DIET DURING PREGNANCY:
There is always a dilemma that a pregnant woman faces of what to eat and what not to eat. There will be tonnes and tonnes of advice that will rain on you with regards to what kind of food to eat and what kind to chuck out. You will always be anxious with regards to your diet. Ideally, a woman should put on around 8 to 10 kilos throughout her pregnancy period. Piling on 20 to 25 kg is just too much. I am still struggling to lose the 10 kg that I put on, so imagine how difficult it would be to lose 25 kilograms. Eating for two people does not hold water, the baby requires high level of protein, vitamins, minerals, calcium, and iron. It does not feast on ghee or butter. Drinking a glass of milk daily, an egg, and two spoonfuls of sprouts should be made a part of everyday diet. Everything should be taken in moderation. Do not overdo anything. A pregnant women’s diet should provide the growing baby with all nutrients that it needs for its mental and physical development, for example, DHA supplements and folic acid rich eatables should be given priority.
A pregnant woman’s diet should be high in protein, low in fat, and low in sugar. Cut down on your salt and sugar intake completely. In the first trimester, only folic acid and a normal diet are enough to nourish the baby. From the second trimester onwards, calcium and iron should be taken as instructed by the doctor.
Take lots of fresh leafy vegetables, pulses, cereals, sprouts, almonds, apricots. A balanced diet is what you should aim for. It is important to chuck out all junk food, chips, fast food, chinese food (ajinomoto may harm the baby), spicy food, and carbonated drinks during this period. I know it is so difficult to give up on these things, I had banned myself from taking sweets, junk food, and aerated drinks during the entire period of pregnancy.
Do not ingest any medicine that is not prescribed by your gynecologist. Even if you are having a headache, avoid taking medicines, go for conventional methods like just placing a wet towel on your forehead. Do not bleach your skin during this period or apply medicated ointments for acne which may get absorbed into the bloodstream. Avoid getting in contact with people who are sick (even if its cold or cough) because a pregnant woman is easily susceptible to catch infections and transfer it to her baby. Drink plenty and plenty of water to help from getting dehydrated what with the frequent trips to the loo (and I say the urge to pee is very very frequent). Do not take fruits like grapes which are usually sprayed with insecticides and there is not much of barrier with this fruit to stop the chemicals from penetrating the fruit. Eat an apple a day (for potassium), an egg a day, a tomato a day, a carrot a day without fail.
Please refer to the following charts for an idea of what your daily diet should comprise to nourish the growing baby. Also, folic acid should be taken diligently for the first trimester to avoid any neural or spinal defects in the baby.
MYTHS DURING PREGNANCY:
1. The first myth is not to tell all and sundry that you are pregnant. While you are all excited and want to shout from rooftops that you are pregnant, elders prevent you from doing so for at least the first three months. The reason being that the most miscarriages take place in the first three months and elders think that you should be protected from ill effects in these initial months of pregnancy.
2. The second myth is that buying things for the unborn baby brings bad luck. I bought a majority of the things before my baby was born, so I do not believe in this theory.
3. A pregnant lady should not venture out after sunset. This one holds water because in the dark there is a chance that you might come across reptiles, insects, and other such things, which might shock you.
4. You should not stop food cravings during pregnancy otherwise the child will suffer from ear disorders. Again, this myth was formulated such that the pregnant lady would not deprive herself of nutrition in any form.
5. If you eat lots of clarified butter or ghee, then you will have an easy delivery. Again, this myth was formulated in the ancient times when the women folk would eat only after the males members had eaten, even the pregnant ones. Feeding ghee in a large amount to the pregnant lady ensured that the heavy calories in the ghee kept her going until late in the night.
6. Eating “hot” foods such as eggs and chicken leads to miscarriage. There is no such thing as “hot” food, everything can be taken, but in moderation.
7. Eating papaya and pineapple may lead to miscarriage. This theory cannot be completely rubbished because papaya is shown to contract the uterus. So, it’s better to avoid these two fruits.
8. A pregnant lady should eat for two people. This is not a correct notion. Since the baby derives only nutrients and oxygen from the mother, providing it with sufficient nutrients is enough, there is no need to stuff the pregnant lady with large portions of food.
9. Sex may harm baby. Again, some pregnancies are very high risk and some are normal, so doctor’s advice should be of utmost importance.
SOME EARLY SYMPTOMS OF PREGNANCY:
1. The first sign that you may be pregnant is a missed period. If your period is delayed by a week or ten days, home urine pregnancy tests such as Velocit by Dr. Reddy’s (Rs. 40) are easily available in the market to confirm the pregnancy. The urine pregnancy test is one of the most popular ways to detect pregnancy. It works by detecting levels of hCG in the urine. Home pregnancy tests are actually urine tests that can be performed in the privacy of your own home. Be sure to read the instructions included with the test before you use it. Pregnancy blood tests are performed at your doctor’s office or health clinic. They detect pregnancy by measuring hCG levels in your blood.
Two dark lines show positive pregnancy, whereas one line shows negative pregnancy.
2. Breast tenderness. One of the very noticeable early signs of pregnancy is tender, swollen, somewhat sore breasts. When you become pregnant, your body begins preparing your breasts for producing milk and breastfeeding. Hormones start increasing. In addition to breast tenderness and swelling, your nipples may feel sore or extra sensitive. Some women notice their nipples darken in color. This is the first sign that I noticed apart from my missed period.
3. Just feeling pregnant. Many women believe they have an intuition about pregnancy signs. Maybe you just feel different; tired, moody, queasy, lightheaded. You may also have heartburn, constipation, or find yourself making more frequent trips to the restroom. Perhaps you feel a dull ache or stiffness in your lower back, you have sore breasts or they seem overly sensitive, or you are simply not feeling like your usual self.
4. Frequent trips to the loo. You will find that you are not “rushing,” but “running” to the loo in the initial days of your pregnancy. One cause of this pregnancy symptom is that the swelling uterus can put pressure on your bladder. Also, pregnancy causes extra body fluids to be processed by your kidneys and bladder. This symptom remains constant throughout the pregnancy.
5. Nausea and vomiting. Many women experience nausea in the morning when they have eat something on an empty stomach. This is known as morning sickness. Other women notice nausea in the afternoon or evening. Others feel queasy all day. This pregnancy symptom may often be helped by eating smaller, more frequent snack size meals. Many women say salty crackers seem to be helpful. This is an early symptom of pregnancy that seems to show up about a month after pregnancy has begun. Some women do not have any nauseous feeling, some have it only in the initial 4 months, while some like me experience it throughout the pregnancy. All my neighbors would awaken with the howling sounds of me puking and then go to sleep hearing the same thing. I had to take medicines to stop the vomiting sensation in order for me to eat something.
6. Dizziness and/or Fainting
One of the more surprising pregnancy signs is dizziness and/or fainting. Going upstairs, standing up suddenly after sitting for a time, or just having to stand in line at the grocery store can make you feel light headed. You might even faint. As the uterus swells it compresses arteries in your legs. This can drop your blood pressure and make you dizzy.
A common early sign of pregnancy is that you may feel faint when you have gone a while without eating. This is due to low blood sugar, because that is your baby’s main source of food. You want to eat frequent, healthy snacks to keep your blood sugar up. Stock up on portable lunch box foods you can take with you. Such as apples, bananas, grapes, yogurt cups, carrots and celery, cheese and crackers, small cartons of milk, juice boxes, granola bars, boxes of raisins, etc.
7. Mood Swings and Irritability
With all of these symptoms of pregnancy to deal with, along with raging hormones, you may experience some mood swings and irritability? There is also the emotional adjustment period to your new responsibility. Your world has changed. Even when your pregnancy is carefully planned, it is normal for your mind to suddenly be filled with questions about the timing, your career, finances, insurance, labor and delivery, motherhood, even the future costs of college.
It is perfectly normal to feel mixed emotions, excitement and depression, joy and sorrow, laughter and tears. Your partner may be very confused by this and may not seem to be supportive. Explain that your mood swings are very normal signs of pregnancy and that you need support and understanding.
ABSOLUTE NO-NO’S DURING PREGNANCY:
1. Alcohol is a strict no-no. The results of alcohol consumption during pregnancy can be disastrous, leading to birth deformations and even miscarriages.
2. Stay away from coffee, carbonated drinks, junk food, and street food.
3. Do not take any medications which are not prescribed by the gynecologist. Do not even think of applying those ointments for acne because they are easily absorbed into the system.
4. Do not bleach, the harmful chemicals may penetrate the skin.
5. Do not consume high doses of vitamin A, which can cause some defects in the baby.
6. Do not consume excessive amounts of salty food because it can raise your blood pressure, which is not good for the baby.
7. Do not drive vehicles.
8. Do not climb stairs, it puts a lot of pressure on the lower abdomen.
9. Stay away from uncooked meat, bakery foods such as pastries, and unpasteurized milk, which can cause a condition called listeria, which may lead to abortion.
10. Stay away from cat litter coz cat litter may contain a particular kind of bacteria, which can cause miscarriage.
ABSOULTE YES’ DURING PREGNANCY:
1. Drink plenty and plenty of fluids like water and fresh fruit juices because the excessive peeing can drain you of water. Fluids do not include carbonated drinks and colas because they only provide empty calories and do nothing to keep the body hydrated.
2. Take folic acid in the first trimester of pregnancy. Folic acid is an absolute necessity in the first trimester because it protects the baby from developing neural tube deformities, spina bifida, and cleft lip.
3. Consume almonds after you have soaked them overnight in water or milk. It seems the outer skin of almonds is hard to digest and therefore heat-producing. Nuts are easier to digest and their nutrients are more readily available if they are first soaked overnight. Also, do not consume apple seeds, contain cyanogens, precursors to cyanide.
4. Get plenty of rest because your body is really working hard to keep the baby alive and kicking, don’t give it extra stress by doing strenuous work. Also, once the baby has arrived, sleep becomes a luxury, darlings.
5. Listen to music which calms you down. Studies have shown that the babies respond to pleasant music, it calms you and your baby down. Classical music pieces by Vivaldi is highly recommended.
6. Talk you your baby, read out a book to him/her, and sing lullabies while it is still in your womb. Your voice does reach your baby and remember that your voice comforts your baby. It can also hear other sounds although when those sounds reaches the baby, it’s in a mumbled form, something like someone talking underwater, but the babies do respond to them.
7. Touch your tummy often. The soothing heat from your hand does give comfort to your baby and he/she will often swim towards where you have kept your hand.
WAYS IN WHICH A BABY IS DELIVERED:
There are mainly two different ways through which a baby is delivered, normal delivery through vagina and the second one is Cesarean section.
NORMAL VAGINAL DELIVERY:
Vaginal delivery is also referred to as a normal delivery, and as the name suggests, the baby’s delivery takes place through the vagina. No anesthesia is given and the labor process is rather painful.
A Caesarean section is a surgical procedure in which one or more incisions are made through a mother’s abdomen and uterus to deliver one or more babies. A Caesarean section is usually performed when a vaginal delivery would put the baby’s or mother’s life or health at risk, although in recent times it has been also performed upon request for childbirths that could otherwise have been natural. Cesarean section is done under anesthesia (general or spinal).
PAINLESS NORMAL DELIVERY:
Epidural anaesthesia is an advance in pain management during labor, which ensures that a pregnant woman has a comfortable labor. It is a regional anaesthesia in which an anaesthetic drug is injected near the spinal cord in the spinal canal.
- Almost complete relief from pain with the patient being mobile
- No postpartum headache as in spinal anaesthesia
- Mother is conscious and alert throughout the labor
- An instrumental delivery can be performed under the same anaesthesia, if need arises
- If the patient has to be taken for caesarean section, the effect can be topped up through the epidural catheter.
- It numbs the body below the waist, but the movements are not impaired.
FROM MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:
I have always been a kind of person who has never felt responsible for anything in life. All through my growing years, I have been pampered by my parents, younger sister, cousins, classmates, and also colleagues who worked with me. When I did get married, everybody thought that I would develop at least some degree of maturity, but since I got married to a person who is 10 years older than me, that never happened. My world completely changed when I became pregnant after a short period of treatment. Although, I was elated at such a miracle, it was also a time when I was surrounded by a lot of negativity and trauma, but what helped me tide through all that was my baby, my belief in God, and the thinking that I could not let anything negative effect me lest it would harm my baby. All through the first trimester of pregnancy, the only thing that kept me busy was nausea and vomiting. Any kind of odd smell would send me into fits of vomiting. I hated the sight of ice-cream and fish and non-vegetarian food made me puke. I would be vomiting all through the day and I wonder how only folic acid kept me going through. All the major laboratory tests on me were done during this time. The initial ultrasound scanning to confirm the pregnancy, glucose tolerance test to check on diabetes, and a battery of tests were performed in the first trimester. The first TT injection was given in the first trimester.
The second trimester was a time when I just relaxed and chilled out. I could feel the baby fluttering and moving inside me. I could feel his butt, his hands, and his legs making random movements. I listened to my favorite songs to help me calm down and ate whatever I wanted to without any restriction. I read out stories and talked to my baby. Ultrasound scanning and TIFFA (targeted imaging for fetal anomalies) scan was done around this time to rule out any fetal abnormality in the second semester. During the ultrasound, I saw my baby sucking his thumb and moving his hands and I was overfilled with joy.
It is very important to keep your mind off things, which causes you to be stressed out or worry. If anyone gets on your nerves, avoid that person altogether. Being stress free is imperative as the baby becomes restless inside the womb, so why trouble your baby, BE HAPPY.
The third trimester was a time of testing. I would become breathless with my baby trying to stretch himself and kick around doing somersaults and gymnastics. This was also the time when little kids imitated how I walked and they asked me innocent questions as to how much I had eaten and how much gas had formed inside my tummy to make it so big. Also, third trimester is the time when I prepared and planned for the baby’s arrival. My family ensured that the entire house was made dust free and fit for a newborn. Blankets, minks, and cotton clothes were made kept aside for the baby. Also, this is the time to talk to the doctor about normal delivery or Cesarean section. Always opt for a normal delivery if possible. Also, around this time, I became really tired of waiting and was very anxious to see the baby. When the time of my baby’s arrival did come, it was not what I had anticipated. The pain that sets on with labor is nothing like a usual headache pain or leg pain. The pain is immense and the only thing that calmed me down was breathing in and breathing out, which really worked. But, unfortunately, the pain got too much for me to tolerate and I had to be taken to the operating room for Cesarean section. I was given anesthetic and put to sleep, but I could hear my baby’s first cry through the layers of anesthesia and unconsciousness. I had to gather energy to ask the doctor whether it was a boy or a girl. When she said it was a boy, the only thing I asked her before falling asleep again is whether the kid was doing okay. When she said in affirmation, I was relieved and went back to sleep. But, I just so wish I had tolerated the pain and had a normal delivery. I think it was foolish enough of me to have missed my son’s arrival.
But, all the suffering, pain, and exhaustion that I went through became immaterial when I saw my baby’s lovely face and his toothless grin. I understand completely when they say that a woman is reborn again when she gives birth to a child. When I see my son getting amused by something as trivial as a chocolate wrapper, I realize how innocent babies are. I now respect life much more than I did before and I believe in God immensely. Also, I truly believe that miracles do happen and my baby is the biggest miracle that has happened in my life.
SACRIFICING LIFE FOR STEM CELL RESEARCH:
What are stem cells?
Stem cells are incredibly valuable to science and this is because they have the capacity to develop into any type of cell in the body. And therefore, they have the potential to be used for almost anything, organ transplants, a cure for Parkinson’s and much more.
When a woman’s egg is fertilized, the egg is totipotent — it has the capacity to turn into any type of cell in the human body, including the placenta. The initial cells that are multiplying in the embryo are very powerful and can be cultured to obtain cardiac cells, bone tissue, nerve cells, and every other type of cells in the body. These cells can be used to treat various diseases and to develop new drugs. But, the embryo, which can develop into a baby after a few months has to be sacrificed.
This picture shows how stem cells are extracted from human embryo (that may later develop into a baby) for research and to cure diseases.
Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo, resulting in or caused by its death. An abortion can occur spontaneously due to complications during pregnancy or can be induced. Source: wikipedia.
Many women who do not practice safe sex and do not use protective measures during intercourse end up with unwanted pregnancies and these women do not even think twice about aborting their child and they do so with the ease of having their eyebrows threaded. Another species of women choose abortion over life because they are not happy with a particular gender that they are carrying (feticide). Most of the women who chose to abort do think that its their body and its their choice, so its nobody’s business.
As far as my personal opinion is concerned, I do think abortion is equal to murder because a baby’s heart starts to beat as early as 24 to 30 days into conception.
PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTION:
This is a spine-chilling form of abortion. Please read on, I do not have the strength to explain.\
AN AMAZING STORY OF SURVIVAL AND MIRACLE:
(from The Irish Independent, October 30, 1999)
This picture was taken when Dr. Joseph Bruner of Vanderbilt Medical University, Tennessee was conducting a life-saving surgery on a 21-week-old fetus (still inside the mother’s womb) to correct a medical condition in the fetus called as spina bifida, which would have disabled the child for life if not treated early. While Dr. Bruner was conducting the surgery, the baby reached out and grasped the surgeon’s finger. This was 10 years ago, now the baby has grown into a healthy 10-year-old boy. Please check his photographs below. The boy is called Samuel Alexander
Dr. Joseph Bruner who did the surgery.