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Depression During Pregnancy - Signs, Causes, Solution, How to Manage

While one expects the time of pregnancy to be a joyous ride, sometimes it can get stressful to a point that it becomes depression.

While one expects the time of pregnancy to be a joyous ride, sometimes it can get stressful to a point that it becomes depression. Since pregnancy means having a new person coming into our lives, we expect that the pregnancy will be a joyful journey. What we don’t anticipate is the other emotions that come with it. Those emotions are only natural, given that our lives will be changed forever and our bodies are going through a lot of changes trying to prepare itself to foster a life. We get scared because we think something is wrong with us for feeling all of this and that makes us feel worse. What you need to know is that more women experience scary and negative emotions than you hear of. It is only now starting to be talked about how much more common pre and post natal depression are. If you think this could be the case with you or someone you know, do not worry because you are not alone. The good news here is that it can be treated. All that needs to be done is to work towards how you or they are feeling, and navigate the next steps to attend to depression during pregnancy.  You can also schedule an appointment with a therapist who can guide you through this process.


First things first - What needs to be made clear is the idea surrounding the word ‘depression’. A lot of us may use the word very casually when we are sad, or witness someone else being so. Also it is good to keep in mind that when you approach someone who is pregnant, try not to lead with questions that may suggest to the pregnant person that their experience should be totally positive. It is to be noted that there is a huge difference between feeling disappointed, sad, frustrated, or lonely, and being depressed. Depression is a mental illness that somebody copes with. It is not to say that these feelings can not be deliberating, or excruciatingly painful. 


If a person is sad, they may not feel like wanting to get out of the bed, but when someone is diagnosed with clinical depression, they really are not able to. It is in the way people start to feel, think, and act that as an illness, Depression starts to affect them. Some women are at a risk of getting depressed while pregnant. Let us try to find out what causes clinical depression, what are some of the ways to cope with it, and how one can manage it. Here is what you need to know. 


Signs, Symptoms and Risk Factors 

Depression occurs gradually. It shows slowly, and the symptoms can vary from one person to another. There may be some additional signs that can indicate depression during pregnancy. They may be categorized from being mild, to moderate, to severe. Some of the signs are as follows :


  • Constantly feeling anxious about the baby.
  • No longer seeking pleasure from activities that were otherwise fun.
  • Feeling hopeless, sad, a sense of worthlessness.
  • Wanting to cry for no particular reason.
  • Experiencing a lack in energy.
  • Undergoing a certain change in appetite - either eating too much or too little.
  • Having troubles sleeping, or experiencing changing sleep cycle.
  • Finding change in libido.
  • Having upsetting and scary thoughts.
  • Feeling inadequate about the idea of parenthood.


Some of the factors that may put women at a higher risk than others include :


  • Mother’s history of any mental illness
  • A lack of family support
  • Monetary issues
  • Problems in marriage
  • Any mental illness or depression in the partner
  • Negative feelings about giving birth to a baby, and bringing up in the world
  • Life events that have had a negative impact
  • Substance abuse
  • Violence in the family
  • You could develop it even if none of these categories fit you.


Treatment of Depression During Pregnancy : Its Importance

If depression is left untreated during pregnancy, the kind of parental care one needs may not be taken care of. Important things like eating the right foods for the health of the baby, and taking care of oneself may be overlooked. While a few symptoms of depression during pregnancy include changes in energy levels, sleep, libido, appetite, they are also quite similar to those of pregnancy. If the to-be mother is reluctant to talk about the changes due to any preconceived notions about depression, the health care provider may not be able to help her out. Therefore, it is important to address problems in your meetings with the doctor. Your mental health is essential.


Types of Treatment

Given the right kind of treatment, depression can be cured. In order to manage depression, one or more of the following treatments can be taken up, depending on the severity of one’s depression. Some of the medicinal and non medicinal approaches include :


  • Talking to someone you trust, and finding comfort in discussing your issues with them. Indulge in talk therapy. 
  • Involving yourself in a network of people, family or friends for social support. It is a community that you can turn to in the time of need. You can seek parenting education outside, in this social group.
  • Indulging in therapy, and taking one-on-one sessions with their doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist or any other mental health care provider.
  • Consumption of Omega - 3 fatty acids that are essential can become natural boosters of your mood. Such foods include walnuts and oily fish.
  • Exposing yourself to sunlight or artificial sunlight at certain specific times in a day can help relieve symptoms of depression. It is called light therapy.
  • Medicinal intervention can be used to fight depression, and most often includes consumption of SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) antidepressants. Please consult your doctor before you decide on any, to discuss whether or not there are risks involved in their consumption. He or she will decide on the judicious amount that your body and the baby can take orally. 
  • Acupuncture might also help in influencing and lifting up mood.
  • Support group with other pregnant women facing the same issue.

August 02, 2021 |  read

More on Pregnancy

Questions You Should Ask Your Gynecologist When You're Pregnant

Find out what are some of the questions you should ask your gynecologist when you’re pregnant to understand what’s going on with you and your baby.

Pregnancy can be as confusing as exciting. Find out what are some of the questions you should ask your gynecologist when you’re pregnant to understand what’s going on with you and your baby. Be aware, stay prepared, and await the arrival of the new member to the family with all worries rested. 

So the good news is here. You're going to be a mommy! While it's truly an exciting moment, one should not forget that this is also a period when the mommies-to-be need to take some extra care for themselves. We have curated a set of questions you should ask your gynecologist when you're pregnant to keep you well informed about the upcoming journey and what to keep in mind through it. 


Is it time to tell my loved ones?

It's been some time now and you simply can’t keep the news to yourself. Well, when is the right time to tell your loved ones that you are expecting? It is wise to wait until the first scan to share the news. However, discuss this with your gynecologist who can check for any possible complications or miscarriages. It’s also important to give yourself the time to accept that you’re going to have a baby and what this is going to hold for your future. Once you’ve received the gynec’s green signal and  feel that you are ready to talk about it, there’s nothing more to worry about. Let the cat out of the sack and share the happiness with them all.


How much food should I eat?

While it’s often believed that a pregnant woman needs to “eat for two”, the truth is that shoving unnecessarily excessive food is absolutely unnecessary. An extra 200 - 300 kcal per day in addition to what you usually eat should be enough to keep you and your little one nourished (World Health Organization 2001). The diet should be well-balanced with lots of vegetables and fruits, dairy products, protein rich food items like fish or beans, etc. Your gynecologist can help you chart out a diet plan that suits you and helps you get the extra nutrition you need during pregnancy.


Should I exercise during pregnancy?

Staying physically active can have multiple advantages for a mommy-to-be. It can prevent or ease out pains and aches you may be facing during pregnancy, lowers the risk of pregnancy complications like preeclampsia and gestational diabetes, and is seen to make women better prepared for labour (National Health Portal 2015). However, not all physical activities are advised for women, especially the ones that may have the danger of getting you hit in the abdomen or make you fall. What exercises are safe for you to practice is one of the questions you should ask your gynecologist when you’re pregnant.


Can I continue taking my medicines?

If you’re someone who is on regular medication, it may be a good idea to discuss the effects of these with your doctor before continuing them when you are pregnant. Remember that everything you eat, including your medicines, has an effect on your baby and some of these can harm him or her(Department of Health 2010). Always get your medications approved by the gynecologist. Further, when you visit a doctor for some treatment, make sure that they know you’re pregnant.


Is having sex during pregnancy alright?

While some pregnant women and their partners find it enjoyable to have sex during pregnancy, some others may feel uncomfortable or could be worried. We are here to tell you that it is perfectly alright to indulge in sexual activities during this time. In fact, you may find your sex drive taking a rise with all the hormones released during pregnancy. However, stay alerted that sex during pregnancy is going to be different and it may take some time to find out positions that work for both of you. Consult your doctor about having sex during pregnancy, nevertheless, as in some cases where there are complications, they may advice you to abstain from it.


How much weight will I gain during pregnancy?

Gaining too little or too much weight can both affect your baby. From the fourth month of your pregnancy, you can expect to gain an average of 1.5 - 2 kg per month (World Health Organization 2001). If this weight gain is below 1 kg or above 3 kg, you need to consult your doctor to see how to rectify this. By the end of the gestation period, you would have gained about 10 - 12 kg. Eat healthy but don’t overeat. Talk to your gynecologist about what to eat and what you should avoid to make sure that only the best reach your baby.


When should I call the doctor?

So what is a red signal to call the doctor? 

Here are some things to look out for (National Health Portal 2015):

  • Vaginal bleeding or discharge
  • Cramps or discomfort in the abdomen
  • Prolonged nausea
  • Burning or discomfort during urination
  • Feeling nausea or dizziness

These are only a few of the possible reasons to ask for immediate help. Consult your gynecologist beforehand to make a list of changes that could need you to go to them and keep this handy. 


Your gynecologist is going to be your constant support system during pregnancy.  Find the right medical help, someone who you can trust and rely upon. These were some of the questions you should ask your gynecologist when you’re pregnant to keep yourself prepared for what is going to come. Sit with them for a session along with your partner and clear these out with any other queries that you may have. Now that you’ve received your answers, sit back and relax. A brand new baby is coming home!


April 15, 2021 |  read

Foods to avoid during pregnancy and why

A healthy diet is very important, especially when you're pregnant. These are foods to avoid during pregnancy and why.

Pregnancy is a time of joy, but also a time to follow some rules and guidelines. While consuming a few extra calories comes as an added advantage, there are some foods to avoid during pregnancy. Of course, there are scientific reasons behind why you should avoid these foods. Continue reading to know all about it.


Say No to Raw Egg

There are chances of raw eggs being infected with Salmonella, a type of bacteria which can cause you problems like vomiting, nausea and fever. It might also cause your uterus to cramp which might result in the premature birth of your baby. Thus, always consume your eggs after thoroughly cooking them and avoid any food products like lightly scrambled eggs, homemade mayo etc. which might contain raw egg or its components in them.


Undercooked Meat? Inedible

Although meat is a great source of nutrients, raw or undercooked meat isn’t good for you and your baby when you are pregnant. They could be hosts to several bacteria and parasites which can bring up ailments like epilepsy, neurological illnesses, and blindness in your child and diarrhoea and dehydration for you. You should also add cold cuts or processed meats to the list of foods to avoid during pregnancy.


No Sushi

Fish like Tuna, Swordfish, and Mackerel contain large amounts of mercury in them and should hence not be consumed when you are pregnant. It can cause serious problems for your baby. You can consume seafood which doesn’t contain mercury, but they should be fully cooked and not to be consumed raw. The bacteria in uncooked fish can cause Listeria, an infection which can be very dangerous for your baby.


No Unripe Papaya!

Although fruits are healthy, raw papayas are an exemption. They contain a milky liquid called latex in high amounts which can trigger contractions of the uterus. Hence, it is better to steer clear from papaya during pregnancy.


Nothing Unpasteurized

Be it milk, cheese or juice, if it is unpasteurized then it isn’t a healthy item to consume. Unpasteurized dairy can contain several bacteria like Listeria, E Coli and Salmonella which can prove to be fatal for your baby. Make it a point to consume pasteurized products and always boil your milk before drinking.


Cook Your Sprouts

Sprouts are said to be great sources of proteins, but do not consume them raw. The humid conditions in which seeds sprout helps the growth of Salmonella which are difficult to get rid off easily while washing. It is a safer option to cook sprouts well before eating.


Stop Eating Street Food

Street food is everybody’s favourite but unfortunately belongs in the category of foods to avoid during pregnancy. Chaats like pani puri, samosa and bhel puri are heavy on spices and are not ideal for the consumption of pregnant ladies. As there is no way to perform a quality check on ingredients used in their preparation, foods like kathi rolls and chowmein should also be avoided. Do not eat Indo-Chinese street food as it contains ajinomoto or Monosodium Glutamate which can put your baby at risk. 


Cut Down on Caffeine

You don’t have to give up your morning cup of coffee or occasional soda, but you have to manage the quantity. It is advised that pregnant women should not consume more than 200 mg of caffeine per day. The caffeine you consume passes on through the placenta to your fetus that doesn’t have the necessary enzymes to break it down. Thus, it can lead to a number of complications like low birth weight and SIDS in the baby and in the pregnant woman it can exacerbate insulin resistance which could cause gestational diabetes.


Definitely Ditch the Wine (and all other alcoholic beverages)

This one goes without saying, but consumption of alcohol during pregnancy is strictly prohibited. Even the smallest amount can have adverse effects on the baby which includes still birth or miscarriage and that is why you should stay away from alcohol until your baby is born. Do not consume alcohol if you are breastfeeding. Wait for the green signal from your doctor before you start to consume alcohol again.


Seed Safety

Fenugreek seeds used in everyday Indian cooking can induce uterine contractions if consumed in large amounts. Although these seeds are known as a potential galactogogue during breast feeding they should be avoided in large doses during pregnancy.


Other Tips

Avoid consuming any junk or processed food. You should also not consume organ meats in large quantities and do not eat any fruits or vegetables without washing them first as it can result in a number of infections.

As every pregnant woman’s body is different, your doctor might ask you to keep away from some other food items especially if you are prone to allergies. To avoid any confusion, it is advised to discuss your diet plan with your doctor as soon as you get pregnant.


April 09, 2021 |  read

Sex and Pregnancy: Can You Have Sex When You’re Pregnant?

Sex and pregnancy needn’t always be two ends of a spectrum. A lot of to-be parents worry if indulging in physical activities can affect their baby. Rest all your worries and learn about everything you

Being pregnant can have varied effects on one’s body. While some pregnant women may feel an increased libido in some months due to all the hormones, others may feel a decreased interest in sexual activities, often attributed to a feeling of unattractiveness to self. However, even when a pregnant mother wants to have sex, fear and anxiety stop them from doing this. So, what is the truth? Let’s find out everything you will need to know about sex and pregnancy.


Is it Safe?

Looking at the general trends of sexual activity amongst pregnant women, researc shows that there is a lesser frequency of sex during the first trimester, followed by increased activity in the second trimester, and a decrease again in the third trimester. While in the first trimester there maybe apprehensions of a miscarriage, the last trimester brings with it fears of uterine contractions and early delivery. The important thing to keep in mind here is that, sex during pregnancy is absolutely normal and there is no hard and fast rule about how much sex is permissible in each trimester. It is all about the comfort of both the partners. Sex is considered absolutely safe in low-risk pregnancies. It is always better to consult your gynecologist and clarify with them as the risk factor associated changes from case to case.


The Comfort Factor

While sex and pregnancy can get along absolutely fine in most cases, it isn’t just safety that must be kept in mind. Comfort of both the partners, especially the mother, while indulging in such activities is to be carefully considered. As the pregnancy progresses, there are chances that the mother starts feeling less satisfied and may have difficulty in achieving an orgasm. Further, it can also start getting painful or uncomfortable if the partner penetrates too deeply.


Can it go wrong?

While it is generally considered safe to have sex during pregnancy, one cannot deny that there is the small possibility of some issues related to it. The possibility of these happening or causing complications isn’t very high. However, it is always good to be aware and stay prepared, just in case. Always consult your gynecologist to be safe. 

Preterm Labour: 

There is a slight chance that having sex during the last trimester of your pregnancy can cause contractions which could result in early labour for high risk pregnancy cases. Even so, remember that the studies conducted for this are minimal and there is no solid evidence to show that abstaining from sex can prevent preterm labour. It is more of a precautionary measure taken to minimise complications.


It is proposed that sexual activity can stimulate the cervix to result in haemorrhage or bleeding which could have extremely unpleasant results for women with placenta previa. There is no evidence to conclude this and is based on theoretical assumptions. However, in case of high-risk pregnancies, this becomes a reason to advise couples to stay away from sexual activity during pregnancy.

Venous Air Embolism: 

A complication that is very rarely observed, it is still good to keep in mind that oral sex and sex in rear entry position can cause issues in some pregnant women in the form of venous air embolism. While the occurrence is really low, the affected women faced severe complications often leading to death. It is nothing to panic and an open conversation with your doctor can help you clarify the risk involved in your pregnancy.

Braxton Hicks Contractions:

Having sex or an orgasm can set off uterine contractions known as Braxton Hicks Contractions. You may feel your uterus harden and it could get uncomfortable. No need to panic, as this is absolutely normal and no case for alarm. Try some relaxation techniques in case it gets too uncomfortable or simply lie on your back and breathe through them.  


Bonding with Your Partner

Pregnancy is a new step for both you and your partner and it is important to embark upon this journey together. Communication is the key here. While a lot of people may not have physical discomfort in having sex during pregnancy, they may have emotional or moral barriers. It is necessary that one respect these boundaries and openly communicate about what is okay for you and what is not. Remember that penetrative sex is not the only kind of sexual activity that you can indulge in. If you or your partner is not comfortable having sexual intercourse, discover other methods of enjoying physical intimacy. What is important is to be on the same page and remind yourselves that you are in on this together. 


Even when both partners want to indulge in sex during pregnancy, remember that it may not be like before or as easy. You may need to experiment with multiple positions to understand your comfort level and see what works for both of you best. Give it time, see what works for you both and don’t force yourself or your partner into anything. 

Pregnancy is a crucial period but there is no reason that it shouldn’t be fun. Confirm with your gynecologist if there are any risk factors when it comes to sex and pregnancy for you. Talk to your partner about your feelings and what is comfortable for both of you. 


April 07, 2021 |  read

Smoking during pregnancy? NO NO NO !

Cigarettes are a big NO NO during pregnancy. This article discusses effects of smoking on fertility, pregnancy and ways to quit.

Your baby in the womb ingests everything you do. Just like it gets nutrients from the food you eat, harmful substances you consume will also affect it. Abuse of any kind of substances during pregnancy is a big no. All of them affect you and your baby in one or the other way. Smoking during pregnancy is no exception. Cigarettes whose main component is tobacco causes complications during pregnancy, childbirth and after birth too.


If you are a couple trying to get pregnant, doctors generally advise both of you to quit smoking. The harmful chemicals in cigarettes can reduce fertility rates in both males and females. If you are planning on quitting smoking, there is no time better than this. Men also need to stop smoking as second hand smoke can be just as harmful to the fetus.  A lot of people think that smoking during the first trimester of pregnancy is not harmful to the baby. This is a myth. Even a single cigarette during any period of pregnancy affects the health of the mother and baby.


Complications and ill effects

How does smoking complicate your pregnancy?

There are a number of complications that can happen as a result of smoking while pregnant. It can be a leading factor in miscarriages or stillbirths. It may lead to ectopic pregnancy in which the embryo, instead of the womb, starts growing inside the fallopian tube or abdomen. This is very dangerous as the embryo can be removed only by surgery. Smoking may also lead to placental abruption or placenta previa  both of which might result in the tearing of placenta and cause excessive bleeding and threaten the lives of both mother and the baby. Smoking is also a leading inducer of preterm births.


How does smoking affect the baby?

Smoking during pregnancy can also lead to the fetus not receiving enough oxygen which slows down the growth of the baby. This can lead to low birth weight which exposes the baby to a lot of risks after being born. Smoking also doubles the risk of SUID (Sudden unexpected infant death) says a recent study by CDC. Due to oxygen deprivation, the baby may also be born with physical or mental disabilities. The baby of a smoking mother is also prone to cleft palate/lip, asthma and other chronic illnesses.


As mentioned above, the exposure of fetus to secondhand smoke may lead to SIDS, learning disabilities and ear infections after the baby is born. Hence it becomes extremely important for partners, family members , close friends and everyone else who comes in contact with the pregnant women to reduce or quit smoking. In today’s age one may wonder if vaping is safer than actual smoking. The answer is no. E- Cigarettes contain nicotine and other flavouring chemicals which might result in permanent brain damage for the baby. 


The information you need to quit

It is always a good time to quit

Even though it is advised to quit smoking before even getting pregnant, some women find it difficult to kick the butt, especially if they have been smokers for a longer time span. A lot of them ask if quitting cigarettes mid pregnancy might cause stress to the baby as withdrawal might cause stress to the mother. Quitting at any point of the pregnancy will only help your baby and never cause any distress. Whenever you don’t smoke a cigarette, your fetus gets more oxygen, which helps its development a little bit more. In fact, studies have proven that even if the expecting mother stops smoking halfway through her pregnancy, there are high chances of reversing the damage done in the previous weeks. There is no 100 percent certainty though.


Withdrawal is the hardest phase

Quitting any long term habit is a challenge. With quitting comes withdrawal. This might be very stressful for you, especially during pregnancy as you are already going through a lot of physical as well as psychological changes. However, you will be able to notice changes in a short duration of time. Once you get past withdrawal, your sense of taste gets better, your breaths will be deeper and it also lowers your chances of feeling anxious or depressed as women smoking during pregnancy are more susceptible to those conditions. 


How to stop smoking?

The final question is how to quit smoking? The first step is to make up your mind. Do not yield to the temptation. Get rid of all the cigarettes in your environment. This also includes associated products like lighters and match boxes. Ensure you don’t put yourself into situations which bring you the urge to smoke. Hangout with non smokers only. Eliminate your triggers by consuming a healthy item of food or drink when you feel the need to smoke. There are also medications which your doctor may prescribe if quitting gets difficult for you. Hypnosis or alternate therapy could also be of help to you. 


If you are a concerned family member or a friend reading this article, your role is very important on the mother’s path to quit cigarettes. Along with making sure she doesn’t smoke, it is highly beneficial for everyone's health if you also quit smoking. Take care of the mommy to be and calm her down during the withdrawal phase. Consult your physician and if permitted, you can get her replacements like nicotine patches or gums. If she has to go to therapy or a group meeting, accompany her. You should be her solid supporter throughout.

You should be well convinced about why you should quit smoking during pregnancy by now. Letting go of the habit, whilst helping the development of a healthy baby, also improves your and your surrounding people’s health conditions drastically. We hope you don’t light a cigarette after today and you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. 


March 30, 2021 |  read

The Pregnancy Pounds: Weight Gain When You are Expecting

Gestational Weight Gain is vital during pregnancy. Yes you heard right! Follow these steps for healthy pregnancy weight gain.

Do you often find yourself wondering what can be the right choice of nutrition for you and the little angel growing inside you? Are you putting on too many pregnancy pounds? It is very important to maintain a healthy diet during the nine months and in fact, to gain weight.

Yes, that’s right. It is vital to gain some extra pounds during your pregnancy which in medical terms, is known as Gestational Weight Gain. Let’s not be overwhelmed here: what we see on screens about perfect pregnancy figures need not be so. It is rather important to have adequate nutrition for your baby to be born healthy.


How much weight should you gain?

The amount of weight to be gained during pregnancy depends essentially on the pre-pregnancy weight and BMI, irrespective of age, smoking history, parity, race or ethnicity. The following table should give you an idea on the same, the data of which has been collected based on the Institute of Medicine (IoM).

(Weight Gain During Pregnancy | Pregnancy | Maternal and Infant Health | CDC, 2020)

However, if you are expecting triplets or multiple babies, do consult your doctor on the weight goals.\


Why should you keep track of your weight?

There is no doubt that the mother’s weight is quite relevant to the baby’s. Gaining more pregnancy pounds or less of the recommended weight can lead to complications during or after the birth of your little one. (WHO | Maternal body mass index and gestational weight gain and their association with perinatal outcomes in Viet Nam, 2020)

For instance, gaining lesser weight than what is recommended could result in the baby being underweight during birth. This may lead to implications such as difficulty in breastfeeding, more prone to neonatal mortality and illness later in life as well as cognitive developmental delays.

On the other hand, gaining more weight could result in the baby being born large which increases the implications of perinatal health risks. Additionally, it enhances the chances of Cesarean delivery and obesity of the child during the growth years.


Parts of your body prone to weight gain:

Naturally, gaining gestational weight differs from woman to woman. While gaining weight slowly and steadily is quite excellent, it is not unusual to not gain more than 1 to 2 kilos ( 2.2 to 4.4 lbs) in the first trimester. Many women have a growth spurt during which they may gain several pounds in a short time.

Essentially, your pregnancy weight resides in your baby but there are other parts of your body which carries the weight too. These include the amniotic fluid which surrounds the baby, weight in blood and body fluids, breasts, placenta, uterus etc. In addition to building the birthing sac, your body is also providing nutrients and blood supply to your baby in your womb, which is a cause of weight gain (Weight Gain During Pregnancy, 2020).


How can you ensure a healthy weight gain?

Now that you know how much weight you should maintain on an average, let’s get to the question of ‘how to do it’? Naturally, by maintaining a balanced diet you can keep the pregnancy pounds in check. Additional consumption of 300 calories a day is considered to be essential to have a healthy pregnancy. Here are a few steps you can keep track of to ensure that you are taking care of the necessary nutrients (Diet Chart for Healthy Weight Gain during Pregnancy, 2020).

  • Improve the quantity and nutrient level of your diet.
  • Ensure that your maternal nutritional needs for a healthy reproductive system as well as the nutrients supplied to the fetus are maintained.
  • The diet must provide continuous adjustment to body metabolism.
  • Ensure that you have a gap of at least 1 hour 30 minutes to a 2-hour gap between dinner and bedtime.


What should be included in your diet?

-         Cereals: whole wheat, multi-grain bread, wheat bread, bajra, ragi, jowar etc.

-         Pulses: green gram, soya beans, black eyed beans, horse gram

-         Fruits: two or three seasonal fruits daily, along with 25 gms of dried fruits

-         Vegetables: a cup a day with either lunch or dinner. Avoid having root and tubers

-         Raw salad: at least once a day

-         Green leafy vegetables: 3 times a week

-         Lactose: At least 400 ml of skimmed milk per day

-         Oil: 3-4 tablespoon of sunflower or safflower oil a day

-         Water and other fluids: 2 to 3 litres per day

-         Chicken without skin, non-fried fish or egg whites


What should not be included in your diet?

·         Excess coconut

·         Too much or sweets or candies

·         Deep-fried food

·         Soft drinks, honey, jaggery, ice cream, etc.

·         Pickle or processed foods

·         Flour based food like kulcha, naan, roomali roti

·         Too much of fats like butter, cheese, vanaspati, ghee, re-used oils

·         Caffeine intake to be limited to 300 mg per day.

·         Smoking, Alcohol and substance abuse is an absolute no-no.


Other things to remember:

If you are having a tough time maintaining the diet and monitoring your pregnancy pounds, you can avoid eating at a go and instead, continue with an intake of 5-6 times a day in small amounts.

Moderate intensity of aerobic exercise such as brisk walking is recommended for most normal pregnancies. You may consult your doctor if you have any restrictions on such physical activities (12 Pregnancy Planning Tips: How to Prepare Your Body, Foods and Infections to Avoid, 2020).

March 27, 2021 |  read

Birthing Confidently: Preparation of Mother for Labour

Labour is a unique experience of facing the many unknowns. Here is a crash course of tips and ideas to make your birth process a positive experience.

Rule#1 - never make decisions in the last minute. We have repeatedly tried to fight this little phrase in our lives and yet there are so many embarrassing moments and losses in life when we don't follow this golden rule. Human errors help us make the right choices next time. However, this may not be the case when it comes to the preparation of mother for labour. 

When the water breaks and the pain begins, dear soon-to-be mothers, you honestly will not be able to make decisions let alone remember to breathe. The pain consumes your body and your thinking process is shut down for a while. The baby pushing out for your body will be your sole purpose for the next few minutes. No, the intention is not to scare you but remind you about the importance of planning the little one’s birth.

In order to avoid last-minute commotions, confusions and conflicts between you and everybody else around you, it is advisable to build a birth plan. A structured plan towards the countdown to baby time will help resolve a lot of problems that come your way. This plan will also act as a guide to others who will support you during this process. A birth plan can also immediately help a new doctor to take control of the situation in case your doctor is not available at that specific moment. This reduces a lot of risks during this stressful process. This childbirth manual is a very important document that you should probably carry along with your other medical documents.


Why do we need to chart a birth plan?

This whole process of planning your labor and delivery is somewhat similar to how you plan your big fat wedding. You get to choose how you want to do it and who all you should invite to this party. Only in this case, the BIG day is your labor day. Sometimes even though we have the whole thing planned to the last detail, the flowers might not be pink, like the once you ordered.

Surprises during childbirth are to be expected and discussed well in advance when you sit down to make your birth plan for you and your baby.  It becomes an integral part in the preparation of mother for labour and will help you and your family to be organized and prepared for the way things will turn out over the course of this day. The period of labor occurs in different stages. If a proper plan is in place, then you will be able to focus on what is important at that moment rather than being afraid of the situation. Rather than just having simple conversations, do some research, take a pen and paper and write down the birth plan. 

On this note, here are a few things you can add to your labor and birth plan.


Start with the basics

Mention your name, your doctor's name and other contact information. Along with these details also add information of the family member you want to be with during the delivery of the baby. 


Labor preferences  

In recent times, the method of delivery has different style preferences from one mother to the other. Some go beyond the common vaginal delivery and look out for other options by choice or medical advice. When you talk about such preferences, your doctor will help you make the right choice in this matter. This way you can focus on the sound health of the mother and child.


Get creative with your plan

As you go through the period of pregnancy, your body shifts its comfort levels. In the same way, think about the way in which you would like to give birth. You might prefer dim lights compared to the harsh operation lights or a specific temperature in your hospital room. These elements will help calm your nerves as you push your baby out of your body. Prep yourself before you go into labor. Always have a small suitcase ready-to-go to the hospital. The preparation of mother for labour is never complete until you have that delivery bag ready to go. 


Medication during labor

Once again your doctor is the best person to consult in this matter.  Since the beginning of your pregnancy period, he/she understands you and your health issues. You can talk to him/her about your pain management plans during labor. This way, you can take important decisions about the option of taking an epidural during delivery.


After party plans


To be honest, this is one of the most important parts of your birth plan. Once you go through the hard work of bringing your baby out into the world, you have to think about the right initial care for the child. You will have to make decisions about different feeding and care methods for your child. The first few days for the baby is very crucial as it gets used to the atmosphere around it. A good plan will help doctors and caregivers to focus on the necessary needs for the baby.

Each labor procedure is different from the other. As we mentioned before, be prepared for surprises. The right plan breaks the tension in the room and aims to take decisions based on your personal choice and care. As a mother, you will feel less nervous about this life-changing moment.

Always consult with your doctors and partners when you build your plan. Define and narrow down your plan with the assistance of your doctor. Keep it short and simple so that others can comprehend it correctly. Even though you have it all planned and printed, it is good to have an open mind and be flexible to any changes that might occur last-moment. At the end of the day, you will feel content to see things go the way you expected. Planning for the baby’s birth is also a good way for you to bond with your partner with the baby. The preparation of mother for labour checklist, comes with not just physical, but emotional and mental boxes as well.


March 24, 2021 |  read

Common Myths About Giving Birth

It's time you know the truth! Let us debunk a few myths about giving birth for you.

Pregnancy to a large extent makes a tricky topic. As a result, it is nothing but only likely, if you are pregnant, to be greeted with different kinds of advice every now and then from all directions- be it from family, relatives or friends. Although most of these tips brimming in your surroundings are friendly and well-intentioned, yet it becomes a matter of utmost necessity for you to separate fact from fiction. Most of them are overtly absurd and hence should not be misunderstood or worried about because there exists absolutely no truth behind them.


Although most of these myths about giving birth are related to the nine months of prepartum developments, some of them are directly concerned with delivery of the baby. Listed below are some of the most commonly misinterpreted myths and the reasons why you should take them with a pinch of salt. So, it’s debunking time. 


Myth: Movement of your baby will stop before you go into labour

The truth behind this is that your baby might become less active when you are nearing labour but there is still a certain amount of movement that goes on per hour. If that is not the case, it is advisable that you call your doctor immediately.


Myth: Labour can be induced by applying certain tricks

Although there are a number of stories revolving around ways to bring labour naturally, none of these suggestions have been proven to have helped in the process. Following are the most commonly used:

  • Acupuncture or exertion of pressure
  • Eating pineapples
  • Nipple stimulation
  • Intake of castor oil
  • Intake of spicy food
  • Herbal remedies

None of these above mentioned methods have proven to have induced labour and a study of a number of randomized trials have shown that most of these methods either bring in unpleasant results or result in causing harmful side-effects.


Myth: A C-section delivery deprives you of a vaginal birth in the future

It is very much possible for you to give birth vaginally after a C-section delivery, and is only one of the myths about giving birth. It is called a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. However, it also depends on certain factors like your health and the incision/cut in your last cesarean delivery. If this cut was of low transverse, VBAC can be a safe option. However, only your health specialist or your gynecologist can inform you about the risks and benefits in your case.


Myth: Being on your back while giving birth is ideal

You must choose the most comfortable position for yourself while you give birth. Although being in an upright position is helpful while giving birth, it is not necessary for you to be on your back. It has been proven that although certain positions are extra helpful, there is no position that can be declared the best amongst all of them.


Myth: TV representations of childbirth are accurate

It is to be taken into account that childbirth is nothing like the way it is represented on the TV. A number of movies, soaps or commercials portray childbirth as an extraordinarily dramatic and painful process. Therefore, all you need to do is sit back, relax and get in touch with your health specialist to acquire all the necessary information about the delivery process.


Myth: A mother can bond instantly with her newborn

Even though in some cases mothers bond immediately with their newborns, it is not true for a large number of women. Owing to the skin to skin contact between the baby and its mother, most infants are instantly drawn towards their birth givers. However, it is necessary to understand that there is nothing wrong if you have mixed feelings about the entire process right after your delivery and that is why there is not a need to rush into the bonding process. It is nothing but only natural for some mothers to take longer than usual.


Myth: Going to a hospital labour ward is the best option while giving birth

It is not necessary that in order to give birth, you have to go to a hospital labour ward. Most hospitals also have birth centres attached to them which are well-equipped to avoid risks at birth and they have proven to be an equally safe option. They comprise professionally trained labour care units with registered nurses and health care experts. Another safe and healthy option, apart from hospital labour, can be a planned home birth in the presence of a registered midwife. Since, it might not go as your plan and you cannot always choose the place you want to give birth in, it is essential that you have a care provider whom you can trust.


Myth:  The ease of birth is defined by the size of hips and the baby

Another myth is the popular idea of what is known as “childbearing hips”. It has been widely misunderstood that bigger hips or smaller babies make the process of giving birth easier. This notion however, is false because the size of your hips does not tell much about your experience while giving birth. Although the size of your baby is responsible for making the birth process either more or less painful for you, yet it is largely dependent on the birth position you are in rather than the size of the newborn.


Now that you know how most of these common myths about giving birth are nothing but cooked up products of wide imagination and conventional wisdom, all you need to do is breathe, calm down and approach your health specialist in case of any pregnancy, childbirth or postpartum health related concerns that you might have. One conversation with them and you will see that you were worried about nothing at all. 


March 22, 2021 |  read

Everything You Need to Know About the Water Birth Experience

What is a water birth? Here are answers to the questions you may have about Water birth in India.

Heard about a few Bollywood stars wanting to deliver their babies in a pool of water? Planning a water birth delivery yourself? Here are a few things you would want to know about the water birth experience in India. What is it? What is to be considered? How popular is it in India? Let us find out!


Water Birth Delivery : What is it?

It is a process in which the mother labours in water that is temperature controlled.  In the presence of doctors and other medical professionals, she delivers the baby inside a water pool. During labour, a mother’s body is under extreme duress, physically. Therefore, warm water is able to relieve their labour pain, and calm the body down naturally. Some even find it soothing and comforting as they feel less pain.


Some of the benefits of labouring in water or water birth are not just for the mother, but for the baby as well. For the mother, warm water becomes a pain relief - a natural one. There is a sense of comfort driven from the weightlessness in water. It might also shorten the labour duration, in some cases. As for the baby, he or she, after having lived in the warmth of their mother’s womb, is delivered into an environment of the pool that is simulated (temperature controlled).


What is to be Considered?

The first step if you are thinking about water birth delivery is to approach your doctor, and talk about it. Your maternity hospital should have a birth pool, to be able to provide you a medical service. Water births are still quite rare in India. While some hospitals may have staff that are skilled, others may not be able to provide you the facilities. You may want to find out about the following from your doctor :

  • How many women have delivered in the pool for water birth?
  • Do they get relieved from the pain?
  • How trained is the staff for a water birth in their hospital?
  • Will the water birth pool be available when your labour is due? What if it is not available? What will be the alternative? 

Eligibility to Opt Water Birth Delivery

There are a few specific circumstances under which the option of labouring in pool water can be considered. Women who are at low risk usually can labour in water. The position of the baby should be correct. There must be no previous complications, and labour should not have to be induced, but start on its own.


Water birth delivery is not recommended for those women who have definite labour conditions, like Diabetes, High Blood pressure, Epilepsy, among others.


Its Practicality

A water birth experience of one mother may differ from the other. In a standard process, it starts when pains of labour become intensified, and there is active labour. The mother is then asked (by her doctor) to step inside the pool. The temperature of the water is controlled before she enters the water pool, and monitored while she is inside to suit her comfort. Once inside, she is asked to assume a position she finds herself to be most comfortable in. The body temperature of the mother is periodically checked. With the use of equipment that is waterproof, the health of the baby is kept under observation.


Sometimes, additional pain relief medication is also provided (on the doctor’s administration). Small portions of nutrition and hydration in the form of curd, soft fruit,  or similar are provided to the mother. Partners can become active participants in helping the mother take the nutrition. They can help mothers relax by massaging shoulders, between contractions.


After a few cries and pushes, the baby swims out, and is allowed to settle in the mother’s arms. Both are let out of the pool, are dried and warmed to be carried to a bed.


Is It For You? - Sure, a water birth delivery guarantees a comparatively relaxed experience, but there might be situations where the mother who is in labour is made to shift to the hospital bed if and when complications arise - problems like a rise in temperature of the body, possibility of infections if the water breaks before going to labour, or the risk of heavy bleeding while inside the pool. 


Its Popularity in India

While the process of water birth delivery is natural, it still has a long way to go in India.

A ready and large supply of clean water and other disposable equipment is necessary to manage a water birth delivery. Adequate training of medical staff, certified midwives, and doctors is needed. Before it is more widely offered to women, protocols need to be in place.


Finally, while the idea of a water birth experience and getting to do away with the pains surrounding delivery can sound exciting, they are not for everybody. It requires the watchful eyes of a skilled doctor, best equipment, good experience of the medical staff, and most importantly, a pregnancy with no complications. Before you make a decision on whether you want to deliver your baby in a birthing pool or not, remember to consult your doctor to find out what can work best for you and your baby.


March 03, 2021 |  read