Ways to Control Obesity During Pregnancy

Most women are overweight when pregnant. Some gain too much weight after being pregnant. When your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or greater, you are said to be obese. Gaining too much weight and reaching a stage of obesity creates a variety of complications during pregnancy.


Problems related to pregnancy due to obesity

If you are obese, you must take care of your health and that of your would-be baby by losing weight before you plan on getting pregnant. Obesity during pregnancy may put you at risk of a variety of problems that include:


  • Gestational Diabetes: This occurs during pregnancy and if you are obese there is a greater chance of suffering from this problem. Due to gestational diabetes, you may end up having a caesarean section. Moreover, it increases the risk of the mother and the baby suffering from diabetes in the later stages of their lives.
  • High Blood Pressure: Obesity can also lead to high blood pressure during pregnancy which is also known as preeclampsia. In some cases, it may lead to seizures, kidney or liver failure etc.
  • Miscarriage: Obese women are at a higher risk of miscarriage compared to women with normal weight.
  • Birth Defects: Obesity can lead to various type of birth defects like neural tube defects, heart defects etc.
  • Preterm Birth: Preterm birth may occur if you are suffering from obesity during pregnancy.

What to do if you are obese during pregnancy?

Losing weight during pregnancy is not good, but if you are obese, try not to gain much weight. You can keep yourself and your baby healthy by limiting weight gain. If you are obese you may adopt the following ways to keep on track with weight gain.


  • Healthy diet: During pregnancy, it is very essential to have a healthy diet as recommended by your nutritionist. Avoid junk and unhealthy foods.
  • Drink plenty of water: During pregnancy, you should drink lots of water. Water not only helps in keeping you and your developing baby healthy but also in preventing hunger.
  • Have light meals: If you don’t want to gain much weight, eat light meals frequently instead of heavy meals. Light meals provide the required energy without increasing your weight.
  • Avoid eating for two: Pregnancy doesn’t mean that you have to eat for two. Eating for two makes you put on lots of excess weight which is not good at all for obese pregnant women.
  • Exercise: Daily exercise helps a lot in limiting excess weight gain. If you are a beginner, you can go for pregnancy exercises like swimming and low impact aerobics. But do consult your doctor before doing any one of these.
  • Walking: You can walk slowly for 20 to 30 minutes daily. Walking helps in keeping yourself fit and healthy.

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Are Weight Checks Necessary During Pregnancy

When a woman becomes pregnant, she is offered an array of blood tests, urine test, ultrasound scans etc. to check if everything is fine for her to carry the baby in the womb. In addition, weight and height is checked to calculate the BMI (Body Mass Index).


As pregnancy progresses, you will start gaining extra weight as the baby in the womb starts growing. During the first trimester, you will not gain much weight as your baby is small and you might suffer from morning sickness and nausea. In the second trimester, you will start picking up weight. During the third trimester, you will gain more weight as your baby develops at a faster rate.


Monitoring Pregnancy Weight


The weight of the baby is not the only factor responsible for weight gain. Placenta, amniotic fluid, increased volume of blood, bigger size of the uterus, fat that gets stored in the body etc. are all responsible for the extra weight. So, in order to check whether the pregnant woman is within the optimal weight range, it is standard procedure to record her weight at each antenatal check-up. Monitoring weight gain of the pregnant woman helps to check the following:

  • It helps in keeping a check that the pregnant woman does not gain weight outside weight gain recommendation.
  • It helps in monitoring the growth of the baby closely. Weight gain higher than normal may lead to a big baby, while weight gain lower than recommended may lead to a small baby. Both cases are not good for the baby.
  • Weight checks help in detecting preeclampsia. The sudden gain of excess weight leads to different types of health complications.

Though weight monitoring is not the only way to check the wellbeing of the mother and the baby, weight recording during the prenatal check-ups will keep you updated about the extra weight you are gaining during the whole pregnancy period.

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How To Safeguard From Summer Heat During Pregnancy

Summer which is both hated and loved has arrived. With temperatures soaring and hot winds blowing, it becomes very difficult to cope during summers now-a-days. The best way to enjoy the flavours of summer is by being prepared to beat the heat.


This is the time of the year you can nourish your body and mind with delicious seasonal fruits like mangoes, watermelons, pineapples etc. which are loaded with variety of nutrients. These fruits not only make you healthy and feel refreshed but also help in making your skin glow and hair shine.

However, getting the best of out of summer depends on how you beat the heat and enjoy the offerings of the season. Here are some tips to stay cool and healthy during summer.


  • One of the most important things during summer is staying hydrated. So, drink lots of fluids like water, fruit and vegetable juices etc. It will help you to retain the fluids lost while sweating. Carry a water bottle along with you whenever you step out of your house.
  • Using an umbrella, hat and sunglasses will help you avoid direct contact with sunrays and keep you comfortable.
  • Have a proper breakfast during summer as it prevents dizziness and low blood pressure. Have small but frequent meals during the hot days as it will keep you healthy.
  • Stay away from heavy foods and focus on light and refreshing food options. Light meals are easy to digest making you feel comfortable during the summer season.


  • To stay cool and comfortable, wear loose fitting cotton clothes and flip flops.
  • Avoid alcoholic drinks, caffeine etc. during summer as they may speed up the loss of fluids.
  • Avoid staying in closed, parked cars during summer which may lead to suffocation etc.
  • Whenever you go out use sunscreen lotion adequately to prevent tan and rashes.
  • Have lot of seasonal fruits and fresh vegetables to keep you fit and healthy.

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Detecting Baby’s Heartbeat on Ultrasound

From the time you conceive till the birth of the child, your body undergoes different changes. One of the many processes going on is the development of the baby. This is quite a delicate process — the time sperm and egg meet, to the formation of the baby, till its development.


Pregnancy and Ultrasound Scans

Ultrasound scans are performed at different stages of pregnancy to check the health of the baby along with other essential information like growth of the baby, any abnormality, placental position etc. They also help in letting the doctor know if the pregnant woman is carrying a single child or more. Ultrasound scans are tests done with the help of sound waves that provide visual images of the baby along with the placenta, uterus and other organs.


Detection of Baby’s Heartbeat

As every woman is different from another, so is their pregnancy. So, the time of detecting the baby’s heartbeat also varies. But, in general, by the beginning of the sixth week, the heartbeat of the baby is visible by doing an ultrasound scan. At this stage, the heartbeat is just like a flicker on the chest of the baby. However, in some cases, you may not see the heartbeat by the sixth week. But there is nothing to worry about. The normal heart rate of a baby at the beginning is around 90 to 110 beats per 60 seconds.

When the embryonic heartbeat is detected on the sixth week, it indicates that your pregnancy is safe and there is a little chance of miscarriage. In pregnancies, where the embryonic heartbeat is not detected in this period, the mothers-to-be are required to do another scan after 3 to 5 days. As the pregnancy progresses i.e. on the 9th week, the average heartbeat of the foetus would be around 120 to 160 beats per 60 seconds.

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Why Your Workout Should Change With Pregnancy

Exercising during pregnancy is good for both the mother and the baby. It helps in lessening different kinds of discomforts, pains etc. which occur during pregnancy. Pregnant women can continue with the workouts they have been doing before getting pregnant. However, certain changes should be made with the pre-pregnancy workouts so that you feel comfortable doing the exercises and it doesn’t hurt your baby. It is very essential to seek your doctor’s advice before indulging in any kind of workout during pregnancy.


Reasons for modifying your pre-pregnancy workout during pregnancy:

  1. Change in Posture: During pregnancy many changes occur in the woman’s body. The weights of the baby, uterus, growing breasts, amniotic fluid etc. are some factors responsible for weight gain. And the increased weight makes your posture change. Your shoulders may be rounded and your hips may be tilted forward. Due to the postural changes, you would suffer from different types of body pain. So, in order to reduce pain during pregnancy, you should focus on workouts that strengthen your core muscles.
  2. Weak Pelvic Floor Muscles: The weight of the baby, uterus etc. makes your pelvic floor muscles weak. To make your pelvic floor muscles strong, you can indulge in pelvic floor exercises and kegels during pregnancy and after childbirth, as well.

Time to Stop Workouts

Though exercising is good during pregnancy, you should stop doing any form of exercises if you suffer from any of the following and consult your doctor.

  • Out of breath before doing exercise
  • Bleeding or spotting
  • Chest pain, joint pain and stomach pain
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Walking difficulty
  • Decrease in the movement of the foetus
  • Leakage of amniotic fluid
  • Risk of Preterm labour


Workout points to remember during pregnancy

  • Avoid lying flat on your back for too long while doing workouts.
  • Reduce the intensity and frequency of workouts during the last trimester at your doctor’s recommendation.
  • Don’t indulge in uncomfortable jumps and twists during workouts
  • Avoid contact sports or workouts which have the possibility of getting you out of balance.
  • Avoid workouts that put too much pressure on your abdominal area.
  • Workout when the climate is not too hot and humid or in temperature controlled environment.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and good supportive undergarments during  workouts.
  • Wear the right shoes which are comfortable.
  • Hydrate yourself before, after and during workouts with water or juices.
  • In order to keep your energy high, you can have a light snack before doing workouts


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Hygiene during pregnancy

During pregnancy, it is very essential to take proper care of your health as it not only helps you to stay fit but also keeps your baby healthy. From a healthy diet to keeping yourself clean, you need to take proper care of everything you do. Personal hygiene is one of the vital factors for a healthy pregnancy.


Importance of maintaining proper hygiene during pregnancy

When you get pregnant, your body tends to undergo many uncomfortable changes due to the increase in blood circulation and hormonal changes. This results in frequent urination, perspiration, vaginal secretions etc.

The baby in the womb is vulnerable and weak. If the expectant mother does not maintain proper personal hygiene, there are more chances of infection which may harm the baby. The would-be mother also suffers from various infections that affect the skin, stomach, urinary tract etc. Thus, it becomes very necessary for expectant mothers to maintain a healthy personal hygiene.

Tips for maintaining healthy hygiene during pregnancy

  • Clothing: For pregnant women, it is very important to wear washed clothes as it helps prevent infections and irritation of skin. Throughout pregnancy, you should wear loose and comfortable cotton clothes as cotton is said to be the ideal fabric for expectant mothers. It helps in absorbing any discharge and dries quickly. As milk secretion is possible during the third trimester, wearing cotton maternity bra with pads will help to absorb the leakage of colostrum from the nipples. Moreover, you should avoid wearing sweaty clothes for longer period of time.
  • Breast care: To prevent nipple irritation, it is very important to wash your breast and nipples properly with water so that the dry colostrum gets removed. Caring for your breast will help you maintain good personal hygiene.
  • Genital care: Pregnant women should take special care to keep their pubic area hair-free and clean but you should not douche. It thus helps in preventing genital infections which may affect the developing baby. To maintain the pH level, you should use mild and unperfumed genital wash.
  • Dental care: During pregnancy, teeth care is another important factor of hygiene. Due to the increase in estrogen level, pregnant women may suffer from gum sensitivity or swelling. You should make sure that you brush twice daily to keep your teeth and gums free of infections.


  • Wash hands: In order to prevent stomach infections, you should wash your hands properly before eating. If you go to work or any other place, use sanitizer before having food. In addition, have fruits and vegetables that are washed properly and use clean utensils.


  • Skin and hair care: As the oil glands become more active during the pregnancy your scalp might turn oily. So, shampoo your hair regularly using mild shampoo. Avoid taking bath in a bathtub as there is a higher chance of vaginal infection as the water gets dirty in the bathtub. Use the shower or a mug to take a bath and natural bath products to wash your skin.

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Benefits of Coconut Water during Pregnancy


Extremely refreshing with a slight sweet taste, coconut water helps you to keep hydrated. Rich in electrolytes and essential nutrients like potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, vitamin C and certain B vitamins, coconut water helps in giving you instant relief from fatigue and tiredness by reviving the salts lost by your body.

Coconut water is produced naturally in the fruit and contains 94% water and very little fat. It should not be confused with coconut milk, which is made by adding water to grated coconut meal. Coconut milk contains about 50% water and is very high in coconut fat.


Is it safe to drink coconut water during pregnancy?

Coconut water helps a pregnant woman to get refreshed as she often suffers from dehydration and exhaustion. These occur due to rapid physical changes, increased fluid requirement and the additional needs of the developing baby in the womb.

As a healthy oral rehydrating fluid, it is safe for pregnant women. It is recommended that it be had in moderation so that you gain all the nutritional benefits. Fresh and tender coconut water could be the perfect alternative to sodas or caffeinated fluids. Even though drinking coconut water is safe during pregnancy, consulting your doctor/nutritionist is always advisable.



Benefits of coconut water during pregnancy

  • Keeps you energised: Rich in electrolytic content, coconut water helps refuel your body with essential nutrients keeping you energised when you feel exhausted or suffer from diarrhoea.
  • Boosts immunity: The presence of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants strengthens the immunity of the Mom-to-be. So, consuming coconut water during pregnancy can help both mother and baby be healthy.
  • Prevents constipation and heartburn: As digestive problems are common during pregnancy, consuming coconut water helps in preventing acidity, maintaining pH levels and relieves nausea. It also helps in soothing and preventing heartburn during pregnancy.
  • Maintains blood sugar level: Coconut water contains sugars which can help raise your blood sugar level when you’re hypoglycemic, and reenergise you. It is a natural isotonic fluid.
  • Prevents urinary tract infection: It has been found that consumption of tender coconut water helps during urinary tract infection which occurs in most pregnant women.


Though there are numerous health benefits of coconut water during pregnancy, it doesn’t act as a medicinal cure for severe and chronic diseases. Take your doctor’s/nutritionist advice about the quantity of water to be consumed.

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Baby Feeding – From Months 1 to 12


Breastfeeding is the best way to feed and nurture your infant as breast milk contains all the nutrients required for your baby to develop in a healthy manner. Breast milk gets digested easily and helps in protecting your baby from infections and diarrhoea. Moreover, breastfeeding helps in burning the extra kilos you gained during pregnancy.  It also creates a special bond between you and your baby.


Signs of your baby feeling hungry

Being a mother for the first time, it is very hard to know when your baby is hungry. You should spend as much time as possible with your baby so that you get to know how your baby reacts at different times. If your baby is hungry he/she will do the following things:

  • Sucks fist
  • Cries
  • Makes faces as if getting irritated

Signs of your baby being full

It is very important that you don’t overfeed your baby. If your baby does the following things, it is a sign that he/she is full:

  • Stops sucking
  • Closes lip
  • Turns the head away


Month-wise summary of baby feeding:

As your baby starts growing, apart from breastfeeding you can give your baby different types of food. You can consult your doctor, if you have any doubt. Below is a month-wise summary:

Birth to Month 6 – Exclusive breastfeeding

From the time of birth till your baby becomes six months old, your baby should be breastfed. As the digestive system is still developing, it can digest only milk. Mothers who cannot breastfeed may go for formula milk.

Month 6

It is better that during this period you continue breastfeeding or bottle feeding your baby. You should not be in a rush to start solid foods as your baby is still not ready for this. But you can go for pureed vegetables, pureed fruits or semi-liquid cereals.

Months 7 to 9

By the time your baby becomes seven months, teeth will start appearing. This varies from baby to baby and in some cases, teeth may appear even before. Some babies may have no teeth till the end of a year. Whatever the case, you can start giving your baby semi-solid foods. So, instead of pureed foods you can give mashed food.

Months 10 to 12

By the time your baby is around ten months, you can give it finely chopped foods while continuing to give mashed foods till your baby becomes a year old. When you change the texture of the food, remember to watch your baby carefully and see whether he/she is adapting to the change or not.


Tips for baby feeding:

  • While feeding pureed, semi-solid or solid foods, you should always start with small amounts. At each feeding, your baby will let you know if he/she requires more or not.
  • In order to prevent your baby from choking or tooth decay, avoid putting your baby to bed with a milk bottle in the mouth.
  • Support your baby’s head till the time he/she can hold the head on its own.

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Morning Sickness and How to Cope With It!

What is morning sickness?

Most pregnant women suffer from morning sickness which occurs in the first three months of pregnancy. Also known as nausea, pregnancy sickness or vomiting in pregnancy, it is caused due to the high level of pregnancy hormones that are produced in your body. Though morning sickness makes you feel lousy, it doesn’t have any effect on the baby.


In the early weeks of pregnancy, human chorionic hormone (HCH) provides the nutrients required for the foetus. When the placenta starts nourishing the foetus with the required nutrients, the level of these hormones drops resulting in elimination of morning sickness. During the first trimester, most women are susceptible to smells that leads to vomiting. In some cases, morning sickness is mild, but this not the same for all. By the end of the first trimester, morning sickness settles down, though in some women, it continues a little bit longer.

How to tackle morning sickness?

Though it is difficult to prevent morning sickness completely, following these tips might help minimise the effects.

  • Take rest: Taking rest as much as possible helps in reducing morning sickness. Ensure proper sleep at night and keep yourself relaxed and stress free. Tiredness and stress may worsen morning sickness.
  • Eat little but frequently: It is very essential to keep your stomach full. And for that you have to eat in small amounts but frequently. It will also help in keeping your sugar level controlled and lower the chances of experiencing morning sickness. If your stomach remains empty, the acids will work on the stomach lining resulting in vomiting.
  • Remain active: During pregnancy, it is very important to keep yourself fit and active. Even if you feel lousy, you should try to keep yourself physically active. This helps in lowering nausea to a great level.
  • Get up slowly: If you are pregnant, you should always remember to get up slowly from sleeping or sitting positions. Always take your time to get up.
  • Eat healthy food: You should include protein rich food. Food containing vitamin B and other healthy options is good for both the mother and baby. Try to avoid junk and unhealthy food as these may trigger nausea and vomiting.
  • Stay hydrated: Staying hydrated with fluid intake is one of the best options to keep you healthy during pregnancy. Your nausea may worsen if you stay dehydrated.
  • Ginger tea: Having a cup of ginger tea is found to be helpful in minimising nausea. Ginger helps in soothing your stomach.
  • Lemon: The aroma of cut lemon can help in reducing nausea. You can even add slices of lemon to tea or water to get relief from nausea.


Seek your doctor’s advice if morning sickness is severe

If you are pregnant and suffering from mild morning sickness, you can adopt the above tips to minimise it. But if it worsens, it is better to consult your doctor. Normally, nausea goes away at the end of the first trimester. Taking good care of yourself is a key to healthy pregnancy.


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Role of Folic Acid during Pregnancy

Folic acid is very important for all women during pregnancy. Also known as folate, folic acid is a B vitamin and plays a vital role in the production of red blood cells. There are lots of folic acid rich foods but only dietary source of folic acid is not sufficient during pregnancy. So, folic acid supplement is necessary along with folate rich foods for a healthy pregnancy. In fact, it should be taken before you are pregnant, though on the recommendation of your doctor who will know better how much folic acid your body needs before, during and after pregnancy.


Dietary sources of folic acid include:


  • Green leafy vegetables – Rich sources are amaranth, ambat chukka, spinach, mint
  • Oilseeds like gingelly (til) and soya bean
  • Orange Juice
  • Chickpeas
  • Other legumes like green gram and red gram
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Asparagus
  • Black-eyed beans
  • Okra
  • Cluster beans
  • Enriched grains

Since, folates get dissolved in water, boiling the vegetables and draining off the water will destroy all the folates they contain. So, it is better that the vegetables are steamed or cooked in a microwave to help you to get all the nutrients.

Benefits of folic acid during pregnancy:

  • Produces red blood cells
  • Protects your baby from neural tube defects like spina bifida
  • Prevents your baby from birth defects like cleft palate
  • Protects you from suffering from anaemia
  • Prevents your baby from brain defects like anencephaly


Most of the defects occur during the first month of pregnancy when most women don’t even realize that they are pregnant. It is better to plan your pregnancy and have the required amount of folic acid before getting pregnant or during the childbearing age. But consuming more than recommended may be harmful to you and your baby’s health. So, take folic acid supplements as recommended and have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

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