If you’ve been following our Passport To A Healthy Pregnancy contest, you would be familiar with Dr. Gita Arjun, noted Chennai-based obstetrician-gynaecologist, whose book, Passport To A Healthy Pregnancy started it all!
Besides all the tips shared generously by participating bloggers, we asked Dr. Gita Arjun to share her pregnancy tips as well, and here are some she chose to pass on to Women’s Web readers. (More information is available at her website, Passport to Health.)
1. You can climb stairs in the first three months of pregnancy and through your pregnancy. Be as active as possible.
2. Vegetables provide vitamins, minerals and roughage. Try to include 3-4 servings per day. A salad with fresh vegetables is highly recommended. 2-3 servings of fruit should be included daily. The old wives’ tale of not eating papaya, pineapple and mangoes in pregnancy has no basis in science.
3. Taking folic acid supplements can help prevent neural tube defects like spina bifida and anencephaly. To do this, they must be taken before you get pregnant and in early pregnancy. The time when the developing neural tube needs the folic acid often occurs before a woman knows she is pregnant. Therefore, all women trying for a pregnancy should take a daily supplement containing at least 0.4 mg of folic acid. Women, who already have a child with a neural tube defect, must take at least 4 mg of folic acid daily to prevent a recurrence in the next pregnancy.
4. Adolescent girls and women in the child-bearing age group should take an iron supplement for at least three months in each year. The ideal supplement will contain 60-100 mg of elemental iron in the form of ferrous sulphate, ferrous fumarate or ferrous gluconate.
5. It is safe to have intercourse in pregnancy, even in the first 3 months. Your doctor may advise you to avoid intercourse for 2 weeks if you have had bleeding in pregnancy.
6. Babies born to mothers with diabetes are not born with diabetes. Large babies born to diabetic mothers are more likely to become obese and to develop Type 2 diabetes later in life. Unless they are trained to develop healthy eating and regular exercise habits as they grow up, they have a greater chance for obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
7. When you exercise, extra care must be taken not to hurt the back. In pregnancy, the normal curve of the small of the back is exaggerated because of the growing size of the uterus. There is a tendency to low back pain. Avoid positions and exercises that increase the curve in your back. Make sure that your exercise regimen is supervised by a person who is trained to teach pregnancy exercises.
8. Some women are worried that a forceps delivery or a vacuum extraction can harm the baby. This is not true. When a child is born with cerebral palsy or mental retardation, parents are sometimes quick to blame the use of instruments. In reality, instrumental deliveries cannot result in a baby being born with mental retardation or cerebral palsy.
9. As your abdomen and breasts grow during pregnancy, they may become stretched and marked with reddish lines. By the end of the pregnancy almost all pregnant women will get stretch marks on their abdomen, and sometimes on the buttocks, breasts, or thighs. The number of stretch marks you get depends on your genetic makeup. Just apply plenty of moisturising lotion to the skin to keep it supple. Do not waste money on lotions and creams which promise to prevent stretch marks.
10. Most women are alarmed by the hair loss which usually occurs after having a baby. This loss is related to hormonal changes. Normal hair growth will resume about 3-6 months after delivery.