With most families becoming nuclear families, young mothers, especially first-time mothers, have the responsibility of taking care of themselves on their own. While news of your pregnancy will suddenly turn everyone around you into a pregnancy police, you’ll be flooded with different advice and suggestions and tips, each one telling you differently what you need to do, what you need to eat, how you need to be. While these suggestions may be coming in with an intention of doing you good, most often, these will only leave you confused.
While we know that pregnancy is an extremely important stage in any woman’s life, one that needs a lot of care and attention, there are a few basic things you need to keep in mind, whether you are on your own or even if there is someone around you taking care.
1. Eat well and do not skip meals. Your unborn baby will get all its nutrition from you. And if you don’t eat well, chances are you may suffer fatigue and weakness, which can eventually affect baby. You don’t have to stuff yourself with food, just make sure you never go hungry.
2. Sleep on your left side. Your doctor will tell you the same. Sleeping on your left side will ensure a better supply of blood to baby. This is good for baby’s development.
3. Remember what all food allergies you have and avoid them at all costs.
4. Alcohol and aerated drinks as well as smoking are a strict NO. Not even the tiniest sip of alcohol is permissible when you are pregnant. And not even that one drag on the stick.
5. Many doctors, as well as mothers, will tell you to stay away from fruits like papaya and pineapple. Though this is not completely confirmed, it’s always better to avoid these fruits unless the doctors say otherwise.
6. Many, but not all women are also put off Chinese food as it contains ajinomoto and is said to be harmful for pregnancy. Check with your doctor about the same.
7. It is extremely important that you religiously take each and every medicine that the doctor has prescribed. There is no other way – you HAVE to take the pills!
8. Milk milk and lots of milk. There is no beating about the bush here. Unless you are a person who suffers from lactose intolerance, you simply have to consume milk each day. At least two big cups of milk is what you should ideally be taking. But if you feel that is too much, or if you are unable to keep it down, try and take it in small sips in regular intervals. No amount of milk is too much during pregnancy. Have as much as you can, as it will be a great source of nourishment for both you and baby. Remember to boil the milk properly first and only then consume, unless it is from a carton that is already boiled.
9. Go easy on the oil. During these nine months, try and avoid as much oily and fried food as you can. Not only are these zero in nutritive value, having fried and too oily food during pregnancy leads to heartburn and acidity, which can be a huge source of discomfort. Many people will tell you that you need to take a lot of ghee to ease your pregnancy and delivery – that’s absolutely not true. Oily and greasy foods will only add on the piles on you and not provide any health benefits to you or baby.
10. Lie down, sleep, rest. As simple as it may sound, once the baby arrives, you will need all your time and energy to take care for the little one. As much as you sleep and rest now, the more your body will be able to refresh and energise itself, thus giving you a great boost to charge you up for the post-delivery days.
11. Try and establish a routine as much as you can. Try and wake up on time and try to keep your bed time at a decent hour. Going to bed too late will also lead to acidity and indigestion. Also, if you start getting into a routine now, chances are, it will become a part of your life once the baby arrives, and you will not have much trouble establishing a routine as your little one is growing up.
12. Dry fruits are a good source of nutrition. Keep a bowl of raisins, cashew nuts and almonds handy. When you feel the urge to munch on something but want to give meals or fruits a miss, snacking on these energy nuts will provide much energy and be filling as well.
13. Lifting heavy stuff is completely out of the question. You may feel fine and strong, but there is no guarantee that lifting something heavy will not affect the baby. Be safe and be smart and avoid it at all costs.
14. Each time you need to pick up something, remember to bend at your knees and not bend down over your back. Even if your tummy is not big by now, you are carrying your precious one inside you and you need to keep its safety in your mind at all times. Bend your knees slowly, if required, hold on to something for support, and only then pick up what you need. The tummy should not feel the pressure at any time.
Remember that every woman’s needs and likes and dislikes are different and it is wrong to compare yourself with other women who are pregnant. There may be many things that you do the same like them, as there may be many that you do completely differently. Unless you feel it is harming you or baby in some way, there is no need for concern. Keep talking to your gynae whenever you have an appointment and discuss your thoughts and fears freely. Remember, the more you talk to a doctor, the more sound and correct advice you are bound to get, which will ultimately be useful for your baby.
So take care, enjoy this attention phase and get ready for the biggest joy that is soon going to come your way.