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    All about pregnancy

    Pregnancy is the most beautiful phase of every woman’s life. It transforms her from being a woman to a mother. So, if you think you are expecting or want to start this journey, here is all you must know about pregnancy.


    What is Pregnancy? 

    Pregnancy is a state when the fertilized egg gets implanted in the wall of the uterus and stays there for almost 9 months to grow and develop into a baby.


     How to confirm pregnancy?

    If you have missed your monthly periods and had unprotected sex, confirm your pregnancy using a home pregnancy test. It is very easy to do a pregnancy test at home with a pregnancy test kit, just follow the following steps:

    • Do the urine pregnancy test 5-10 days after your missed period.
    • Collect the first-morning urine in a clean container (morning urine is preferred but you can do this test any time of the day).
    • Put a few drops of the urine sample over the marked pit using a dropper
    • Leave the pregnancy test undisturbed for a few seconds and then check the pregnancy test results.
    • Consult a gynecologist if you are not able to interpret the result of an early pregnancy test.

    Another way to confirm your pregnancy is through a pregnancy blood test that will detect the level of HCG (Human chorionic gonadotropin) or pregnancy hormone in your blood. HCG hormone is secreted by the embryo approximately a week after conception.

     

    If the Pregnancy test is Positive  

    If the test has confirmed your pregnancy, then you must start preparing yourself in nourishing this phase and information of a healthy baby. Here are a few pregnancy dos and don’ts that will ensure your pregnancy care. 


    Pregnancy Symptoms

    The very first sign of pregnancy is missed menstruation but there are other signs and symptoms of pregnancy too. Here is a list of common symptoms of being pregnant:



    These pregnancy symptoms vary from mother to mother, as every woman is unique and may experience these symptoms with different frequency and severity. So, pregnancy is a uniquely individual experience bundled with new challenges, learning and ultimate joy of stepping into motherhood.  

    Important points every mother should ensure after a positive pregnancy test:


    • Visit a gynecologist: Though a positive pregnancy test is reliable in most of the cases, still a visit to the gynecologist is a must. She will advise you about further tests, immunization,diet, pills, scans, etc.
    • Complete health screening: Pregnancy is a complex phase in which a woman might face several health issues. Therefore, health screening is a must. Complete blood picture, an ultrasound, genetic screening, psychological counselling, etc. may be required to find out any risk factor that can affect pregnancy.
    • Nutrition & diet: The demand for all the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate, and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) increases with each trimester. It is suggested to consult a registered dietician or nutritionist and ensure a balanced diet that will help you to achieve a healthy pregnancy.
    • Physical activities & Yoga: It is important to ensure that you are physically fit and active enough to enjoy this phase at the most. Exercises are safe during pregnancy and important to strengthen your posture, muscle tone that ultimately prepares your body to handle up with labor. 
    • Parenting and birthing classes: Pregnancy is not easy and requires a lot of courage and patience. In fact, every pregnant woman and her husband should take parenting classes and undergo parenting counselling too in order to understand the different phases of pregnancy and learn better ways to take care of the newborn. These classes will help you feel confident and successful in your new role that is going to change your life altogether. helps the mother in building confidence by teaching the birthing process, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques during delivery.
    • Breastfeeding classes: Ensuring exclusive breastfeeding of a newborn is a must. To achieve that the mother should receive adequate information and proper guidance through breastfeeding classes by registered lactation consultants.
    • Hospital selection & financials: A pregnancy confirmation brings along various concerns and the most important is the selection of a maternity hospital that has the best gynaecology and paediatrics department with all important facilities and affordable too. It is also important to consider the distance of the hospital from your residence so that you can reach to the hospital immediately in case of an emergency.
    • Age: Being a mother after 35 years of age puts you at-risk of complicated pregnancy or delivery. Most of the pregnant women aged 35 or older suffer from some complication like gestational diabetes, hypertension, and uterine bleeding. Therefore, every pregnant woman aged 35 or above should consult an expert gynaecologist for a safe pregnancy. 



    Reference:

    Baeten, J. American Journal of Public Health, March 2001. 

    FDA: "Confirm pregnancy." https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/home-usetests/pregnancy 

    March of Dimes: "Get ready for pregnancy," "Smoking, alcohol, and drugs." 

    Saini, R. Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine, July 2010. 

    Tobias, D. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 2012. 

    University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center: "Preparing for pregnancy." 

    Textbook of obstetrics DC Dutta’s: “Health Screening”   

     

    Frequently Asked Questions

    For a fit and healthy pregnancy, you should take care of yourself by following some tips:- 

    • You can ensure fit pregnancy through a balanced diet or you can consult specialized pregnancy dietician for the proper guidance and recommendations.
    • Have proper prenatal care by taking massages, and timely medical screening.
    • Avoid alcohol and smoking.
    • Do exercises and physical activities which will help you during pregnancy and post pregnancy. If you are not aware of the exercise to do during pregnancy, consult nearby exercise and yoga expert. 


    Most of the women gain weight between 11.5 Kg to 16 Kg during pregnancy. A nutrient-rich balanced diet along with effective exercises is a basis for a healthy pregnancy. You can manage your weight by tracking each week of pregnancy weight gain.  



    Many pregnant women go through this question as they don’t feel any early pregnancy symptoms even though they have a positive result. So, pregnancy without symptoms is a common occurrence and it does not mean that your baby is in trouble. 


    If you are experiencing spotting then Check the color of spots, if it is brownish or pinkish in color for 1 or 2 days, it can be a sign of implantation bleeding. If it continues for 3-4 days, consult your doctor to ensure that you and your baby are healthy. 


    If you are going through any complications during pregnancy, you should avoid traveling. As long as you have no identified complications, it is usually safe to travel just take some required precautions and consult your doctor before travelling.  


    Usually, healthcare providers recommend staying out of hot bathtubs or saunas as the increasing temperature can be dangerous for the growing baby inside you.


    Your baby is under complete protection in your womb. A healthy pregnancy allows the couple to enjoy sex but if there is any complication then you should avoid sex. Ask your gynaecologist and take her advice for safety. 

    What a mother eats and drinks during pregnancy is directly the main source for baby’s nutrition. A pregnant woman needs much amount of iron, calcium, folic acid, and protein for her and the baby’s development.  

    A doula is a trained and experienced professional in childbirth. The person gives educational, emotional and physical support to the expecting mother during all phases of her pregnancy. Also taking doula services can increase the chances of vaginal delivery and shorten the labour period.  

    There are many factors that need consideration before choosing a hospital for delivery like:  

    • Separate Obstetricians and Gynaecologists department 
    • Experienced doctors and surgeons 
    • Facilities for high-risk pregnancies like a blood bank, an ICU, etc. (especially if a pregnant woman is 
    • suffering from diabetes, hypertension, etc.) 
    • Well-equipped investigation department including pathology, ultrasound services, etc.  
    • Availability of NICU facilities 
    • Offer customized requirement  
    • Cost-effective 
    • Close to home  
    • Insurance coverage 

    Mood swings in women during pregnancy are absolutely normal and are mainly due to hormonal changes. You can manage them by: 

    • Pamper yourself according to your mood e.g. Eat whatever you like, listen to music, go for a long drive, etc.  
    • Spend time with your partner 
    • Go for a vacation 
    • Express yourself 
    • Talk about your worries or disturbing concerns 
    • Get plenty of sleep 
    • Eat well 
    • Exercise regularly 
    • Taking a pregnancy yoga class 
    • Consult a professional counsellor 

    Yes. The time between ovulation and expected next period is anxious and you constantly think about whether you have conceived or not this month. This stress and anxiety can cause early pregnancy symptoms like nausea, breast tenderness, food cravings, etc.  Baeten, J. American Journal of Public Health, March 2001. FDA: "Confirm pregnancy." https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/home-use tests/pregnancy March of Dimes: "Get ready for pregnancy," "Smoking, alcohol, and drugs." Saini, R. Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine, July 2010. Tobias, D. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 2012. University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center: "Preparing for pregnancy." Textbook of obstetrics DC Dutta’s: “Health Screening”