Some tips by Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour, Gynaecologist and IVF Specialist, SCI Healthcare to how one can plan a smart pregnancy-
- Eat healthy diet that includes necessarily vitamins and minerals especially folic acid and iron in sufficient amount
- Do low impact exercise as it helps to release endorphins that are happy hormones
- Perform the required prenatal tests and ultrasound scans to closely monitor the development of the baby.
- Take enough rest as your body needs all the energy it can get. Having proper sleep can reduce stress, fatigue and prepare your body for nurturing the baby.
- Consult doctor prior taking any medicine.
- Avoid alcohol and smoking
- Discuss with your gynaecologist before planning air travel
Pregnancy is the most crucial and important phase in a woman’s life. Choosing the correct life style and nutrition is equally important in pregnancy as is taking the correct supplements and medicines. Right nutrition, adequate rest, exercise, all forms an important part in pregnancy.
It is important to have a healthy diet that includes all the necessary vitamins and minerals, especially folic acid and iron in sufficient amount. The diet should contain green vegetables, carrots, curd, salad and fruits especially apples. It’s more about what you eat than how much you eat. Your diet should consist of the following
- Vegetables and fruits – Provide vitamins, minerals and fibre
- Milk and milk products – Provide calcium, protein and vitamin B12
- Pulses, cereals and whole grain – Provide protein especially for those who are vegetarian
- Meat, fish and poultry – Provide proteins, while choosing fish one has to be careful as certain fish contain high levels of mercury and should not be taken
- Fats and oil – Try to take vegetable oils as they contain more unsaturated fat as compared to ghee and butter which are high in saturated fats
Exercise during pregnancy
Those who exercise regularly can continue exercising during pregnancy but are advised to take care of their hydration and to avoid jerky and bouncy movements. Low impact exercises such as yoga is very beneficial. Also one needs to increase the caloric intake by 300 calories. A warm up and cool down session in the form of stretching needs to be included in the fitness regime. For those who have not been exercising regularly, walking for 30 minutes daily is a good option. Exercise helps release endorphins that are happy hormones.
Tests during pregnancy
Various tests are done throughout pregnancy to ensure the wellbeing of mother as well as her baby. The guidance regarding the exact time when each test should be performed is given to the woman during her antenatal visits by the obstetrician. The tests include complete blood count, which includes hemoglobin, Red blood cell count, white blood cell count and platelet count. Blood group and Rh typing of both husband and wife is also recorded. Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) is done to detect gestational diabetes. Blood sugar levels are measured fasting and two hours after 75 g of oral glucose. Thyroid profile is done to rule out thyroid disorders.
There are certain tests to rule out infections in the mother. These include syphilis, hepatitis B, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and TORCH. TORCH is a group of tests which detects antibodies against toxoplasma, rubella, cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex.
Hemoglobin electrophoresis is done to rule out thalassemia, which is a group of rare blood disorders.
Urine examination helps to detect urinary infection and the presence of sugar and proteins in urine.
Ultrasound scans are done during pregnancy that include dating scan, level 1 scan, level 2 scan and colour Doppler
Medication during pregnancy
Pregnancy is a phase where medication for minor ailments should be avoided especially during the first trimester as some may have an adverse effect on the growing fetus. Paracetamol tablet taken for pain and fever is usually safe. Nevertheless, one is advised to consult her doctor prior to taking any medicine. Routine supplementation is done with folic, iron and calcium. Progesterone is prescribed in case there is history of recurrent abortions. Other medications are given according to the deficiency of certain vitamins and in case there is any associated disease symptom
Precautions to be taken during pregnancy
There are certain precautions that all pregnant women should take.
- Pregnant women should avoid alcohol and smoking as it has deleterious effects on the health of mother as well as baby.
- One should avoid consumption of caffeine in large amounts
- Processed food materials should be avoided as they contain preservatives that may be harmful
- One should discuss with her gynaecologist before planning air travel. During the flight one should drink plenty of water and move about regularly to avoid blood clots in legs.
- Discard wastes properly – do not touch animal wastes like raw meat, pet animal excreta (especially cat) with bare hands.
- Eat frequent and small meals to reduce morning sickness and avoid indigestion and bloating.
- Maintaining proper hydration is essential to avoid constipation and having regular bowel and bladder habits. Recommendation is 2 to 3 litres of water everyday
- Rest and relaxation are also essential during pregnancy. Take two hours rest during afternoon and at least six hours rest at night
By following above simple measures in your lifestyle, nutrition and treatment every woman can make this most crucial phase of her life the most beautiful one. As we all know “A healthy mom gives birth to a healthy baby”, so stay healthy, stay happy.