Pregnancy is a life- changing experience altogether for all would-be parents. But for woman, it is slightly more challenging because, during this stage, a woman undergoes dynamic changes within her body, physical appearance, and emotional & hormonal levels.
In this article, we tell you some valuable tips and burst old myths from medical experts, to empower you & your partner walk through all the 9 months responsibly & successfully.
Understand your role
While she prepares herself to be a would- be mother, she also embraces weight gain, stretch marks, morning sickness, mood swings, urine incontinence, frequent urination, constipation, bloating, indigestion, unusual cravings and body aches.
On the contrary, men don’t go through any physical changes, however, there are a few things, as mentioned below, that men can do to facilitate and support a happy pregnancy period.
- Being with the partner as much as possible such as during clinic visits, movies and shopping together.
- Help their partner get sleep & remain stress free.
- Ensure their partner takes timely & healthy food intake throughout 9 months.
- Take part in co-activities such as walking & yoga together most of the times.
- Try to be more responsible, compassionate and keep extra patience during episodes of emotional turmoil.
By doing all the above, men not only provide support but also feel and understand each phase of the pregnancy better and perform together like a team.
Keep a constant check on weight gain
Weight gain is bound to happen during pregnancy, and an increase of 4-6 kgs per trimester is considered healthy. But that does not mean that one should completely let things go out of control by eating whatever comes to the plate.
It is a common misconception that a pregnant woman should eat for “two people” that is to eat double. There is no scientific evidence which says eating more than required amounts helps in pregnancy in any which way. Rather, a healthy diet, which is well balanced in all macro and micronutrients, will help one to develop the unborn child nutritionally. Eating high sugar & fat items are highly discouraged to prevent the would be mother from gestational diabetes & high cholesterol.
Infact, one can discuss their optimum calorific requirement with doctor and nutritionist who will help frame out apt food charts which will be beneficial to both mother and the child even post-delivery.
Big “No” to outside food & “Yes” to all the health-friendly ones
Pregnancy comes with its own share of cravings, and tasty- spicy outside food is the easiest delight we all want to gorge on. But more often, with the taste comes unwanted infections which irritate the gastrointestinal tract and leads to stomach disturbances. In normal conditions, one can pop in medicines such as antibiotics to control the harmful bacteria & viruses, but during pregnancy the use of medicines is hugely restricted due to the possible side effects to the developing foetus. Hence everyone is urged to prepare such spicy mouth-watering recipes at home and keep away from infections, adulterants, chemical colours and preservatives as much as possible.
Get required amounts of vitamins & minerals with special reference to vitamin A, D & E
Studies have proven that there is a direct correlation between vitamin A, D, C & E and stretch marks, body pain and over all health. So, getting enough amounts of vitamin D can reduce the appearance of stretch marks effectively. The best and natural way to get vitamin D is to get proper sun exposure in the early hours of a day (preferably from 5.30 AM to 6.30AM). Similarly, essential minerals rich in antioxidants, calcium, zinc, iron, and omega 3 fatty acids are extremely beneficial for skin and help to prevent dryness of the skin. Foods like dark chocolate, kidney beans, sweet potato, fortified cereals, nuts, spinach, salmon, cod liver oil, and walnuts not only promote health but can also manage morning sickness and nausea to a great extent.
Take doctor’s advice before indulging into sexual activities
There has been a lot of speculation & myths around sexual activities during pregnancy, but experts suggest that sexual intercourse during pregnancy is not harmful, provided, the pregnancy is uncomplicated. Hence, speaking to a doctor is very essential because every pregnancy is different and if one has known complications, then refraining from sexual activities is a must to keep away from unwanted conditions.
Also, a lot depends upon the comfort level of your partner keeping in mind, the stage of pregnancy. Substantial research hints that having sexual intercourse during the later stages of pregnancy specially during the 7th & 8th month can induce unexpected labour & general discomfort.
Additionally, a partner’s support during this time is very important and you are highly encouraged to discuss with your doctor openly about all the Do’s & Don’ts regarding sex during pregnancy.
Stay hydrated & moisturize daily
Sight & thought of stretch marks forever are bothersome to would-be mothers. The poetic way of describing them are “tigress stripes”, baby’s first art athestically, but cosmetically, they are considered as an issue. Stretch marks are inevitable and are more likely to appear in the first trimester of pregnancy, while drastically increasing in the third trimester if not managed properly. However, it is said that they can’t be completely prevented, but proper care at the right time can help one to deal effectively and diminish stretch marks to a great extent.
The management of stretch marks should be started especially right from the first trimester, as skin starts to stretch during this period and reaches its maximum elasticity in the last trimester. So early care manages the stretch marks to a greater extent by nourishing the skin in its primary stages itself. Regular moisturizing of the skin with creams containing shea butter, cocoa butter, aloe vera and vitamin E or regular application of olive oil, coconut oil, homemade clarified butter not only leaves the skin supple but also increases blood circulation. Additionally, frequent sips of water throughout the day keeps you hydrated and ensures soft & supple skin.
Do Prenatal yoga & light walking daily
Prenatal yoga & light walking are not only good for physical flexibility & strength, but they are also exceedingly good for the mind. Additionally, the breathing techniques which are adopted while practicing yogic exercises provide excellent oxygen flow to the mother and the unborn baby. However, precautions are to be taken as all yoga exercises are not good during pregnancy. As per the experts, Sukhasana (Easy pose), Baddha konasana (Bound angle pose), padmasana (lotus pose) and convenient forward bend are very good poses when done properly under guidance of an experienced instructor. These exercises calm the body & mind along with building tensile strength.
Avoid anxiety, blood pressure & needless worrying completely
Last but not the least, high blood pressure, anxiety & needless worrying are the worst enemies for your unborn child. Low childbirth weight & pre-term delivery occurs in would-be mothers who remain stressed out & anxious for known or unnecessary reasons. Prolonged high blood pressure affects the mother’s blood vessels often decreasing flow in the placenta which eventually leads to serious condition. Hence keep a regular check on blood pressure and, in case, the high blood pressure becomes chronic during pregnancy, then consult with a doctor immediately.