Pregnancy is a wonderful time in a woman’s life. A first time pregnancy is even more special. For women who are experiencing this phase for the first time, it’s important to understand that pregnancy is not a disease. It needs to be considered a physiological extension and so, extra care needs to be taken.
As the pregnancy advances, it is important to be cognisant of the changes your body will experience. You should be able to recognise any alarming signs during pregnancy.
Dr Jayashree Nagaraj Bhasgi, Senior Gynaecologist and Obstetrician, Fortis Hospital, Richmond Road, Bengaluru, shares some of the best tips for first time pregnancy. Follow these do’s and don’ts during your pregnancy.
In the first trimester of pregnancy, it is common for women to experience nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. Morning sickness is usual for several women. It is also common for some to feel tired, lethargic and sleepy during this early stage. This is because of the increase in pregnancy hormones. Your obstetrician will give you medication for the same, along with folic acid. If the vomiting is severe despite taking medications, where one is unable to eat or retain fluids, it’s mandatory to reach out to your doctor who will assess your general health specifically for dehydration and for treat you accordingly.
Eating on time, drinking enough fluids frequently will prevent dehydration and weight loss. Homemade healthy food should be good enough. As the pregnancy advances nausea and vomiting almost stops after the first trimester and the woman starts feeling better, her appetite will improve.
Travelling out station and two-wheeler rides are better avoided in the first trimester. If you are a working woman, you may continue to work provided you are not jeopardising your pregnancy by taking up demanding or stressful work. Being active helps
It’s important to remember that weight gain during pregnancy can be very rapid for women who don’t watch out what they eat and spend time mostly resting. Permissible weight gain is 1 kg per month for those who started their pregnancy at an ideal body weight and Body Mass Index. If there is a rapid weight gain due to unhealthy eating habits, one is prone to developing diabetes and hypertension in pregnancy.
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Your diet during first pregnancy should be balanced and should include more of complex carbohydrates such as vegetables rather than refined carbohydrates like sugar and rice, and proteins like eggs, milk, lean meat, seafood and fats, preferably vegetable and nut oils. Sprouts, fruits, berries and dry fruits are healthy for pregnancy. Excessive salty and oily food is discouraged.
Include plenty of fluids will prevent urinary infections and constipation in pregnancy. Constipation is a common issue during pregnancy, so it is recommended that one eats a diet rich in fibre. Include beetroot, carrots, bananas, apples, berries and lentils.
Having a good eight hours of sleep at night and some rest in the day is good. Working in the night hours is discouraged. Sleeping on the left lateral position is advised as it improves the blood circulation towards the baby from the mother.
Also read: Tricks to sleep better during pregnancy
Walking and prenatal classes is recommended by your obstetrician usually once the second trimester is completed. Vigorous walks are discouraged. Meditation, deep breathing and prenatal yoga help in relaxation. For professionals who have desk jobs mainly, taking small breaks and walking around for a few minutes is good. Wearing soft shoes with good arch support and loose fitting clothes make one feel comfortable.
Walking becomes a little difficult in the third trimester due to loosening of hip joints. Hip pain will feel better with a painkiller balm application and using a heating pad. Avoid bending at the hips to lift weights and bending at the knees.
Iron, multivitamin and calcium supplements will be recommended. Vaccinations against tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis and flu will be advised.
Sexual activity should be limited. It can be resumed unless there’s a contraindication. For example, when the placenta is growing in the lower part of the uterus or when the blood pressure is increasing wherein the woman will be advised rest.
Avoid exposure to high temperatures like sauna or hot water bath, consuming uncooked meat, unpasteurised dairy products, caffeine, smoking and alcohol. Dental infections like gingivitis are common in pregnancy and it has to be treated.
In general, whatever one does to keep oneself fit is to be continued during pregnancy with extra care and caution.