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Pregnancy

A Healthy Pregnancy Diet

A healthy pregnancy leads to a healthy baby. This guide to pregnancy nutrition can help you maintain a balanced diet of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals and fats for a healthy pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time when women feel a sea of changes taking place in their bodies. On the cusp of motherhood, they experience the excitement and bliss of creating and carrying another precious life within themselves with occasional anxiety and mood changes due to hormonal fluctuations. However, it is important to note that a healthy pregnancy diet is the key to a happy pregnancy and works marvels in coping with several pregnancy-related problems that expecting mothers might face.

 

One must also remember that a healthy diet during pregnancy means a balanced and nutritious diet and that under no circumstance implies gorging on large amounts of food thinking one is eating for two at a time. This has been reported as one of the most common blunders women make during their pregnancy. During this phase, since the baby’s nutrition depends upon the mother’s diet it becomes essential for the expectant mother to consume the right amount of nutrients to avoid birth defects as well as to keep unpleasant pregnancy symptoms at bay.

 

Quick Guide To Pregnancy Nutrition

In order to give the baby the right kind of nourishment the mother-to-be is expected to consume a wholesome and balanced diet that consists mainly of- carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins such as folic acid and minerals, chiefly- calcium and iron. The mother also has to ensure that she is taking moderate amounts of healthy fats namely the monounsaturated fatty acids and the polyunsaturated fatty acids like the omega 3’s. Intake of food rich in these compounds, helps in boosting the baby’s immunity and ensures adequate nourishment for the mother as well as the baby. 

 

Carbohydrates

During pregnancy as the mother and the developing baby try to meet their own nutritional needs in their own respective ways, the right amount of carbohydrate intake helps in fuelling the baby’s growth. They also provide energy to the body including the brain to be able to work efficiently. The good carbs help to keep the blood glucose levels under check which is essential during pregnancy.

 

 Carbohydrates are found in a wide assortment of foods, such as- milk and yoghurt, beans, legumes, starchy vegetables, various fruits, whole grains and products like whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, etc. which are also rich in other nutrients like fibre, and folate. These high-quality carbs help in adapting to the metabolic changes that occur in pregnancy and also enable effective functioning of the body. Since, excessively high amounts of blood glucose levels can lead to complications during delivery as well as have a negative impact on the foetus, it has been recommended that carbs should constitute just over a third of the food a pregnant woman eats.

 

Proteins

Sarah Krieger, a registered dietician and spokeswoman on prenatal nutrition for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in St. Petersburg, Florida has highlighted the importance of consuming protein-rich foods during pregnancy. According to Kriegar, protein is a ‘builder-nutrient’ since it is chiefly involved in the development of organs such as the brain and the heart.

 

Moreover, since proteins are a constituent found in every cell of the body and are vital in the making of muscles, hair, nails, skin, etc.  they also contribute in the growth and repair of tissues, regulation of normal muscle function, producing enzymes and hormones, transportation of oxygen through blood as well as building antibodies and bettering the immune system of the baby. Some of the commonly available food items rich in protein include- fish, meat and poultry, eggs, nuts, tofu, beans, lentils, and milk, cheese and other dairy products.

 

Vitamins

Vitamins such as folic acid which plays a major role in preventing birth defects in the newborn’s brain and spine, is contained in leafy greens like spinach, fenugreek leaves, kale, cabbage, broccoli, beans, legumes, oranges, whole grains like wheat, rice, whole grain pasta, etc, nuts, and fortified foods like breakfast cereals. It is a B Vitamin and is crucial in the body to make new cells and produce DNA. It is generally advisable for pregnant women to take at least 600 micrograms of folic acid a day under the supervision of her obstetrician.

 

Minerals

Essential minerals such as Calcium, is considered vital in building up the baby’s teeth and bones while inadequacy of the same can culminate in deficiency especially in the mother as the baby will draw the calcium from the mothers teeth and bones to fulfil it’s needs. The best sources of calcium are- dairy products including milk, paneer, cheese, yoghurt, etc. and green vegetables such as- spinach, broccoli, etc. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that pregnant women aged 19 and above need at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day.

 

Another vital mineral which should be a mandatory addition to the diet of a pregnant woman is Iron. It is advisable that pregnant women must take 27 milligrams of iron a day which helps in moving oxygen from the mother’s lungs to the rest of her body and to the baby’s body as well. Moreover, iron is also essential in making additional supply of blood in the mother and baby thus, reducing the risk of iron deficiency anemia which can make the mother feel tired and also result in small babies at term or pre term babies. Expecting women, especially vegetarian moms can consume iron-rich foods with a good source of vitamin C at the same meal to increase the absorption of iron from food. ACOG recommends a glass of orange juice at breakfast with an iron-fortified cereal as an example. 

 

Healthy Fats

Expectant mothers should consume mainly unsaturated or healthy fats like monounstaurated fats (avocados, olive oil, groundnut oil, nuts, etc) and polyunsaturated fats (omega 3 fats like safflower oil, sunflower oil, flax seeds, walnuts, etc) during pregnancy and stay away from saturated and trans fats.

 

 

In addition, there are certain limits and restrictions which pregnant women must adhere to. For instance, caffeine intake should be controlled as well as fish containing high levels of mercury should be avoided. Besides this, alcohol, raw meat, raw eggs, unpasteurized milk and unwashed fruits and vegetables must be completely avoided to prevent food borne illnesses by the expectant mother. 

December 17, 2020 |  read

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Babies

Milestones Your Little One Reaches in the first 6 Months

Here is your go to guide to help you navigate the first six months of parenthood. Milestones and everything you need to know about your baby's growth from birth till 6 months.

The wait of nine long months is finally over! Your little one is in your arms and you can’t stop gushing over how cute they are. While you can’t get enough of your baby, it can be overwhelming too, especially when they are your first born. You might be wondering about a hundred different things about their growth and whether you are doing it right. Well, the following article should put your mind at peace.

 

Here is your go-to guide to help you navigate the first six months of parenthood.

 

Month 1

An average newborn weighs approximately 2.8 kilograms and measures about 50 cms but don’t worry if your baby loses some of the weight in the first few days after birth. Babies can lose about 7-10% of their birth weight in the first 10 days of their lives and should regain it within the first 2 weeks as your feeding becomes steady. Once your little one starts gaining weight, they gain approximately 20-30 grams a day for the first few months. Feeding your baby is usually ‘on demand’ initially, which means that your little one will need to be fed as and when they show signs of hunger. Some babies tend to feed more at night for the first few weeks and then fall into a routine of feeding at every 2-3 hours. 

 

Babies should always sleep on their backs for the first 6 months with no loose covers in order to prevent any risk of suffocation. Tummy time is something you can start around the 2nd week. Tummy time is only when the child is awake and comfortable and should not be practiced when the child is asleep. This will allow them to push themselves up which will develop their arm and shoulder strength. 

 

Your little sweetheart loves your voice and hence, it is important to speak to them, even if you don’t always get a response. It helps them calm down.

 

A few common problems you might face during the first month include colic, nasal congestion and jaundice (yellowing of the skin). These will be monitored by your Paediatrician in the newborn visits.

 

 

Month 2

As days progress, your baby becomes more interactive and responsive. In response to loud noises, you may notice them to remain silent and occasionally turn towards the direction of the loud noise. Most babies start smiling when they see you or their daddy or sibling. This is called a social smile

 

They generally start putting their fingers in their mouth and have a strong suck reflex. Although they still cannot hold objects, a bright colored object hanging above them might catch their eye and they may try to bat at it. Their hearing and eyesight steadily develops during this month.

 

Some babies are good at establishing a feeding routine and may sleep longer at night. Their heads become more steady and when placed on their bellies they are able to lift their heads and sometimes their shoulders.

 

It's time for their 6 week vaccination too!

 

Month 3

Three months already? Well now begins what most parents would refer to as the ‘enchanted period’ as this is the phase with a lot of smiling, sleeping well and being social. Their routine is generally established and they sometimes sleep through the night! 

 

Head control is good and they tend to hold up their head without much wobbling. Their back strength also increases, they have better hand-eye coordination and may get hold of a rattle that they may put straight into their mouths. At this age, they laugh and squeal and coo, follow you as you move away and respond to the funny faces you make. Hugging your baby helps in their cognitive development around this time. Their verbal repertoire extends to the occasional vowels and consonant sounds like ‘ah-goo’. You would be quite proud of your cute one’s control over movements and coordination.

 

At week 10th, be ready for another vaccination.

 

Month 4

It is the playtime month for your baby. Their life now is all about showing off their newfound athletic abilities such as trying to get up or rolling, trying to eat any object available with their tiny mouth and perfecting their already achieved milestones. There may be signs of teeth as well and your baby will show quicker reflexes. This is also when their vision improves significantly; they will want to imitate you and hence, it is important that you talk to them for encouragement.

 

It’s vaccination time again.

 

Month 5

Your little one will be able to sit up for longer periods of time and will still need some help being propped up with pillows. They may start sitting unsupported for a few seconds too. Their rolling over skills improve by leaps and bounds and you may notice that when your little one is on their belly they move their arms and legs as if ready to crawl. It's best to start baby proofing your house for the impending explorer! Their senses also improve, and they can spot and try to grab a toy out of reach or turn their heads towards the direction of a sound. Their motor skills improve to ‘army crawl’ which is mostly slithering, and you can guess that crawling is just over the horizon.

 

Month 6

It’s your baby’s half year birthday! The teething phase must have started and tooth eruption is due anytime after the 6th month. Their feeding and sleep pattern is well established. They manage to sit independently for longer periods and some babies may be able to get into the crawling position too.

 

You can introduce them to solid food like fruits, vegetables and whole grain cereals. They should weigh somewhere within 6-7 kg and the average height should be somewhere around 25-26 inches.

 

 

Now that you know what you can expect in these six months, you can plan ahead to avoid a surprise. However, it is important to note that every baby is different and thus, it is okay if your little one takes more time than the others or is getting there faster. Remember to keep your pediatrician in the loop and of course, spend as much time as possible with your bundle of joy!

December 21, 2020 |  read

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Covid-19

Things to Know Before You Get Pregnant During the Pandemic

Planning to conceive but scared of the growing risk of the coronavirus pandemic? Here's what you need to know before getting pregnant during the coronavirus pandemic.

The year 2020 has dramatically changed the world and the way we perceive life. With the growing risk of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world, it is quite obvious to wonder your chances and safety of conceiving during this period. Well, here are some things to know before you get pregnant during the pandemic. While you may have a hundred questions on whether you should try to get pregnant at all, it can be pretty unsettling to not have all the facts you need, given the novel nature of the virus. The following article should put your mind to ease with everything there is to know to make an informed decision. 

 

Does coronavirus affect my chances of being pregnant?

Having a baby is a personal choice between you and your partner and coronavirus does not change that. Yes, you read it right. Although the virus is quite new, there is no evidence yet to suggest that it should have any dire consequence on your shot at motherhood. However, there are some things to know before you get pregnant during the pandemic as with the evolving nature of the virus, much more is yet to be known. Studies suggest that there are neither any chances of miscarriage at any stage due to the virus nor any effect on the baby’s development. If you do not have any symptoms of COVID-19, you can go ahead and try to conceive. In case you are opting for Assisted Reproductive Technology or ART, you can very well continue with your plans, provided that you choose a clinic in a region with less number of COVID-19 cases or a hospital which is particular about the rules and regulations. In case you do have the virus yourself, it is recommended that you wait for the symptoms to subside before you take any step to welcome your little one into the world. Pregnancy alters the hormones and the functioning of the immune system in your body resulting in a difference of response to viral infections such as COVID-19. While many opt for the procedure of ‘egg freezing’ as a preventive measure, there is no medical indication to prove that such a procedure is indeed helpful. 

 

Does my being pregnant affect my risk of being infected?

Well, this is where it gets tricky as yes, being pregnant does increase your chances to be infected with the virus. This can be traced to the effects of progesterone and relaxants in the first trimester which makes the maternal respiratory system vulnerable. Moreover, women are more susceptible to hyperventilation and anxiety during this period which causes them to inhale more air and thus, increase the risk of the virus. History highlights the fact that the risk of morbidity through a viral infection for a pregnant woman is significantly higher than to a non-pregnant woman. (Zhao et al., 2020)

In such a case, it is vital that you follow strict social distancing norms and limit your interactions outside. Be sure to have your medical supplies at all times. It is quite possible to be stressed and anxious but don’t worry, keep your partner and family close. Consult with your doctor on how you can cope up in such a situation.

 

How safe would the prenatal visits be?

One of the things to know before you get pregnant during the pandemic is that you are going to need constant medical support and one can never say how safe these visits will be. As a parent, balancing the risk of the virus and getting a routine check-up done can be no cakewalk. However, it is important to let your obstetrician and midwife let in on the decision and seek guidance. If you are unsure of the situation in your region, it is preferred to go for live sessions and schedule an appointment in a hospital subject to your environment and your doctor’s advice. The Indian Council of Medical Research suggests that routine antenatal care should be tailored to a minimum at 12th, 20th, 28th and 36th week of pregnancy. In case of any symptoms, you ought to defer your appointment by either 7 or 14 days.

You may consult with your doctor on your decision to buy a blood pressure cuff to monitor your baby’s movement at home.

 

Availability of medical facilities during COVID-19

It is not unknown that the public health facilities in the country are overburdened with patients. Although the birth of a child is considered an essential service as per the government regulations, the latest situation of complete lockdown in most places across the country combined with over-crowded hospitals has made it quite impossible to get a last-minute reservation. About 25% of deliveries take place in private health facilities which are shut down, resulting in further deterioration of the availability of such facilities. It is important to understand this is quite an unusual situation borne out of a pandemic that makes no promises to end but there should be no reason to lose any hope. It’s just one of the things to know before you get pregnant during the pandemic and no reason why you should panic. You can always make lemonade out of the lemon. Make sure that you have a trusted obstetrician who is familiar with your needs to be able to guide you while maintaining social distancing norms and have access to a few online maternal health care facilities in case of imposition of a lockdown. It is always helpful to be near your family, or people you trust to avoid the absence of any face-to-face interaction. This helps you to be happy and healthy while receiving guidance during those months.

 

January 21, 2021 |  read

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Covid-19

Pregnancy During COVID-19 - Having a Baby in the Time of Corona

Being pregnant during the coronavirus pandemic can seem intimidating. This article will tell you what you need to know while being pregnant during this pandemic.

Due to the spread of Covid-19, also known as the novel coronavirus, the period of pregnancy can be very overwhelming. Since pregnant women are excluded from research experiences, we have very few reliable sources that would state a proven fact. Rest assured; we have got you covered about everything you need to know about pregnancy during COVID-19. 

 

The story of Covid-19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This virus began in Wuhan, China and spread across the globe faster than anyone can imagine. In less than six months, the World Health Organization was struck with a challenge beyond their control. What started as an ‘outbreak’ in China is now a ‘pandemic’ that has forced the world population to stay indoors.

 

There are seven different strains of coronavirus known to infect human beings. Most of them are mild but others can cause serious illness. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the symptoms for this virus includes-fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell. 

 

These occur between a time span of 2-14 days after a person is exposed to an infected person. The disease can transfer from person to person through respiratory drops in the air by coughing or sneezing or through contaminated surfaces. In simple terms, it’s like catching the common flu, but this will result in dangerous health conditions.

 

It sounds like an apocalyptic movie and we are sure you might have already watched the movie ‘Contagion’ more than once during this lockdown. Set aside these movie theories and other spin-offs. They are bound to make you nervous and scared. As a soon-to-be mom, this isn’t an excellent emotional balance you want to have right now.

 

Virus vs Pregnancy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The aged, new-borns, children under the age of 12 and pregnant women are asked to take the highest precaution during this time. Coronavirus affects those with less immunity in their system. Pregnant mothers are immunocompromised because their bodies are supporting another beating heart within them. 

 

While the world’s renowned scientists are cracking their heads around this ingenious virus, only a handful of cases allow us to study pregnancy during COVID-19. Studies show that mothers with Covid-19 undergo intensive care and hospitalisation. Do not worry yet; this case study does not account for labour and delivery hospitalisation. There are also studies from China that show the absence of the virus in breast milk, cord blood and amniotic fluid. If you do have concerns regarding the exposure to Covid-19, we recommend you talk to your doctors.

 

Most pregnant women have shown mild to moderate symptoms of the virus. COVID positive pregnant women should also go into isolation or quarantine in an almost similar manner to others. They should have access to their caregivers, medication and even mental health care according to quarantine standards. Asymptomatic transmission is also possible in pregnant women, and this has to be monitored with equal priority. Even in quarantine, you should monitor your oxygen saturation, have plenty of fluids, food and medication after a thorough consultation with your doctor. 

 

Stay safe, stay home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proven by millions across the globe, this rule has helped resist the chances of getting the virus into your system and your family. No matter which stage you find yourself in terms of pregnancy during COVID-19, stay at home as much as possible. Stick to proper hygiene for everybody in the family, including yourself. Wash your hands, feet and face as you come back from outdoors. Change your clothes regularly. To be safe, take a shower after returning home from a doctor’s clinic or hospital. 

 

To reduce the number of times, you go out of your homes to buy essentials, stock up every week. Plan; get your medications stocked up. Follow a routine to wash and clean each item that you have purchased before you use.  

 

Visiting your doctor during this time can be a little challenging. But do not skip your prenatal appointments as much as possible. Everybody has gone digital in the last few months; we suggest you do the same too. Try to get comfortable with this new system. There are many apps on your smartphones and laptops that can help you connect with your doctor through video calls. Keep your doctor’s number on speed dial and have an open, free conversation with them to help you through your difficulties. 

 

There can be emergency cases that require you to get to the hospital. In such situations, do not forget to wear your masks and carry your hand sanitizer. Strictly follow the rule of social distancing with others. Hospitals can be a host to the virus. But you should also remember that at a time like this, the medical staff and authorities do follow strict hygiene regulations. Take an appointment ahead, make sure your doctor is in on the day of your visit to the hospital. This way you can avoid the long hours in the waiting room and reduce your exposure to other possible positive patients. 

 

Both, the pandemic and pregnancy, cause an emotional roller-coaster for families. Sadly, Covid-19 has called off a lot of things like job security, family members and many other plans. Therefore, couples have been forced to table their pregnancy plans due to Covid-19. It is best to take into account challenging factors like jobs losses, insurance charges and take necessary financial precautions.  

 

 

A secret to fighting this virus- stay home, stay healthy and stay strong. The narrative of this virus is changing daily. Keep yourself updated with the world and with your doctor. Maybe plan a virtual baby shower. Avoid crowded areas as much as possible for the safety of yourself and your baby. Pregnancy during COVID-19 may not have been your best choice but remember - there’s a brand new baby coming home!

 

December 24, 2020 |  read

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Pregnancy

Natural Ways to Fade Away Stretch Marks

Pregnancy stretch marks are a sign of strength while creating a miracle. There are natural ways to fade stretchmarks, if you prefer.

Stretch marks. Yes! This is one of the most common problems that at least 90 percent of pregnant women face today. So, you’re not alone in this problem.

 

To be honest, stretch marks occur to both men and women. Are you surprised? It does indeed happen to everybody. For women, it occurs around the belly, breasts and hip area. Medically termed as striae, they occur when the skin changes shape due to rapid weight gain or loss. Some people can see the appearance of stretch marks from the age of puberty.

 

(Anyone can develop stretch marks, but they are more common in women than men. In women, they occur around the belly, thighs, breasts, upper arms, and hip area. Medically termed as striae, they occur when the skin is overstretched due to rapid weight gain or loss. In many people, they appear first around the puberty age as a result of a growth spurt.)

 

Pregnancy and puberty are the two common life events that give rise to these stretch marks. During the third trimester, your belly is bigger and stretches begin to appear in thin shades of red or purple due to changes in the connective tissues and collagen fibers within the skin. If you are seeing them for the first time during your pregnancy, lucky you, but nothing to worry about. They look different from the texture of the skin around it. Over time it will fade and take a lighter shade compared to your skin. These marks are normal and generally do not cause any harm or pain. Although some may have a concern from an aesthetic point of view

 

How can we prevent the effect of stretch marks during pregnancy?

Here are a few tips that could help you get a heads-up to start on healing these stretch marks. Consult your doctors before you take any kind of medication for this or trying anything new. But otherwise, there are a lot of simple, safe home remedies that you can do to treat your stretch marks.

 

Ensure you maintain a healthy diet. Food and pregnancy go hand-in-hand. Consult with your doctors and change a few things around on your plate. Add food that will help improve your skin elasticity. Food rich in nutrients, and  especially those that contain antioxidants, Vitamin A & E and omega 3 can reduce stretch marks. Too much or too little can both be harmful, so make sure to talk to your doctor to know the exact amount of these nutrients to be included in your diet. Along with food, drink plenty of water. Just like every other teenage-pimple cure guru says, stay hydrated. Drink about 8 glasses of liquid. If you feel that water can be boring sometimes, you can switch to cucumber or watermelon juice. Still counts in those “8 glasses”.

 

Move that blown belly a bit. Stretch those stretch marks away. Some mothers turn to low impact exercises like pregnancy or prenatal yoga, Kegel exercises or simple floor stretches. Get help from your personal trainer or experienced support to learn a few moves. These not only result in avoiding stretch marks but will also relax your body and mind during this pregnancy period. If you are still worried about these sessions, you can always speak to your doctor who can help you with a safe routine. 

 

We have collected a few home remedies/ayurvedic methods that you can do yourself and in the comfort of your home.

 

Sugarsugar varieties - sugar stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Sugar acts as an exfoliating agent on your skin. Mix one cup of sugar with ¼ cup softening agent like any oil of your choice. You can also consider adding some lemon juice to this mixture as well. Scrub the mixture on your skin where the stretch marks are for 8-10 minutes. Repeat this several times in a week before you take a shower.

 

Yellow-orange magician- Turmericspices: turmeric roots and powder shot from above - turmeric stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Ever since the first pimple, every Indian woman's go-to remedy is the magical turmeric powder. Effective across all ages, a smooth turmeric powder paste can also help heal stretch marks. Use this paste 2-3 times a week.

 

Jelly Aloe vera

aloe vera on wooden background - aloe vera gel stock pictures, royalty-free photos & imagesThe healer of (almost) all, aloe vera, is an excellent skin softener and moisturizer. After a shower, apply a good amount of aloe vera, from a plant, on your skin, daily.

 

Oily- business

Most south-Indians will swear by coconut oil treatments for stretch marks. This super-soothing and vitamin E rich oil gets easily absorbed into the skin. It promotes healing of the scars and helps in speedy recovery of the stretch marks. Other oils like olive, almond and castor oils also have healing elements.aroma therapy oils placed next to a white towel and flower - oil stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images It has been proven that these oils, massaged over the affected area, play a vital role to reduce stretch marks. Consult with your doctor to be aware of any kinds of allergies that you might be facing with the use of these oils.   

 

 

Some women try very hard to rub the stretch marks away. Others carry them as a souvenir of the beautiful journey towards motherhood. Our message to pregnant mommies - with or without these stretch marks we are proud of this journey that you are going through. You will always be beautiful. So never be ashamed of these stretch marks. Embrace these beauty marks with pride and do exactly what makes you happy!

 

December 24, 2020 |  read

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Pregnancy

Physical Effects of Pregnancy

Read more to discuss how pregnancy impacts your physical health and how to manage it.

Pregnancy in a woman’s life can be as joyous as it is challenging. Isn’t it wondrous how your body can accommodate a tiny human being inside? The perks obviously come with a few hurdles as your body goes through a myriad of changes. A few of these physical effects of pregnancy may begin even before you find out that you are pregnant. It can be quite exhausting but hold on, we will take you through everything step by step, and you will feel much better when you know what to expect and how to be prepared for all of it.

 

A few common physical discomfort includes:

 

1. Morning Sickness

This is mild nausea which maybe accompanied by vomiting, caused by pregnancy hormones. This is more common during the first trimester. However, the sickness is not true to its name and can occur during any time of the day. You may develop aversion to certain food and smell which will contribute to your morning sickness. With the passage of time, it tends to go away.

 

2. Hyperemesis

This is a severe form of nausea that results in persistent vomiting during the months of pregnancy. It may lead to dehydration which can make you prone to fainting or dizziness. You can consult your doctor in such a case in order to make sure that you don’t put up with it for too long.

 

3. Frequent Urination

As your baby develops in your uterus, it creates a pressure on your bladder which will tend to make you urinate more often. Sometimes, you may even leak a little when you cough or sneeze. This is nothing to be embarrassed about or worried, for that matter.

 

4. Lightheadedness

You may often feel dizzy or lightheaded especially if you stand for long, as the blood tends to pool in your legs and may result in low BP. Your body is working overtime to create extra blood for your baby, and so you may feel quite a few changes. Thus, it is quite obvious to be stressed, hungry or feel weak.

 

5. Heartburn

The hormone changes in your body slows down the process of breaking down food. This makes the food stay in your stomach longer to give more time to your body to absorb the nutrients, the acid and reflux may lead to heartburn.

 

6. Constipation

If you are taking vitamins that contain iron, it leads to constipation, accompanied by gas and bloating. Make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. If you are having severe problems, it is better to switch your prenatal vitamin with the consultation of your doctor.

 

7. Thyroid

Thyroid disorders, especially hypothyroidism is quite common in pregnancy and can risk the health of both your baby and you. It is therefore advisable to seek medical counsel at an early stage.

 

8. Placenta Previa

This occurs when the placenta has implanted at the bottom of the uterus and covers the cervix, resulting in obstruction of vaginal birth. The symptoms of placenta previa include bleeding during pregnancy which may be painless. This should be immediately reported to the doctor.

 

9. Changes in veins and skin

Visible blue veins in your belly, breasts and legs due to a higher blood volume and faster heart rate is also one of the physical effects of pregnancy. This is because your heart pumps faster to make extra blood in order to meet the needs of pregnancy. Developing spider veins on your face, neck or arms are common as well. On the other hand, your skin will start to look more rosy and shiny, which is often referred to as ‘pregnancy glow’.

 

10. Breast Changes

This is one of the first visible signs of pregnancy. The hormones in your body change to prepare you for breastfeeding which makes your breast tender and swollen. There may be small bumps forming around your nipples. Your breast may get bigger and fuller as the pregnancy advances.

 

11. Vaginal changes

One important thing to be aware of is vaginal thrush, an infection indicated by a thick curdy  discharge which may be itchy and uncomfortable, and maybe accompanied by a foul smell. During your pregnancy, there is more production of glycogen, a type of sugar in your vagina which makes the thrush grow and thus, making you more vulnerable to an infection. Use cotton underwear and eat natural yoghurt, to prevent the growth of thrush to an extent.

 

12. Iron deficiency anemia

Pregnant women are known to need more iron than others due to the increased amount of blood that their body has to create for the developing child. As iron is part of the hemoglobin that allows blood to carry oxygen, iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common types of deficiencies that a pregnant woman can face. This leads to feeling weak or faint, looking pale and experiencing shortness of breath.

 

13. Infections

Pregnancy makes you quite vulnerable to many infections as well. At times, sexually transmitted infections or STIs may complicate the pregnancy and the health of the baby after delivery.

 

 

It can be a bit frustrating to see the physical effects of pregnancy on your body but let’s be a little patient and hold on a little more, because in the end it will all be worth it. Make sure to keep your doctor in your speed dial and ask for advice if you are unsure about anything. Apart from that, pamper yourself and maintain a healthy diet. These simple changes can help make your pregnancy smooth and easy.

 

December 24, 2020 |  read

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Babies

Pregnancy and Babies with Down Syndrome

Down Syndrome is an intellectual disability found in children. Here is everything you need to know about Down Syndrome - signs, symptoms and the next steps.

One of the most common intellectual disabilities found in children is Down Syndrome. This can be detected right at pregnancy and the causes for it can be heavily dependent on the parents. There is a lot of confusion surrounding the syndrome. While some screening tests show a positive test result, the mother may go on to give birth to an absolutely healthy child. Some others find out that their child has the syndrome much later, after the birth. Here is what you need to know about babies with Down Syndrome and how you can look out for the symptoms in your child.

                                                                              

What is Down Syndrome?

Every child is born from the genetic material of both the parents. This genetic material is found in the form of thread-like structures called chromosomes. An average human being has 46 chromosomes in 23 pairs, half of which comes from the mother and the other half from the father. However, in the case of an individual with Down Syndrome, the  chromosome  number  21  has  an  extra  copy  which  can  result  in  delayed  cognitive competence  and  slightly  different  physical  growth  hence  its  other  name,  trisomy  21. While the disabilities of a person with Down Syndrome may  last  lifelong  and  their  life  expectancy  may  be  shorter,  the  recent  cultural  and institutional  developments  provide  the  individual  with  a  healthy  and  fulfilling  life, nevertheless.

 

What Causes Down Syndrome?

Down  Syndrome  is  caused  when,  during  reproduction,  the  chromosomes  do  not  split properly, resulting in the partial copy of the chromosome number 21. Some parents are more likely to produce babies with Down Syndrome than others. The first factor is age. If the mother is over 35 years or the father is over 40, the chances of having a child with Down  Syndrome  is  more.  The  second  factor  is  of  familial  history.  If  there  are  other individuals  related  to  you  in  your  family  who  have  this  condition,  there  are  more chances that your child may have the same. Parents who carry genetic translocation also have a higher probability of having a child with Down Syndrome.

 

The important thing to remember is that these are only probabilities drawn from studies over a large population. For example, if you are a pregnant woman who is 38, it is not a given that your child will definitely have Down Syndrome. This is just to say that your chances of having a child with these traits are more than a mother of, say, 25.

 

How Can I Find Out if my Baby has Down Syndrome?

Yes, it is possible to find out if your child has Down Syndrome. Prenatal screening and postnatal diagnosis are the two options available.

 

During pregnancy, a prenatal screening test can be performed to look at the foetus. A screening test only categorizes women as at a high risk or low risk of having a child with Down  Syndrome.  A  common  available  screening  test  in  India  is  the  Combined  Test which  includes  a  blood  test  and  an  ultrasound  scan.  While the  former  looks  for abnormal  levels  of  proteins  and  hormones,  the  latter  looks  for  more  fluid  around  the baby’s  neck,  both  which  could  mean  a  baby  with  Down  Syndrome. However, remember that a positive result for a screening test is never an ultimate assurance that your child is affected.  Only 1  in  20-30  women  who  are  tested positive  for  this  end  up  having  a  child  with  a  Down  Syndrome. This test is only to separate women to take them to the diagnostic test.

 

A diagnostic test includes more specific testing methods like Amniocentesis to separate out fluid or other material from the mother to test for the syndrome. They look for the chromosome that causes the Down Syndrome and can give a more accurate result.

 

After the child is born, a quick check-up by a paediatrician can assure you if your child has a Down Syndrome or not. Fried’s Diagnostic Index is one such method that looks at 8 signs including the shape of the child’s face, ear, tongue, and toes, to come to a conclusion.

 

What are the symptoms of Down Syndrome?

At birth, babies with Down Syndrome usually have certain characteristic signs, including: flat facial features, small head and ears, short neck, bulging tongue, eyes that slant upward, atypically shaped ears and poor muscle tone.

 

People with Down syndrome usually have some degree of developmental disability, but it’s often mild to moderate. Mental and social development delays may mean that the child could have: impulsive behavior, poor judgment, short attention span, and slow learning capabilities

 

How Can I Treat My Child’s Down Syndrome?

Unfortunately, there is no cure yet found for Down Syndrome. However, there are many supportive  measures  to  help  your  child  cope  up  and  lead  a  fruitful  life.  Speech, occupational, and physical therapies may be offered to help the child cope better with life  and  develop  to  their  full  potential.

 

Having a baby with Down Syndrome may seem challenging but with proper professional medical support, things will be much easier over time. Remember that your child needs your constant support and needs you to protect him or her not just from severe concerns like heart disease but also the usual colds.

 

 

Remember that, any child – with or without a syndrome – has certain challenges to face in life. Your child may be facing a different set of challenges compared to other children but this does not make them any less beautiful. Over the years, babies with Down Syndrome have gone on to show that they can compete equally well with other children in various fields. As a parent of a child with Down Syndrome, it becomes your responsibility to give your child the best life you can and nurture their talents.

 

December 24, 2020 |  read

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Pregnancy

Am I pregnant? Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy

Unsure if you are pregnant? Missing your period, implantation bleeding, food aversion, frequent urination, fatigue and morning sickness are some classic pregnancy signs and symptoms.

Missed your period but not sure if you should be expecting the big news? For women who have got an irregular period cycle, this is an additional source of agitation. And of course, you cannot always rely on a pregnancy test, right? It is always better to double check. So worry not, for here you will have a list of everything that points you towards the fact that very soon, you would be having another human in your world.

 

Classic signs of Pregnancy

Apart from the obvious signs of missing your menstrual cycle, you should be looking out for the following:

                                                       

  • Implantation bleeding

The common synonym for this would be ‘spotting’ which is light period or losing a little blood. This occurs when the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus about 10 to 14 days after conception. Then again, not all women go through implantation bleeding. The colour of your bleeding may vary as well, to pink, red or brown accompanied by mild, moderate or severe cramps. It usually lasts for less than three days.

 

Therefore, make sure to eat healthy and avoid any kind of food that leads to heavy bleeding.

 

  • Morning sickness and fatigue

Well, if you are nauseous and running to the washroom every once in a while, you definitely need to check with your gynecologist. Although morning sickness is more common after a month of pregnancy, you never know what your constant state of fatigue and nausea is pointing at. This is because during pregnancy, the levels of progesterone in the body soar which makes you feel sleepy. Normally, you should be looking out for these signs within four to six weeks of your last cycle.

                                                      

  • Tender, swollen breasts

As the estrogen level starts to rise in the body, with conception, breasts start to feel sore, full, sensitive, tingly or even painful. This is one of the first messages of pregnancy, although it may not feel very different from PMS breast. A slight silver lining: this discomfort in fact decreases gradually into your months of pregnancy. Remember that your areolas darken and increase in diameter gradually following the conception, along with the probability of tiny bumps around them. These are minute changes that many women fail to notice.

 

  • Frequency of Urination

A heads up - you might find yourself going to the toilet frequently. This is because the amount of blood increases during pregnancy which leads your kidneys to gear up and filter out the extra waste in your blood from the baby on board. Moreover, your growing uterus will start pushing on your bladder as your progesterone levels increase and thus the constant need to pee.

  • Mood Swings

If you feel moody during your PMS, you might change that opinion during your pregnancy. The rush of hormones in your body can make you exceptionally emotional right during the four weeks into your pregnancy. That’s okay and completely normal. All you need to do is pamper yourself during these times. It is also the responsibility of your partner to be there for you. Do things which make you happy and keep enough time to get rest on your schedule.

 

  • Food aversions

Of the many crazy things that indicate your pregnancy, food aversion might be the most annoying and confusing. These too, can be adhered to hormonal changes, especially in the first trimester. You may find yourself scrunching your nose to your favourite dish or beverage, like fried food or coffee. That is completely fine but always remember to eat healthy because you have one more life to take care of.

  • Bloating and constipation

Very much like your menstrual symptoms, bloating is also a sign of increased progesterone which makes your digestive tract slow and traps gas inside your intestine. As a result, feeling constipated is normal, which again increases the feeling of abdominal bloating.

 

  • High blood pressure and dizziness

If you often track your pressure, you might notice sudden high or normal blood pressure drop in the early stages of pregnancy which will cause dizziness due to dilated blood vessels. But this, as a sign of pregnancy is quite difficult to determine because high blood pressure might be present beforehand. Be sure to switch to pregnancy friendly exercises and drink enough water.

  • Nasal congestion and raised BBT

A blocked or stuffy nose is often a sign of pregnancy, this is due to increasing hormone level and blood production which causes mucous membranes in your nose to swell, dry out and bleed easily. In addition, you may notice raised basal body temperature. The temperature increase occurs slightly soon after ovulation and remains so until your next period. Its continued elevation for more than two weeks indicates pregnancy.

 

  • Dreams and nightmares

As odd as it sounds, our hormones can be responsible for very vivid dreams and nightmares. However, a more scientific explanation is since your sleep cycle is broken frequently during pregnancy due to midnight bathroom adventures, you tend to remember the dreams more vividly.

 

 

But the most interesting sign you should pay heed to is your sixth sense. It is said that a mother’s intuition is never wrong. The reason you are checking this article right now must be just because you are simply ‘feeling pregnant’. So well, without further ado, end your apprehension by taking a test - be it with a test kit or an ultrasound. The good news is just on the way!

December 17, 2020 |  read