Pregnancy: An experience to cherish

Pregnancy is not only about the outcome, but also about the experience. Making healthy food choices and staying happy will help you enjoy the journey

happy pregnant womanTo a large extent, the mother-to-be today has choices to decide how her journey can be. It can either be a journey that is terrifying and an uncomfortable experience [as there are many changes occuring in the body] or a journey where she understands these changes, which even though cause her discomfort, are all really towards the investment in a healthy baby.

Some of the common uncomfortable changes that take place are:

1st trimester : Nausea due to the presence of HCG hormone. This is produced in your body for sustaining the pregnancy. It is self-limiting. Lower abdominal pain due to pelvic congestion i.e. more blood shifting towards the uterus to allow the baby to grow.

2nd and 3rd trimester: Feeling heaviness in your abdomen due to increasing weight of the uterus. Tingling in hands and legs due to diversion of blood from your limbs towards the growing need of the uterus. Backache due to enhanced curvature of the backbone to accommodate the bulge of the uterus in your abdomen.

So, if you understand the reason behind certain discomforts, you will accept them better. Now you choose, would you rather complain, or prefer to give your baby the best that your body is capable of giving.

Healthy choices

Your pregnancy outcome is better when you choose to have a well-nourished body. An ideal healthy diet is not ‘eating for two’. It really means following a diet which is rich in milk, curds [low-fat], green vegetables, fruits, sprouts and salads. It means low intake of fatty, sugary foods containing too much salts or preservatives.

In India, traditionally pregnancy was considered as the ‘official time’ to binge. Today, diabetes during pregnancy [gestational diabetes: detected for the 1st time after 20 weeks of pregnancy] is very common and increasing day-by-day. Unhealthy leaning towards foods that are processed, high on calories, loaded with sugar can give you a few moments of pleasure, but can actually cause you and your baby serious long-term damage.

Additionally, too much weight gain leads to swelling in legs, uncomfortable posture, predisposition to hypertension, slow movements leading to less activity. Moderate exercise in the form of walking, swimming, yoga or pre-natal exercises can help to control weight during pregnancy. It will also keep you active.

Prenatal classes are also a good option. They teach you correct postures to adopt while walking, sitting, sleeping, bending, picking up things from the ground and even during labour.Increasing size of the belly puts a pressure on the chest and makes breathing difficult. Performing deep breathing exercises will help you breathe better and relax, especially during labour.

Making small changes in your diet, lifestyle and attitude will make your pregnancy comfortable and enjoyable for you and your baby.

Vandana Gawdi
Dr Vandana Gawdi is a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Fortis Hospital, Vashi, Mumbai


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