If you are pregnant, you will start thinking about the labour pain and the delivery process. This will lead to worries and it is not a good sign. During pregnancy, most importantly, you must remain calm and cool through out. Though difficult to practice, it is not improbable. All that you need to do is to make up your mind. You start controlling the mind rather than mind controlling you. During pregnancy, avoid thinking too much about your probability of having a normal delivery or a cesarean section. Even if you are fine, Doctor’s generally would prefer you should go through cesarean delivery. You must start believing that you are perfectly fine and you have the capacity to give a normal birth to your child.
During pregnancy, your every decision will impact your physical and emotional well-being as well as the baby growing inside you. This is the time when you need to take care of yourself, and you need the support of your partner and other close friends and relatives.
More importantly, you need the guidance of an experienced mentor. Choose a mentor who will be able to assist you, guide you and help build your confidence for pregnancy and childbirth. The foods you eat during pregnancy have a direct influence on the health of the unborn baby.
A healthy diet supports normal birth-weight, improves fetal brain development and lowers the risk of many birth defects. It also reduces the risk of pregnancy complications like anemia, morning sickness and fatigue.
You don’t need to eat for two when you are pregnant, but you do need to focus on eating healthy. A pregnant woman’s diet should include plenty of nuts, vegetables, fruits and fresh fish to help your body get protein, vitamin C, calcium, iron and adequate fat.
Try to have five portions of fruits and vegetables daily, plenty of carbohydrates from whole-grain products, one serving of protein and two servings of fish a week.
Along with proper foods, drink lots of water and choose real fruit juices and skim milk instead of sodas to keep your body hydrated. Also, avoid coffee and switch to ginger tea.
Breastfeeding reduces your baby’s risk of developing asthma or allergies, respiratory illnesses, frequent ear infections, and other ailments. Plus, it will help you and your baby develop a bond.
To make sure you and your baby get all the nutrients you both need, include some superfoods in your diet during the pregnancy period.
Eggs are an excellent source of good quality protein with the ideal balance of amino acids. This will provide you strength and stamina to take care of yourself as well as your baby.
Egg yolks are also one of the few natural sources of vitamin D, an essential nutrient to keep your bones strong and help your baby’s bones grow. Plus, the choline in eggs is crucial for building the memory center of a baby’s brain.
Eat one to two eggs daily. You can have them scrambled, hard boiled or in an omelet.
Healthy, whole-grain carbohydrates like brown rice is something that all new mothers should include in their diet. Brown rice will help keep your energy level up and your blood sugar level consistent.
Plus, it has more fiber and other essential nutrients than white rice. It will also help increase breast milk supply and quality.
Before making brown rice, soak the grains for a few hours. This will make it easier to digest and more nutritious.
All new mothers should include blueberries in their diet. This antioxidant-rich fruit helps destroy free radicals and keep you and your baby free from many diseases.
Also, blueberries have all the important vitamins and minerals that a nursing mother needs. The healthy dose of carbohydrates in blueberries is also great for boosting energy.
Eat two or more servings of these juicy berries daily to help you cope with the new stress of motherhood.
All leafy green vegetables are good for nursing mothers, but spinach is one that deserves special mention. It is high in vitamin A, which is good for you and your baby.
Also, the folic acid in spinach helps produce new blood cells, especially important for women who experienced lots of blood loss during delivery. It helps boost milk production as well.
Spinach also has manganese that aids development of bone, cartilage and collagen, which is highly essential for mothers recovering from C-sections. It is also a good non-dairy source of calcium and contains vitamin C and iron.
You can eat fresh spinach in a salad or include it in vegetable soup. Another good option is to drink a glass of spinach juice daily.
Lactating mothers should include milk in their diet to stimulate breast milk production. Milk also contains vitamins D and B as well as protein, all essential nutrients for the overall development of newborn babies.
Plus, the calcium in milk helps replenish the calcium lost through breastfeeding. Due to its high water content, milk also keeps your body hydrated.
Drink two glasses of milk every day. To enhance the taste, you can add dry fruits to it. Also include yogurt, cheese and other dairy products in your diet.
Most important point here is you should try to get cow’s milk.
Almonds provide a wide range of nutrients like vitamin E and essential fats that are important for the health of your body as well as your baby’s. The essential fatty acids including omega-3 fatty acids in almonds also help increase milk supply. These healthy nuts also provide protein and calcium for your bones and teeth.
Enjoy a few dry roasted almonds as a daily snack. To increase breast milk, soak four to six almonds in water overnight and eat them the next morning.
Fenugreek contains phytoestrogens that help increase breast milk production. It is also rich in iron, fiber, calcium and various vitamins and minerals. Plus, it contains choline and saponins that are required to ensure good development of newborn babies.
Fenugreek also helps alleviate digestive troubles like constipation and flatulence that are common among new mothers.
Both the seeds and leaves must be included in a nursing mother’s diet. One good option is to soak one tablespoon of fenugreek seeds in one cup of water overnight. The next morning, boil the water along with the seeds for several minutes. Strain and drink it every morning.
Fennel is another excellent superfood for new mothers as it helps increase lactation and also aids digestion. It can also help prevent colic.
One good way to include fennel in your diet is to drink fennel water. To prepare fennel water, boil one or two teaspoons of fennel seeds in four cups of water and then let it simmer for another five minutes before turning off the heat. You can also add one-half teaspoon of sugar or honey for taste. Strain and drink this fennel water throughout the day.
You can also chew one teaspoon of fennel seeds after meals. In addition to increasing lactation and promoting digestion, it will also work as a natural mouth freshener.
Along with these superfoods, new mothers need to drink plenty of water. This is very essential as breastfeeding mothers are at higher risk for energy-draining dehydration.
To keep your energy level and milk production up, make sure you stay well hydrated by drinking water, fruit juices, vegetable juices and coconut water. Stay away from caffeinated and alcoholic beverages that can be dehydrating.
Avoid Certain Foods
The hormonal changes in the body cause food cravings, but you need to be sure about what you are eating. Do not eat the following :
- Raw and Partially Cooked Eggs such as half boiled omlette.
- Coffee – Caffeine can cause dehydration.
- Raw and Semi Ripe Papaya Fruit
- Soft Cheese
- Raw Sprouts
- Hotel Food
Regular exercise during pregnancy ensures proper health of the mother as well as the newborn. Exercise helps alleviate many common pregnancy problems, such as constipation, leg cramps, swelling of the ankles, back pain and poor sleep.
It also helps keep your energy level high to make it through the pregnancy period.
Plus, physical activity prepares new mothers for childbirth. A fit body can result in a shorter labor, fewer medical interventions and less exhaustion during labor. Another perk is that it makes it easier for you to get back into shape after your baby is born.
Exercise is even good for the unborn baby.
During pregnancy, walking, jogging, swimming, prenatal exercises, yoga or prenatal dance classes are good options. Avoid sports that have a risk of falls or knocks, or put extra stress on your joints.
Do Pelvic Floor Exercises
Pelvic floor exercises or Kegel exercises are great for strengthening the muscles that support your bladder, vagina and back passage. This in turn can aid in smooth delivery and quick recovery after birth. It also helps prevent urinary incontinence.
Tighten your pelvic floor muscles (the ones you use to stop the flow of urine in midstream). Make sure you do not move the leg, buttock, or abdominal muscles.
Hold for a count of 5.
Then, relax the muscles for 5 seconds.
Repeat up to 10 times for 1 complete set. Aim for doing at least 3 sets a day.
Note : Don’t do this exercise after passing urine. You can do this exercise and then pass urine. Your bladder should be full while doing this exercise to avoid Urinary Tract Infection.
Get Plenty of Rest and Sleep
Pregnancy is a time when you need to pay particular attention to a balanced diet and enough exercise, but at the same time getting enough rest and sleep is vital as well.
Pregnancy causes several hormonal changes in the body that can lead to fatigue and exhaustion. To help your body overcome this, it is important to listen to your body and get adequate rest.
For a healthy pregnancy, you need restful and quality sleep. Put your feet up and take a relaxing nap for 30 to 60 minutes during daytime. Also, enjoy quality sleep at night.
Decorate your bed room with baby photographs
Bring as many pictures and toys which babies generally like and place them in your bedroom. Keep seeing the lovely pics of babies and the toys and keep dreaming about getting a healthy baby. Your thoughts will automatically reflect into reality.
Refrain from stress
Stay away from stress, anxiety and too much contemplation. Your current phase requires you to stay cool and composed. There are times when avoiding stress is quite difficult still try to be calm. Read good books about parenting and be in the company of good, friendly people. Steer yourself clear from situations and people that make you anxious or cause you discomfort. Remember maternal stress can adversely affect the baby’s health and wellness.
Practise right breathing techniques
Breathing exercises are very important as during the process of delivery you need to hold breath from time to time. Proper and sufficient oxygen supply is mandatory for enhancing growth of the baby. So, practice meditation and deep breathing exercises regularly. This way you will inch a step closer to having a normal delivery.
It has been found that women who practice breathing exercises throughout pregnancy are more in control of their bodies during labor and have a smooth labor. This is because, breathing exercises not only ensures adequate quantity of oxygen supply which is required for the healthy development of the baby but also provides energy to the mother. If you have been practicing breathing exercises throughout your pregnancy, it will become a habit and you will naturally follow these breathing techniques while you are in labor. Here are some of the breathing exercises you can practice during pregnancy:
- Belly breathing: Sit down with the legs folded. Now breathe in deeply. You can control your breath through the counting method thus keeping your mind preoccupied with something. As you inhale, slowly count till four or five. Then as you exhale, take it up to six or seven. Do this breathing exercise 10 minutes daily
- Nose and mouth breathing: In this technique, you breathe in through the nose and breathe out through the mouth. Both breathe in and breathe out should be done at a slow pace. Just sit or stand straight while doing this
- Ujjayi breathing: This is a yogic breathing technique, which helps you maximize your energy level during the pregnancy. Here you breathe in and out through your nose. Your mouth is shut throughout the process. Just concentrate on the sound of breathing. As you breathe in , you will make a hissing sound. While you breathe out, tighten your throat. Now the breath out sound will be similar to the sound of the ocean. Repeat it for at least 5 minutes every day
Refrain from hearing horror birth stories
Avoid hearing negative stories from women who already had babies is very important. Stay away from hear say and negative conversations. Some women are fond of narrating their painful and difficult delivery stories. Make a point to stay away from hearing such tales. These negative stories can adversely affect the progression of natural course of delivery. It is quite common during pregnancy for people and talk about what happened to her and her friend so and so forth. If they start anything negative, divert the topic and get away from the conversation giving them a signal that you don’t want to hear such stories.
Always keep watching motivational programmes, comedy and music. Do not watch any serials in TV. Avoid TV Programmes which will affect the growth of the baby.