important to note that we only need moderate amounts of it. Many fruits and veggies are rich in vitamin C: oranges, guava, kiwi, strawberries, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes. Two of our favourites are Guava and Kiwi fruit, both rich sources of Vitamin C. One kiwi provides around half of your daily vitamin C requirements, and it is much more delicious than a tablet!
  4. Vitamin E- Rich Foods
    Vitamin E helps with cognitive function and development. Mixed nuts and oil seeds are powerful sources of antioxidants that help protect your immune cells from damage. Food rich in vitamin E are almonds, olive oil, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, peanut butter.
  5. Zinc Rich Foods
    Zinc plays an important role in maintaining our body’s immune system. Low levels of zinc can lead to a higher susceptibility to various infections. Zinc is found in a variety of foods- whole grains, milk products, lean meats, poultry, eggs, seafood (oysters, shellfish), beans, chickpeas, nuts (such as cashews and almonds), seeds and soy products. Take your pick!
  6. Gut-Friendly Foods
    Eating foods rich in probiotics, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, bananas, oats, barley, legumes, nuts maintain a healthy gut microbiota. This is essential to prevent constipation, a common pregnancy concern. A healthy gut equals better immunity.

Overall, just remember that a balanced nourishing diet containing whole grains, lean proteins, dairy products, nuts /seeds and fresh fruits, veggies together serve as the best recipe to boost immunity during pregnancy.

Consult the qualified dietitians at Fernandez Hospitals to build an optimal, nutritious diet plan based on your specific pregnancy needs.

The Power Of “Us” Bonding in the time of a pandemic.

Lockdown Time? – That doesn’t sound right. We’d rather say: “Quality Time!”

We can either look at the glass as half full or half empty. It is the best of times, it is the worst of times. That’s how the pandemic has been. A mixed bag of everything. From crisis to opportunity. From tragedy to triumphs. Somehow, each one has been sailing through – trying to survive, staying safe and keeping up the hope.

Particularly, if you are an expectant parent, it sure is a different dimension for you. This time of your life is evidently the most exciting one, and it sadly collides with the global pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. I’m sure you had several plans to spend this special time outdoors. But here you are, confined to your home. Is it really that sad, though? Not really!

As parents-to-be, you should consider this time as a rare and extraordinary opportunity. You wonder, “How?” Well, picture this: under normal circumstances, you would have been working, probably exhausted and stressed out by the end of the day with little or no scope of having value-added time. Now, with you being home, you have plenty of time at your hand. You can use this time positively to create a lasting and permanent effect on your soon-to-be-born child. After all, this journey is a joint enterprise between the three of you.

Positivity, first!

Firstly, the aura of positivity in this relationship is something that the two of you can create. It is for  both of you to decide what you want to offer to your child, who is a silent but active participant in your relationship now. Because of the tough times we are in, it is natural to respond with panic and stress. But remember that your baby growing in the womb internalizes these emotions and responds accordingly. Your unborn baby experiences and understands love, joy, closeness and warmth. It also understands fear, anger and frustration. It is up to the both of you to decide what you want to offer to your baby.

Invest in yourself.

Mommies, this is the time for you to pamper yourself and practice some self-love. This will help boost your confidence, self-esteem and it will help you enjoy the effects of oxytocin.

Baby bonding time.

Here are a few ways to “tune in” and connect with your baby:

* Sing/listen to music. This is a great way of relaxation. You could listen to some quiet chants, sounds of nature, instrumental music or any other soft music you resonate with.

Have daily conversations with your baby. Tell your baby that he or she is wanted, loved, and welcomed. Read stories and speak out lines of positive affirmations.

* Start a scrapbook. Write a baby journal or create a scrapbook and pen down your thoughts and feelings during this time. This could include the various names that you are considering for your baby and anything else you want to communicate. It can also include your pregnancy photos and pics of other important people in your baby’s life. You could also write letters and share them when your baby gets older.

*  Both of you can record messages to your baby..

* Decorate your baby’s room together. This is a very good pre-birth bonding activity.

* Massage is a great way of relaxation. Whether it is a gentle tummy rub or a light touch massage by your partner, do it more often to comfort and reassure each other.

* Exercise and staying fit helps in building up your endorphins which will help you during your labour and birth. Maybe you can alternate between light and moderate physical activities that each of you love.

* Calm down and enjoy some quiet moments and practice your breathing techniques during this time to connect with your baby.

Surround yourself in a cocoon of love, joy, peace and happiness as never before and watch your baby reciprocate to you. Make the best of this time.

 

Anaemia During Pregnancy: Important Things to Know!

Anaemia is a condition in which the number of red blood cells or their oxygen-carrying capacity is insufficient to meet the needs of the body.  Anaemia may be caused by
i) blood loss; ii) decreased red cell production; or iii) increased red cell destruction.

The diagnosis of anaemia is based on the haemoglobin concentration in the blood. Haemoglobin is the protein in the red cells that carries oxygen to the tissues. Iron is required for the synthesis of haemoglobin. In addition, vitamin B12 and folic acid are also needed to produce red cells. A lack of any of these can lead to anaemia, the most common being iron-deficiency anaemia. Requirements for iron in pregnancy are three times higher than in non-pregnant women and the requirement increases as pregnancy advances. Worldwide, one third of pregnant women are anaemic.

Following conditions put the mother at a greater risk of anaemia:

  • Pre-pregnancy anaemia
  • Malnutrition
  • Inadequate spacing between pregnancies
  • Pregnancy with twins or triplets
  • Inadequate iron supplementation

All pregnant women should be screened for anaemia. If anaemia becomes severe, it might be harmful to the mother as well as the baby. Poor work capacity, susceptibility to infection, heart failure, premature and low birth weight babies, excessive bleeding after delivery are some of the complications associated with anaemia in pregnancy.

Here is how you can prevent and treat anaemia:

  • Ensuring normal haemoglobin level before conception
  • Iron-rich foods: dark green leafy vegetables, red meat, eggs, peanuts, dried beans and peas, iron-fortified foods, dried fruits such as apricots and raisins. It is advisable to take a pregnancy specific diet.
  • Pairing iron-rich food or iron tablets with a food or drink high in vitamin C (lemon juice, citrus fruits, or strawberries) can enhance the absorption of iron
  • Calcium, on the other hand, decreases iron absorption and should not be taken in combination with iron-rich food or tablets
  • Folic acid and vitamin B12 should also be supplemented if found deficient
  • Women who are intolerant to oral iron tablets may be advised iron injections

• Women suffering from severe anaemia may need blood transfusion

Sleep during pregnancy: 10 things to remember!

While most of us enjoy a good night’s rest of clean 8 hours, pregnancy can be a time of sleeplessness, discomforts, and health issues. Sleeplessness, snoring, nausea, morning sickness, leg cramps, heartburn etc. are some common problems that affect almost all pregnant women. Due to the lack of sleep, most expectant mothers suffer from fatigue or a sense of feeling low etc. As the pregnancy progresses, women find it difficult to sleep due to uncomfortable sleeping positions. Each trimester brings in different types of sleep problems.

Here are ten tips that will help enhance your sleep quality:

  • Minimize fluid intake before bedtime: It is very essential for a pregnant woman to remain hydrated. So, drink plenty of water during the day and cut down your fluid intake before going to bed. This will minimize frequent urinations during the night.
  • Exercise regularly: To improve circulation of blood, it is very essential to keep moving. You can do pregnancy exercises under a trained pre-natal expert. Proper circulation of blood will reduce leg cramps letting you sleep well at night and elevate your mental health.
  • Drink warm milk: Studies have shown that drinking a glass of milk before going to bed provides good sleep.
  • Have nutritious food: Foods rich in carbohydrates help in promoting sleep. Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet throughout your pregnancy.
  • Avoid heavy meal: Before going to bed, avoid having a heavy meal. During the day, have small meals but frequently.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks: During pregnancy, it would be best to avoid caffeinated drinks, alcohol etc. Besides ensuring better sleep it will also be good for your baby’s health.
  • Take a warm bath: Before going to bed indulge yourself in a warm bath. It will help you feel refreshed and sleep properly.
  • Use pillows: You can use pregnancy pillows while sleeping. Lot of pillows help create cushioning and padding for comfort.
  • Relaxation techniques: Use relaxation techniques at home or join yoga or birthing classes to learn other relaxation techniques to improve your sleep.

Sleep in comfortable positions: Try to sleep comfortably and after the 20th week of pregnancy, sleep on the left side to ensure proper circulation of blood to the placenta.

How to Manage Twin Babies

“Sometimes miracles come in pairs”.

 

Twin pregnancies often evoke feelings of excitement and nervousness and we know that you might be worried about a lot of things.

Here are 9 tips for Twin Baby Management:

  1. Go for frequent antenatal visits as they help monitor complications. Early intervention is always recommended.
  2.  Examine the growth of your twin babies carefully and regularly. Frequent foetal assessment should be done by ultrasounds and by monitoring your twin’s hearts.
  3. A healthy twin pregnancy requires more nutritional intake. Stay hydrated, take your vitamins, and consult your nutritionist for a healthy, balanced diet of protein, fat, and complex carbs.
  4. Have peppermint and ginger tea to get relief from stomach upset and nausea.
  5. Beat the fatigue by maintaining a healthy sleep cycle and taking plenty of rest.
  6.  Eat something healthy which has protein and complex carbs as soon as you wake up.
  1. Try to get some exercise and fresh air. 20-minutes of walking can do wonders for your health and energy.
  2. Newborn Twins might need special care, choose a hospital that offers complete neonatal care.
  3. Complications can appear at any point of time during your twin childbirth and may not always be predictable. It is important to select a hospital that responds well to emergencies, with appropriate facilities, where you can be cared for by experts.

If proper care is taken during your pregnancy, there are minimal chances of complications. You should be in touch with your midwife or obstetrician and chart a birth plan.  Do not be afraid to clear all your doubts. It is also important to discuss the pros and cons of your normal twin birth or caesarean twin birth. Awareness is your greatest aid. Being pregnant with twins can be a lot of work for you, but the reward will be an exciting one.

Book an appointment at our Twin Birth Centre today. Call 1800 419 1397

Twin Pregnancy Symptoms and Early Signs

The first early sign of having twins is pure intuition. Most mothers of twin babies report that they had a sense or feeling that they were expecting multiples, even before they knew for sure. But for many people, the news may come as a complete surprise.

While there is no way to be absolutely sure without an ultrasound, here are 7 alternative symptoms that you can look for:

  1. Morning Sickness: Women pregnant with multiple babies report experiencing elevated levels of morning sickness, or morning sickness that lasts longer into their pregnancy. But this can vary from person to person
  2. High Human chorionic gonadotropin (HcG): Early positive pregnancy test signs of twins is having double or more than expected amount of HCG. Your obstetrician will be able to establish this with a urine test.
  3. High Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP): Through AFP test, a protein is measured which is secreted by the fetal liver. If there is more than one baby, then the amount of protein is high in the mother’s blood.
  4. Second heartbeat: If detected by your OBGYN they will probably ask you to go in for an ultrasound.
  5. Some people report showing earlier when pregnant with twins.
  6. Early-onset or heavy Fatigue could be a possible sign of twins.
  7. Weight Gain: During the first trimester of your pregnancy, weight gain is usually relatively low. Increased weight gain can be a twin baby symptom. Monitor your BMI and keep your OBGYN posted.

While a pregnancy with twins or multiples is exciting, it comes with some risks. Focusing on your health and seeking prenatal care is especially important during a twin pregnancy.

Early signs of twins cannot tell you for sure whether you are pregnant with two or more babies, but regular prenatal appointments and testing can. Always discuss your concerns with your OBGYN and take good care of yourself — no matter how many babies you are carrying.

Book an appointment with our Twin Birth Centre Today. Call 1800 419 1397

 

 

8 Psychological Benefits of Yoga during Pregnancy

8 Psychological Benefits of Yoga during Pregnancy

We all have felt that blissful calm that follows a good meditation. Something about deep breathing and drawing one’s consciousness inwards truly uplifts and strengthens the mind. Pregnancy-related changes can sometimes put one on an internal roller coaster. Yoga helps you to harmonize your body and mind and provide a better sense of well-being.

30 -minutes of yoga a day keeps the mind and body happy and healthy for the baby on the way.
Here are 8 reasons why we highly recommend yoga for your psychological well-being:

  1. Yoga helps with breathing, relaxation and thereby mood elevation. Breathing exercises also have a positive affect on the foetal heart rate and movement.
  2. Stress during pregnancy can have adverse effects on the foetus and its overall development. Yoga regulates the stress hormone- Cortisol and helps reduce maternal stress and anxiety.
  3. Yoga harmonizes the body and mind and may initiate psychophysiological change in pregnant women. Yoga concerts behavioural alterations. It reduces the frequency of mood swings, pain responses and improves overall psychosocial functioning.
  4. Improved psychological functioning helps strengthen and maintain interpersonal relationships.
  5. Meditation helps overcome the various physical, emotional, and mental states that arise during pregnancy.
  6. Pain management through yoga is becoming more popular as women are seeking alternatives to analgesics and anaesthesia. Yoga offers relaxation therapies and self-soothing techniques.
  7. Strength training and resilience building through yoga has fitness benefits pre-and post-pregnancy.
  8. It promotes self-confidence, self-efficacy, and coping ability; aspects that are important for a positive labour experience.

30-minutes of Yoga at least a few times a week can have many physical and psycho-emotional benefits for both mother and baby. And therefore, we highly recommend it.

Fernandez Hospital has taken the initiative to offer online prenatal yoga classes. Our comprehensive yoga programme has been uniquely designed to uplift your mind and body throughout your pregnancy. Our main goal is to help you stay fit and prepare you for labour, expert style. To register with us for online yoga classes, please call +91 8008570465.

References

Curtis, K., Weinrib, A., & Katz, J. (2012). Systematic review of yoga for pregnant women: current status and future directions. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine: eCAM, 2012, 715942. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/715942

10 Reasons to Practice Yoga During Pregnancy

 

10 Reasons to Practice Yoga During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, any physical exertion seems like a scary thing to do. Research has shown that 30-minutes of physical exercise a day can have several benefits for both the mother and the baby. An agility building, relaxation-oriented yoga routine can help prepare your body for labour and improve your overall well-being. After all, Happy Mothers make Happy Babies.

If you still feel on the fence about practising yoga during pregnancy. Here are 10 Physical Benefits of Yoga to help you make up your mind.

  1. Yoga helps with nervous system regulation and physiological system functioning(i.e., immune, endocrine, neurotransmitter, and cardiovascular).
  2. It is known to improve psychological well-being (e.g., frequency of positive mood states and optimism) and physical fitness (e.g., strength, flexibility, and endurance).
  3. Studies show that practising yoga promotes harmony between the mother and foetus.  
  4. It helps regulate heart rate and reduce inflammatory markers.
  5. Physical exercise of any kind improves prenatal and post-partum health variables.
  6. Pregnancy can be a stressful time for expectant mothers and yoga is excellent for stress management. It is known to reduce the production of the stress hormone- Cortisol. Stress can have adverse effects on foetal Development during critical periods, resulting in poor outcomes regarding the length of gestation, foetal growth, birth weight, foetal development, and the foetal nervous system.
  7. Breathing exercises or deep relaxation positively affect both foetal heart rate and foetal movement. 
  8. Lack of physical exercise can cause oedema, gestational hypertension, diabetes, mood instability, musculoskeletal discomfort, aches, and weight gain.
  9. Yoga calms the mind and body, providing the physical and emotional relief which your body needs throughout pregnancy. A lot of women also practice prenatal yoga for normal birthing.
  10. Yoga not only prepares your body for birth but also promotes self-confidence, self-efficacy, and coping ability; aspects that are important for a positive birthing experience.

To reap the maximum benefits of prenatal yoga, make sure to join a comprehensive yoga program. Fernandez Hospital’s online prenatal yoga classes have been uniquely designed to help you throughout your pregnancy. Our main goal is to help you stay fit and prepare you for labour, expert style. To register for our online yoga classes, please call: +91 8008570465

References

Curtis, K., Weinrib, A., & Katz, J. (2012). Systematic review of yoga for pregnant women: current status and future directions. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine: eCAM, 2012, 715942. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/715942

Physical and Psychological Benefits of Yoga in Pregnancy

Physical and Psychological Benefits of Yoga in Pregnancy

Physical exercise during pregnancy can be daunting. However, research has proved that 30-minutes of exercise a day has numerous benefits for both mother and baby. Not only does it prepare your body for the baby to come but also furthers overall well-being. Happy mothers make happy babies.

When it comes to being physically active in your prenatal routine, it is important to take extra care to accommodate the needs of the baby growing inside you. Yoga has been proven to be beneficial for pregnant women. The only adverse health outcome that has been reported is uterine contractions, which can be monitored with a modified approach and appropriate activity reduction. A golden rule to keep in mind is to always listen to your body and stop immediately if you are experiencing any type of discomfort. All postures should be regularly adjusted as per the size of your baby bump. Avoid yoga that emphasize on physically demanding, strength bases or heated practices for the safety of both mother and foetus. The benefits of yoga during pregnancy far outweigh the risks and with the right consultation, you can design a routine for yourself that suits your pregnant body and your baby’s needs.

Some Benefits of Yoga

  • Improved foetal and maternal harmony: Yoga reduces inflammatory markers, decreases heart rate, improves prenatal and post-partum fitness variables.
  • Helps manage stress and reduce levels of the hormone cortisol and other associated symptoms that accompany pregnancy, such as oedema, gestational hypertension or diabetes, mood instability, musculoskeletal discomfort, aches, and weight gain.
  • Breathing exercises or deep relaxation techniques which improve both foetal heart rate and foetal movement.
  • Yoga helps calm the mind and body.
  • Mediation and self-soothing techniques help manage various physical, emotional, mental, and pain states that arise through the stages of pregnancy and labour.
  • Improved psychological functioning results in better interpersonal relationships.

Considering these physical and psycho-emotional aspects of pregnancy Yoga not only prepares your body for birth but also promotes self-confidence, self-efficacy, and coping ability; aspects that are important for a positive labour experience.
To reap the maximum benefits of prenatal yoga, make sure to join a comprehensive yoga program. Fernandez Hospital’s online prenatal yoga classes help you build both physical and emotional strength and benefit through pregnancy, labour, and birth outcomes. To register for our online yoga classes, please call: +91 8008570465

References

Curtis, K., Weinrib, A., & Katz, J. (2012). Systematic review of yoga for pregnant women: current status and future directions. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine: eCAM2012, 715942. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/715942