Looking After Yourself – Pregnancy Care

Minor discomforts are the inevitable result of the changes in your body during pregnancy.
But knowing everyone has them doesn’t always make them easier to bear. These remedies should offer some relief.

  • Vaginal secretions increase during pregnancy which can sometimes cause itching – wear panty liners and wash with water daily.
  • Heartburn is caused because of the stomach acid creeping upwards as the growing uterus is squeezing the stomach – Eat small, frequent meals, avoiding greasy and spicy foods.
  • Constipation is common during pregnancy, as the intestinal muscles tend to slow down – Pay attention to your diet. Have a lot of high-fiber foods and liquids. Exercising also helps.
  • Varicose veins appear as a result of decreased blood circulation, heredity, or weight gain – Change your position and keep your feet elevated whenever you sit for a long time. Avoid crossing your legs while sitting. If you must stand for long periods, try to get off your feet for about 15 minutes every two hours.
  • Hemorrhoids are varicose veins in the rectum and can get worse if you’re constipated – sit on a soft pillow or soak in a warm bath.
  • Backaches are a natural result of loosening of muscles in preparation of delivery, but they are more often the result of poor posture – Try to carry yourself straight. Wear low-heeled footwear, or preferably flats. If you must lift something heavy, such as a toddler, bend from your knees, not from your waist.
  • Swollen ankles – as far as possible rest your legs on an elevated position. Rotate your feet at the ankles as often as you can. Slowly rocking in a rocking chair is good exercise for your calf muscles and ankles.

Taking a glass of grapefruit and lemon juice in equal parts is an excellent way of dispelling fatigue and general tiredness.

Destress yourself
Pregnancy is a time of raging hormones, mood swings, fatigue, a frequent feeling of unwellness, and anxiety about the future. Apart from this physical discomforts can prevent you from sleeping well or resting comfortably.

Your tensions and anxieties can adversely affect the baby’s development. Under such circumstances destressing yourself becomes a requirement rather than a luxury.

  • Indulge yourself as much as possible. Surround yourself with people and objects that relax you and bring peace.
  • Listen to good music. While each person’s definition of what constitutes good music, is different, studies have shown that classical instrumental music is soothing for the brain.
  • Go with the moment. Don’t waste time worrying about the future.
  • Pregnancy is not an illness and you are not an invalid. Be careful but don’t place unnecessary restrictions upon yourself.
  • Try meditation or simply sit in silence for a few minutes each day.
  • Find a friend to talk to
  • Read books that aren’t very violent. Violence, whether read or seen on TV – raises your stress levels.
  • Enjoy your pregnancy – your life would probably feel incomplete without it.
  • If you are working, don’t let yourself get too tense or anxious about work related issues. They are not as important as your health and your baby.
  • Find time to rest regularly. Put your feet up and nap a little. However busy your day, resting should become an indispensable part of it.
  • Go to the beauty parlour regularly. Indulge yourself with nice looking maternity clothes. Looking good is great for your self-esteem and an antidote to depression.
  • Exercise regularly – this will keep you trim and feeling better.
  • Eat well. If you eat light easily digested foods that help avoid constipation, you will feel better. Eat small but more frequent meals rather than the three large meals.
  • If you are not working, take up a hobby. This will not only help you spend your time productively but also help in keeping you busy.

Basil leaves are regarded as an anti-stress agent. Chew twelve leaves of basil twice a day, morning and evening, for preventing stress.

Maternity bras
You will need to buy a new bra. Your breasts are probably fuller and heavier. Look for a bra wide shoulder straps, wide band, and supportive cups. Wear a bra even while sleeping, as this will help ease sore breasts. Buy nursing bras only later on in pregnancy, because your breasts may enlarge more.

Nipple care
Apply a little moisturizer to the nipples. Roll the nipple between your fingertips, at the same time try to draw it out. Doing this daily will help prevent in some measure, nursing problems like inverted or retracted nipples.

Stretch marks
As you put on weight, the skin gets stretched leading to white marks especially on your hips, thighs, back and upper arms. The best way to counteract these. Though you may not be able to completely prevent them, is to keep your skin well moisturized. Use Vitamin E oil, especially on your hips and thighs. The best way to deal with stretch marks is to think of them as medals from pregnancy!

Ms Shahnaz Husain’s Expert View – Stretch marks can be removed. Massage the area everyday with a lemon- turmeric cream, or olive oil. Mix together besan and milk or cream of milk into a paste and add a pinch of turmeric ( haldi). Apply this paste on the area and remove it after 10-15 minutes by rubbing it off gently.

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