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Dos and dont's during pregnancy

Is baby on the way? As a mother, your responsibility of nurturing the baby starts from the moment you are expecting. The overall development of the fetus depends on your lifestyle. So it is imperative to make few changes to your habits. I am sharing few tips as what to do and what not as an expecting mother. This article is compiled based on what I learnt from my obstetrician, nutritionist and diabetologist.

                                                 (Source: "Pregnant Lady" by Worlds Direction is licensed under CC0 1.0)                                

Eat healthy

Baby's nourishment in the womb is wholly dependent on what you consume. So follow a well-balanced and nutritious rich diet. The food you intake should be rich in protein, folic acid, iron, calcium, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, which are vital for baby's development. So ensure your diet includes legumes (i.e., dals), green leafy vegetables, lean meat, fish, eggs, multi-grains, dairy products, fresh fruits and vegetables. Eat only homemade food, to avoid any unwanted infections/ allergies. 

Stay hydrated 

Dehydration isn't good for both mother and baby. So stay hydrated  always and the best way is to drink water. Don't look out for fruit juices, sodas or alcoholic beverages to quench your thirst. 

Do not overeat

The common advise one receives when expecting is, "eat for two" and it is a misconception. The food intake should include all the essentials nutrients. Plan to eat portion controlled 6-8 meals, instead of having 3 heavy meals. Also remember to eat only low fat diary products, as full fat products makes you gain unwanted weight. The amount of protein remains the same in both low and full fat milk, it is the just the percentage of fat that varies. This is the foremost dietary change my nutritionist specified.

Foods to avoid during pregnancy

Raw meat, sushi, fish with high levels of mercury, raw eggs, unpasteurized milk and milk products, high amounts of caffeine, junk food and food loaded with sugar are considered to be harmful for baby's growth. So this list is a strict NO during this period. 

Take vitamins supplement

Folic acid, calcium, iron are key vitamins for the proper growth of the fetus. Your doctor will recommend vitamins supplement that best suits you. Ensure to take the right dose as prescribed on a timely manner. Don't skip or take any other medication without your doctor's knowledge, as they can be unhealthy for the baby.

Exercise regularly

Exercise helps you to improve metabolism, gain energy, reduce back aches, prevent excessive weight gain, control sugar level and help to sleep well. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes daily. Walking, yoga, swimming are considered good during pregnancy. Before starting any new exercise, discuss with your doctor and don't overdo anything.

Get adequate rest

It is important that you get sufficient rest during pregnancy. Pursue normal daily activities unless otherwise advised by your doctor. Do not sit or stand for a longer duration. Take breaks in between and walk for at least 5 - 10 minutes. Sleep is another factor which should not be ignored. A minimum of 7-8hrs of sleep is required for the well being of mother and baby. Do not stress over anything, as it has an ill effect on baby, your blood pressure and sugar levels. Do go for light evening walks, listen to soothing music or meditate, if you wish to unwind yourself.

Avoid smoking and consuming alcohol

Strictly avoid alcohol and smoking. These are harmful for the fetus and can result in miscarriage, premature birth, birth defects, lower birth weight, stunted brain development etc. Also remember that passive smoking is equally bad. 

Limit your travel

It is best to avoid travelling long distances during pregnancy. Limit your travel within close proximity and ensure to use seat belt while using a car. Doctors generally advise not to travel by air in case of complications. Most airlines permit domestic travel and international travel only until 36 weeks and 32 weeks of gestation respectively. Certain airlines insist you to produce doctor's approval. If you intend to travel (by any means), always check with your doctor in advance.

Prepare hospital bag for labour

During last trimester, get your hospital bag ready for your delivery. It should include all the essentials for mother and newborn. This gives you ample time to plan and buy all that is needed and helps to avoid any last minute rush. I will publish an exclusive article on this topic in coming weeks.

Don't believe everything you read

You will come across a lot of information related to pregnancy and baby on internet, books, magazines etc. Don't believe all that you read and hear and blindly follow everything. Apply your judgement, follow your instinct and when in doubt, always consult your doctor.

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