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Are You Gaining More Weight Than You Should?

If you have been consistently hearing that pregnancy implies eating for two people, there is every possibility of giving in to it at some point or the other. If you feel nervous about looking down at your weighing scale because you might have overdone it, it’s time to start monitoring your weight gain.

How Much Is Too Much?

In the first trimester, a lot of women hardly gain weight, owing to morning sickness, food aversions and the heightened sense of smell. Instead of gaining weight, a few even tend to lose weight. As long as the loss is not alarming, doctors don’t really express any concern.

Once the first trimester queasiness wears off and there is a welcoming back of your appetite, there are cravings of all kinds, too tough to resist. So you might find yourself binging on calorie-laden crisps, ice-creams, buttered toasts etc. There could be intense cravings for sugary drinks, if you are pregnant during the summers. While it is not forbidden to surrender to your cravings, you must be aware of how much weight gain is too much in pregnancy.

Your Guide To Pregnancy Weight Gain:

BMI Normal weight gain (pounds)
<18.5 28-40
18.5-24.9 25-25
25-29.9 15-25
>30 11-20

 

In any of the trimesters, if your weight tends to cross the recommended limit, it is a wise idea to speak to your health practitioner immediately. There are a few conditions in pregnancy that may also require you to keep a track of your weight gain like a history of pre-eclampsia, Gestational Diabetes, Gestational Hypertension etc.

Let Us Take A Look At What The Excess Weight Could Possibly Do To You And How To Avoid Gaining It:

1. High Blood Pressure

Excessive weight gain towards the end of pregnancy can lead to developing Gestational Hypertension in pregnant women and can also cause preterm birth. Try monitoring weight gain every week and keep your doctor informed.

2. Gestational Diabetes

If you look plumper and feel heavier that you had expected, you might want to check how much you’re gaining lately. Do not ignore signs of obesity because the last thing you would want is to take insulin shots and cut down on carbs because GD could lead to miscarriages and the fear of developing type 2 Diabetes1

3. Intervention In Birth

Your increased weight could also make your baby bigger and heavier, due to which the chances of a normal delivery are reduced. You might need a c-section or a forceps delivery to help the baby be delivered safely.

While losing weight in the second or third trimesters is not advisable; not gaining any further, if you are obese, is almost always recommended. Doctors suggest a few ways like cutting down on empty calories, avoiding unhealthy fatty food, caffeinated beverages, avoiding condiments like jams, preserves, sauces and dips. Instead of these, pregnant women are advised to have whole food, food rich in protein and stay active during pregnancy. Prenatal yoga classes and regular walks can help keep unhealthy weight gain away to ensure a smooth and successful delivery.

Reference:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diabetes_mellitus_type_2

Are You Eating These 6 Power Foods In Pregnancy?

If you are pregnant and have not taken care of your diet yet, it is time to start packing yourself with food that will ultimately be your and your baby’s source of nourishment throughout your pregnancy. The old myth of eating for two may not hold true but it is also essential that you must have a well-balanced diet to incorporate protein, iron, calcium, fibre, folate, vitamins and important minerals to sustain the pregnancy in the most optimal manner.

Here Is A List Of Power Foods That You Must Include In Your Checklist:

1. Meat:

Anaemia is common during pregnancy because your iron stores are continuously being depleted to make up your baby’s red blood cell supply. This can lead to dizziness, fatigue and slow down the growth of your foetus. Your baby’s brain is also being supplied with iron stores to help its development. To ensure that enough iron is absorbed from food, combining lean meat with sources of Vitamin C (oranges, tomatoes, strawberries, is what you should be doing. You should also be ideally having three servings of protein a day and lean meat contributes effectively to your protein needs.

2. Green Leafy Vegetables:

 

Your mother must have spent an eternity running behind you with that bowl of veggies; now it’s time to start having them again. Green leafy vegetables are high in iron and are also rich in fibres that your body needs to regulate bowel movements in pregnancy. Spinach, kale, lettuce, amaranth, Malabar spinach is all high in iron and can be tossed into salads with toasted nuts for a quick and nutritious snack.

3. Lentils:

Even before you conceive, your doctor will suggest you to load up on Vitamin B because it protects your baby against neural-tube defects that often show up as birth disorders like the highly dreaded spina bifida1. He might suggest folic acid supplements or ask you to consume a diet that is rich in folate. Lentils are packed with folate and are easily accessible to everyone. They are rich sources of iron, Vitamin B6 and protein that would give you the much needed boost of energy when your body feels drained. To enhance maximum absorption of iron from lentils, try squeezing in half a lemon before consuming

4. Fish:

Whether it’s your pink-fleshed salmon or your white-fleshed tilapia; consumption of fish is extremely important to provide your body with essential Omega-3 fatty acids that will help in the development of your baby’s eyes and brain. Fortified eggs and walnuts are also good sources of Omega-3.

5. Dried Fruits And Nuts:

Walnuts, cashews, raisins, pistachios, almonds, dried figs, apricots are all fabulous sources of iron and you can keep always keep a jar filled with these on your bedside table. They are also good sources of important minerals that your body needs right now.

6. Fruits:

Avocados, oranges, strawberries, mangoes, tomatoes, bananas, pears, watermelons, pomegranate and other fruits contribute to the vitamin requirements of your body and can be filling enough without leading to unhealthy weight gain. Have them is smoothies, shakes, salads or as whole fruits.

Reference:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spina_bifida

Are You Due Anytime Now? Have You Packed Your Hospital Bag Yet?

As soon as you cross your 35th week of pregnancy and start looking like a ticking time bomb, ensure that your hospital bag is all packed and ready. It is most likely that you wouldn’t need it until you are in your 40th week or so but you can always be prepared for those false alarms that could very well seem like real labour. Among a host of other things, you will need to carry your essentials as well as a few for your baby. You can speak to the hospital authorities about what they would offer so that you can leave that out while packing. Below is a list of things that could you fit into your hospital; bag and keep it ready for unannounced trips:

  • Your Birth Plan And Insurance Papers:

Irrespective of whether you have discussed with your OBGYN or not, having a birth plan ready on a paper is essential, especially in scenarios where you might be delivering under the assistance of a new doctor. Have your insurance papers in place so that the financials are taken care of and you are not seen hollering down the hospital corridors while mid-way through labour.

  • Nursing Bras:

Always carry a couple of them1 whether you plan to breastfeed or not. These offer support to your sore and leaky breasts and are quintessential if you intend to nurse your baby.

  • Nursing Pads:

It takes time for your supply to stabilize so if you do have an emergency c-sec and need to stay back at the hospital for a few days, nursing pads would come in handy. Leaking breasts and oversupply are common in the initial days so make sure that you are carrying a pack of disposable nursing pads.

  • A Warm Robe:

Hospitals tend to be quite cold and dry so carrying a warm robe or sweater can help stay warm when you are in labour.

  • Toiletries:

Although the hospital would provide you with the basic soap, disposable pads, paste etc, it feels better to use your own. Carry your hair brush, cream, lip balm, face wash, soap, toothbrush, shampoo and conditioner.

  • Cell Phone And Charger:

Whether you want to take your newborn’s photographs, feel like listening to your favourite numbers or want to speak to your loved ones; a cell phone is a must. Do remember to carry the charger to keep it charged throughout your stay.

  • Clothes:

Remember to carry a few comfortable maternity gowns or dresses that can be used to nurse baby while going back home.

  • Light Reads:

You might want to read an easygoing novel or a magazine while waiting for the doctor or nurse to attend to you. Carry a couple of light reads in the bag.

  • Newborn Clothing:

If the hospital does not offer clothes to the newborn, you can carry your own homecoming clothes. Choose soft, cotton clothes and layer up with warmer ones if the weather is cooler.

Pack only the essentials and leave out what you feel might not be used because you wouldn’t want to be carrying around a heavy bag while in labour.

Reference:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nursing_bra

Are You At The Receiving End Of Unsolicited Advice? Know What To Do

Your baby bump has just started showing and there is a downpour of suggestions and recommendations from aunts, grannies, neighbours, in laws and friends. Despite the fact that they might only mean to help you out, they may seem to annoy you to no end. If you end up snapping back at them, you would only hear the usual, “But I just wanted to help”. How to deal with ‘well-intentioned’ advice from anyone to everyone who has an opinion to give? Here’s how:

Consider The Equation:

This person dropping in a piece of advice everyday about how should drink a glass of milk twice a day to prepare your breasts for breastfeeding, might be your husband’s grandmother. Are you sure you want this argument? Is it worth the hassle of getting into a verbal tiff with an eighty year old? No, it is not and the sooner you realise this, the better it is for you. Pregnancy is for you and your partner to celebrate and you could turn a deaf ear to the millions of advices than choose to pick up a hen fight. She could be your mother, your aunt, you mother-in-law or a neighbour; as easy it is to lose your cool, resist an argument for the sake of your mental peace. You could simply blame it on the doctor and say how he has asked you not to and that is a very successful way to shut people up.

Conventional Vs. Contemporary:

Pregnancy has evolved over time to signify much more than just procreation but not everybody around knows that and they might recommend waiting till the first trimester1 gets over to make pregnancy announcements. If your mother-in-law suggests this, she is no evil. She is after concerned about the well-being of you and your baby. You could try sitting down and having a little chat with her about how this is an emotion you would love to share with the world. Instead of snapping back, turn to explanations.

There will always be the, “But we used to do it this way” for everything that is baby-related. As annoying as this could be, you can just listen to it, smile and walk away. Listening does no harm and you can always do things your way later on.

Think Before You Leap:

Not all unsolicited advice is silly or irrelevant. If the advisor has a significant role to play in your life, you could actually try taking the advice and putting it to work, if it is not too much to ask for. You can always refer to your doctor before trying new things and make the advisor feel respected, if not anything else.

You and your partner would need to practice listening to and dealing with advice from random strangers too. Your reaction might depend on a number of things. You might choose to smile and thank the advisor and you can also be rude and unforgiving. Remembering that the final call is always yours helps in picking your battles.

Reference:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pregnancy

A Guide To Buying The Right Formula For Your Baby

How would you know which formula milk would suit your baby? If your baby has special needs, how will you take care of his/her nourishment? Choosing baby formula can be one of the most challenging decisions because this is directly related to your child’s health. After coming back home from the hospital, the formula being given there might cease to suit and your baby could be in discomfort. Here is a guide to help you choose the best:

1. Formula Fortified With Iron:

You would be surprised to know that most formulas contain cow’s milk because you have read in a pregnancy guide that cow’s milk should never be given to a baby younger than a year. This holds true but the milk contained in formula is altered in its composition to be easier on the delicate digestive system of your baby. Iron is quintessential to the development of your baby and hence almost all kinds of formula milk are fortified with iron so remember to choose one that says so on the label.

2. Predigested Formula:

You might have a preterm baby or one that finds regular fortified formula difficult to digest. Predigested or hydrolysed formula1 is often recommended in such scenarios. This formula is way more expensive and could be a cause of concern for babies with allergies. You will need to consult your paediatrician before switching over to hydrolysed formula milk.

3Hypoallergenic And Lactose Free Formula:

This kind of formula is also recommended for premature babies who are allergic to cow’s milk, soy milk and some others who have special nutritional needs. This kind of formula is expensive, easy to digest, is hypoallergenic and is lactose free.

4. Formula Fortified With Probiotics:

Prebiotics and probiotics2 are used to prevent and reduce the occurrences of digestive problems in babies. Some brands of formula are being fortified with these to ensure that babies can be kept safe from infections like diarrhoea etc. There is a lot of research to be done in this field to prove its efficacy.

5. Organic Formula:

Organic formula is being pushed by a few top brands and the first thing that you will notice is its price that is two times than that of regular formula. The fact that it is made out of milk products produced without the use of harmful chemicals makes it quite expensive. One factor that is hindering its popularity is the usage of cane sugar to sweeten it that is too sweet for baby teeth. Tooth decays are hence imminent.

Whether you choose to go with regular formula or the organic variety, ensure that the water you use to dissolve the powder is pure and safe for consumption. Your paediatrician would be the best person to guide you in this decision and will also tell you about the possible consequences. Your baby might initially have colic pains, bloating and spit-ups but these are common symptoms in the initial days because his/her digestive system is still developing and is generally not the consequence of what he or she might be consuming.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infant_formula
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probiotic

4 Best Exercises To Do While You’re Pregnant

Pregnancy brings along with it a number of aches and pains that could make life quite uncomfortable. Have you been told that maintaining an active lifestyle and exercising moderately throughout pregnancy can help you manage these pains and also avoid gaining more weight that you should? Whoever told you that is absolutely correct. If you have an uncomplicated pregnancy, exercising moderately for 30 minutes a day can help prepare your body for birth by enhancing endurance, keeping disorders like Gestational Diabetes, preeclampsia at bay, and helping you get back to your pre-pregnancy shape soon after birth. Issues like varicose veins, backaches and swollen feet and legs can also be taken care of by yoga.

Here Is A List Of Exercises That Research Suggests Could Do Wonders For You:

1.Walking:

Walking is the easiest form of cardiovascular exercise to keep yourself active during pregnancy. Walk at a pace that your body allows and take short breaks in between if you plan to go on long walks. Remember to carry a bottle of water to keep yourself hydrated and wear good walking shoes to avoid any kind of pain.

2. Swimming:

Along with keeping you fit and healthy, swimming has been touted as the safest form of exercise across all age groups and even in pregnancy. It can also help you feel relaxed because you feel weightless even when you are carrying around so much of weight.

3. Prenatal Exercises:

These include stretching, posture correction exercises, back strengthening exercises and breathing exercises. If your hospital has a prenatal department, they will suggest you to join as per your convenience. You could also book appointments at home with a personal trainer who specialises in prenatal classes. These help you to maintain proper posture throughout pregnancy so that you can prevent lower backaches and your body is well prepared for labour with paced breathing exercises.

4. Yoga:

There is no doubt that yoga does wonders to your body, whether pregnant or not. In pregnancy, there is often the fear of hurting yourself or your relaxed ligaments while undergoing any form of exercise so the best way would be to practice yoga under the advice of a trained professional. Yoga relaxes stiff joints and muscles, eases sore backs, teaches you proper posture and also helps you be more flexible. If you have been feeling like a couch potato lately, you could consider joining yoga classes.

5. Kegels:

Have you ever wondered how your pelvis would need to stretch to unbelievable proportions to accommodate your baby during birth? Even during pregnancy, your pelvic floor is exploited to an extreme and incontinence is one of the major problems women face in the latter half of pregnancy and after delivery. Kegels1 are pelvic floor strengthening exercises that will not only help in labour but also help to prevent that embarrassing urine leakage your best friend keeps sulking about since her delivery. Contracting your pelvic muscles for short period of time, three to four times a day can be extremely beneficial in and after pregnancy. You can do it whenever you want to and don’t require any special equipment for it.

Reference:

  1. http://www.webmd.com/women/tc/kegel-exercises-topic-overview