How to take care of yourself during Pregnancy and after?

  A guide to a Sensitive Change called Pregnancy

A guide to pregnancy_ichhori.webp

I came across a quote that "God could not reach everywhere so he created Mothers!" Indeed, it is true. One of the most precious moment for a woman is when she is on the verge to become a Mother. It is a long process with tonnes of physical, physiological and emotional changes. Pregnancy is not only limited to giving birth, the repercussions are seen after the birth of infant which is known as Postpartum stress disorder.

One of the fundamental thing required while planning a child is the CONSENT of both the parents, specially the mother to be. As the woman will undergo a tremendous change in couple of months, she has to be mentally, physically and physiologically sound.

The Starting Process of the Fertilization for Pregnancy

Not all intercourse results into pregnancy. Only and only when the sperm and ovum fuse in the Ampulla region in the Fallopian tube of a woman. Fertilization occurs successfully. The fused cell undergoes division process resulting into a zygote. At this stage, the gender of the child is already decided. After further division process, the zygote differentiates into an Embryo, which in turn gets attached to the uterus. This entire process is called Implantation, which leads to Pregnancy.

In Addition To The Process

After implantation has occurred, with the uterine tissues and maternal blood, a structural and functional unit called Placenta is formed. The placenta connects the embryo / foetus with the maternal body. It facilitates the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the embryo and removes carbon dioxide and excretory products produced by embryo. The placenta is connected to the Embryo via an Umbilical cord, which helps transfer of nutrients to and fro.

The placenta produces some important hormones which are present only during pregnancy in a woman. They include Human chorionic gonadotropin ( Human Placental lactogen (hpl) and Relaxin. Estrogen and progesterone level increase several fold times in the maternal blood during pregnancy. With the help of a proper blood test or urine test, a woman can come to know about her pregnancy due to presence of the above hormones.

The entire journey of 9 months has its own significance. Each month the embryo undergoes changes. In the first month, the human heart is formed and becomes functional. By the end of 3rd month, the major organs and genitals are formed in the foetus. By the end of 9 months, the foetus is fully developed for delivery.

Introduction to Pre-natal stage of Pregnancy

Every woman will receive several advices for the do’s and don’ts as soon as she plans a family. The 9-month journey will be taking a toll on her, so proper and guided advices only from experts should be considered. Here are few points a mother to be should consider when she is planning a family:

1.  Doctor and their role – it is obvious to have an expert or obstetrician in mind when planning a family. More important is to discuss the medical history of the mother to be, so that the doctor can evaluate and give certain medications as per the need. Choosing a proper, experienced, veteran in the field of prenatal is a task. As there are two lives which are at stake during pregnancy. Most of the woman consult their family doctors and with their aid and advice select the gynaecologist or obstetrician. This makes it feasible for the mother to be, as the family doctor has the medical history of her, which makes it easier to communicate to the expert.

2.  Staying healthy and in a hygienic environment – certain nutrients like calcium, folic acid and iron are required to be taken by the mother in the beginning, as the development of neural cord i.e., brain and spinal cord occurs in the initial stage of pregnancy. A mother’ sound health leads to infant’ sound health. Due to this reason, there are more infant mortality rate (IMR) in slum areas or under developed areas compared to urban areas. As the rise of infection and tendency to spread is more in rural area due to lack of medical facilities.

3.  Regular exercise – the mother’ body will be undergoing a lot of pain during the delivery period, due to which most of the mother’ during their pregnancy are advised to do regular exercise by their doctors. Few of the exercise include doing Kegels which strengthen the pelvic areas which greatly supports the bowel, bladder and uterus. This simple exercise makes delivery easier and chances of caesarean (C section) reduces. Walking, yoga, swimming, etc. are other exercises a mother should do on the recommendation of her doctor. Everything a mother to be does, should be done in a limit, overdoing can cause issues.

4.  Planning a healthy diet – now when it comes to providing nutrients to the unborn, food with high folic acid is recommended. This helps in development of the neural tube. Cereals, lentils, oranges also should be added in the meal. Drinking an ample amount of water is recommended due to the gaseous exchange between the foetus and mother. Water helps prevent constipation, fatigue and other symptoms too.

5.  Avoiding certain food – caffeine should be limited during pregnancy. To replace it, fruits like banana and apples carry the same energy level. It is difficult to replace your morning coffee or tea in one instance, but choosing a healthier option can be beneficial to both mother and child. Certain toxins like alcohol intake, drugs, cigarettes should be avoided by the mother if she had a habit before getting pregnant. As these toxins increase the chances of deformation in the infant.

6.  Change chores and certain medication – the mother should avoid being in contact of certain harmful chemicals like paint thinners and nail polish removers. Having a pet around is joyful and lively, but proper care of it should be taken as there are certain parasites which cats carry, which leads to spread in disease. The mother should also avoid climbing ladders and stools, from which there are chances of falling down. Certain medicines like Ibuprofen should be avoided during pregnancy as it leads to miscarriage and damaging the foetal’ blood vessels. According to the report published by the National Health Service (NHS), a mother should be inclined in taking natural supplements only. Rest the medicines will be suggested by their appointed doctor according to the mother’ need.

7.  Educating and Exploring – the mother to be will be bounded or limited during her pregnancy and even after that. This does not mean she cannot explore about new things; she can definitely join childbirth class where they prepare you for delivery, childbirth, infant care and lot more. Here the mother can feel free to ask question and meet her fellow mother to be. By following this routine, positivity and flow of happy hormones occurs and less stress can be observed in the mother. Along with prenatal care, the mother should also put hands on postnatal disorders, it is not always necessary that everyone undergoes the same situation but 10-20% expectants do undergo postpartum depression. A proper counselling session can put the postpartum stress away.

8.  Know when to rush to the hospital – it’s good to be 3 hours early than a minute late. In the case of pregnancy, during the end trimesters, it is good to be prepared. The preparation includes arrangement of transport to take the mother to the hospital at any hour, family members can be called if they live in the same town, this helps emotionally, especially when the husband is present in the delivery room, it gives a sense of security to the mother. If any complications arise, the decision maker – husband or father should be present around. Pain of any kind, strong cramps, decreased activity of baby, continuous vomiting, etc. are certain points which have to be consulted to the doctor as soon as they occur.

Post Delivery Care

Pregnancy does not end by giving birth to the infant. It actually begins by the birth. The entirely planned 9 months can go lucidly, but when the infant is born, the entire focus is shifted to him or her, leaving the mother unheard. Both the mother and child require equal attention post-delivery. After birth of the infant, a proper expert should be short listed and consulted if any complications arise. For the mother, a proper nutritional meal should be taken care of so that she can take care of the child accordingly.

Most important part post-delivery is the acceptance of the infant – no matter if it is a girl or boy! Most of the women face postpartum depression because of the societal and family pressure of son meta preference, which leads to mother’ suicidal thoughts or even suicide. Some of the working women, who have been on maternity leave should be assured paid maternity leave and proper crèche facilities once she re-joins the workplace. Not only the infants but also the mother’ care is inevitable at workplace.

A family blossoms when every member is heard equally and cared equally, instead of putting the burden of a caregiver on the mother, equal rights should be disseminated and a gender neutral society should be created.  

Ref: Medicine plus encyclopedia, Brigham health hub and

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