Pregnancy comes with responsibility. But for a first-time mother, it all can be overwhelming. We will provide you a comprehensive guide to the prenatal care and how to manage your pregnancy.
What is prenatal care?
Prenatal care is an act of having a healthy lifestyle while being pregnant. You are more likely to give a healthy birth if you take sufficient prenatal care measures.
Schedule an appointment with your gynecologist as soon as you find about your pregnancy. Your gynecologist will first review your medical history and family history.
Be honest and try to provide all the details pertaining to your family and medical history as it can be important information which could affect your pregnancy.
Urine samples will be taken on the first visit. The HSG level in your urine will confirm your pregnancy, and subsequent tests will confirm the duration of your pregnancy, an estimated date of delivery will be determined.
At each visit, the doctor will record your weight and blood pressure. These measurements help to track your health during pregnancy.
The gynecologist will undertake certain routine tests for your pregnancy,
A Pap smear to rule out the chances of cervical cancer.
A blood test to screen for HIV or hepatitis infection.
A pelvic exam to check the size and shape of your uterus
An ultrasound to view your baby’s growth and position.
Ultrasound will be a routine investigation throughout your pregnancy.
Prenatal care schedule:
In the first visit for prenatal care, the doctor educates you about your pregnancy,
If you are carrying multiples the course of prenatal care you should be implementing, for early or late pregnancy the course and line of action you should be undertaking, etc.
After your first visit, you will have a prenatal visit every four weeks. In your third trimester, the visits will become more frequent, at least once every two weeks.
As you near the date of your delivery, the visits will occur each week.
Things you will likely experience during pregnancy and their remedies
70 percent of women experience nausea early in their pregnancy, and about 50 percent of pregnant ladies experience vomiting. Morning sickness can start around six weeks into pregnancy, and it tends to peak around the eighth and ninth weeks. Estrogen hormone increases our sensitivity to smell. Certain strong scent such as that of caffeine can induce nausea.
Try eating frequent, small meals. Avoid foods that are greasy, spicy or acidic. Do not stay empty stomach for an extended period.
Fatigue is prevalent throughout your pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. The condition tends to return as you are completing your term.
Adequate rest is vital for a healthy pregnancy. Take multivitamins and iron tablets. Your tiredness can be a cause of underlying anemia if dizziness accompanies it. Consult your doctor for the same.
Constipation and haemorrhoids
Pregnancy causes a surge in progesterone levels in our body. Progesterone causes relaxation of our muscles, including relaxation of intestine muscles. This leads to slower bowel movements which irrevocably causes constipation. The enlarging uterus also pushes against the intestines and contributes to this factor. Constipation can cause straining during defecation and can cause haemorrhoids.
Drink plenty of fluids, always stay hydrated. Eat foods with high fiber content. Stool softeners will be a safer alternative to laxatives. Do not strain during bowel movements. Witch hazel wet wipes should be used as an alternative to dry toilet paper. Take sitz baths with essential oils for relief from itching.
With pregnancy, there is an increase in the blood volume. At the same time, the rate at which blood flows from your legs to your pelvis decreases and turns sluggish. This puts pressure on the veins, causing it to swell. Varicose veins are enlarged veins that commonly occur in the legs, although they can also appear on the buttocks and vaginal area. Leg cramps are also very common due to stagnation of blood flow.
Be active, stretch the calf of your leg by flexing your foot toward your knee, this will increase the blood circulation. Rest and put your feet up as much as you can. Avoid sitting or standing for extended periods.
Important tips for maintaining your pregnancy:
The amount of weight to be gained depends on how much you weighed before pregnancy.
If you had an average weight before getting pregnant, a 25-35 pounds gain should suffice. If you were underweight before pregnancy, try to gain a minimum of 28-40 pounds. If you were overweight, a maximum of 15-25 pounds would be enough.
If you are expecting twins or multiples, the minimum gain should be 37-54 pounds. Gaining too many pounds and can increase your chances of gestational diabetes, hypertension, and complications during labor. If you gain more than four pounds in any week of your second trimester, check with your gynecologist, as it could be a symptom of preeclampsia. Your chances of needing a C-section also increases.
Prenatal vitamins are quintessential during pregnancy and is a part of prenatal care. Daily nutritional requirements for a pregnant female,
Folate or folic acid: 400 to 800 micrograms.
Calcium: 1,000 milligrams.
Proteins: 71 grams.
Iron: 27 milligrams.
Vitamin B12: 2.6 micrograms.
Vitamin C: 40 milligrams.
Vitamin K: 60 micrograms.
Iodine: 220 micrograms.
Zinc: 10 milligrams.
Selenium: 65 micrograms.
Magnesium: 350 milligrams.
Eat about five to six small meals and stay hydrated. Limit the number of carbonated drinks, soda, and sugary drinks. Opt for water, vegetable or fruit juices, herbal tea and smoothies instead. Vegetables and fruits should be included in the diet. Legumes, broccoli and dark leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, provide the required nutrition. Poor nutrition during pregnancy can lead to preterm delivery, low birth weight, or stillbirth. To avoid any complications arising during pregnancy, meet the adequate necessity of macronutrients and micronutrients along with required proteins, carbohydrate, and fats.
Moderate exercise can help burn excess calories. Walking or swimming is considered safe for pregnant women. Various yoga asanas for pregnant ladies not only help maintain weight but will also aid in ease of delivery. Regular exercise will also aid in proper circulation throughout the body and decrease cramps.