Healthy Baby from Healthy Mom

If you are worried about your little one before he or she comes into this world, it’s the time for you to take care of yourself. Normally, the physical condition of the womb and entire body is important to fetal development and improvement. So, it’s important to take care about your physical as well as your mental health.

Rest Well

While another life is growing inside your tummy, you will feel more tired than before. Due to discomfort in 3rd trimester you may find it hard to sleep well. Therefore, it’s better to sleep as much as you can in 1st and 2nd  trimesters!

The best position for you to sleep in is “SOS” (sleep on side). But it’s better to sleep on left side, because your left side will expand the measure of blood and supplements that will reach the placenta and your infant.

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For more comfort, keep your legs and knees bowed and put a pillow between your legs.

 

Working out

h2Exercise is so beneficial, the ideal workout gets your heart pumping, keeps you limber, manages weight gain, and prepares your muscles to handle the physical demands of pregnancy and the postpartum period without causing undue physical stress for you or the baby. Also, research suggests that prenatal exercise may also lower the risk of developing gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. If you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, exercise can help you manage the condition and prevent complications. Healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies aim to exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes a day with moderate intensity on most or all days of the week. You do simple exercises like swimming, walking and yoga.

 

Healthy Diet

h4During pregnancy, the goal is to be eating balance nutritious meal most of the time. It’s better to avoid fast food, processed food, and foods high in sugar, alcohol, unpasteurized food, saturated fats and also avoid from fish which contain high level mercury (such as shark, swordfish and marlin). There are a variety of safe foods you may have such as fresh vegetables and fruits, fish-contains essential fatty acids, whole grains, iron and B-vitamins. At least half of a pregnant woman’s carbohydrate choices each day should come from whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta or breads and brown rice.

 

Mental Health

The next important thing is the mental health of a mum. Because most people believe that happy healthy babies are coming from happy healthy moms.  High levels of cortisol (the stress hormone responsible for the body’s fight-or-flight response) in pregnancy are associated with babies who cry more and sleep less after birth. One reason for low weight birth is chronic stress of mum. So, it become more important to pay attention to one’s emotional state. You can relax by doing yoga, listening to your favorite music, doing meditation and taking a warm bubble bath.

 

Be Careful

It’s better to minimize exposure to chemicals that we are using day today life. Like household cleaners, secondhand smoke, stay away from cat litter, gardening soil, solvents, paints and beauty products. Avoid lead dust, which can be generated during renovations in older homes. And steer clear of bisphenol-A (BPA), a synthetic estrogen found in countless products, including plastic containers and thermal cash register receipts.

If you eat organic food, as a habit you can avoid from pesticides, growth hormones and other chemicals. Wash all the vegetables and fruits because risk in obesity, infertility, attention deficit disorders and cognitive problems in children can be increased due to pesticides.

 

 

Author:

Mrs. Ruwandi Fernando is reading for MPhil / PhD program in Physics and currently working as a Technology Entrepreneur in MAS Holdings. In her role as a Technology Entrepreneur, she explores new trends in the maternal apparel space, sustainable products, new technology trends that can be applied to the apparel sector. She is a mother of a newborn who is interested in Kandyan dancing, playing sports, mentoring teenagers, teaching during her leisure time.

 

 

 

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Prenantal Exercises – “it’s all about being strong”

Doing exercises during pregnancy bring lot of positive impact on the health and fitness of a pregnant mother. Prenatal Exercise is so beneficial that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies aim to exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes a day with moderate intensity on most or all days of the week. The ideal workout gets your heart pumping, keeps you limber, manages weight gain, and prepares your muscles to handle the physical demands of pregnancy and the postpartum period without causing undue physical stress for you or the baby. Also, research suggests that prenatal exercise may also lower the risk of developing gestational diabetes . If you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, exercise can help you manage the condition and prevent complications. E1

Consult your healthcare provider before starting any exercise program. If you get the go-ahead to work out, be sure to listen to your body. Don’t overdo it, stop if it hurts or feels uncomfortable. And before you put on your sneakers, learn the rules of safe pregnancy exercise. Many gyms and community centers offer fitness classes designed specifically for pregnant women and have instructors who can offer expert guidance on exercising safely.

Initial exercises for a pregnant woman:

  • Brisk walkingE4
  • Aerobics
  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Prenatal yoga
  • Stretching and etc.

 

 

And also, there are specific exercises that you can do trimester wise, specially you should be careful in the 3rd trimester. For safe pregnancy exercises, better to check with your healthcare provider first, get enough calories, skip dangerous sports, wear the right clothes, warm up, drink plenty of water, don’t lie flat on your back, keep moving, don’t overdo it, don’t exercise in high heat or humidity, get up from the floor slowly, cool down, make it a habit.

While the exercise has been established as a safe practice for women who are pregnant, there are risks that can make it dangerous for some women with medical conditions. Firstly, the hormones stimulated during pregnancy have the potential to induce premature contractions, although the actual risk of this event has not been investigated. Exercise also causes blood to be redistributed from internal organs to skeletal muscle and as a result there is a significant reduction in oxygen and nutrient delivery to the placenta.

Potential mechanisms behind why exercise during pregnancy can be a risk have been identified, yet there have been no studies that have shown these have a significant effect on fetal wellbeing. The major concerns include:

  • Premature contractions can potentially be induced by the hormones that are stimulated by exercise
  • Increased glucose consumption from working muscles could affect fetal glucose levels
  • Exercise causes blood to be redistributed from internal organs to skeletal muscle and as a result there is a significant transient reduction in oxygen and nutrient delivery to the placental site
  • Overheating will challenge maternal thermal regulation and is best avoided, especially in the first trimester. Therefore, participating in vigorous exercise in high temperature environments throughout pregnancy should be avoided.

Having certain other conditions mean you need to exercise with caution. Ask your provider to recommend a safe exercise routine if you have;

  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Bone or joint injuries
  • History of heavy smoking
  • Signs of a potential health problem or pregnancy complication.

Even if your doctor gives you the go-ahead to get regular physical activity, pay attention to signs that may indicate a problem with your health or the pregnancy. Stop exercising immediately and contact your healthcare provider if you have; Decreased fetal movement, dizziness or a feeling you might faint, headache, heart palpitations, calf pain or swelling (which could indicate a blood clot), vaginal bleeding, chest pain, recurring abdominal pain or contractions, fluid leaking (or gushing) from your vagina, shortness of breath (this is common during pregnancy but can sometimes signal a problem such as asthma or fluid in the lungs.)

Benefits of doing exercises during pregnancy :

  • Improve the maternal fitness
  • Reduce glucose levels – blood sugar
  • Helpful to have a good sleep
  • Reduce high blood pressure
  • Increase energy
  • Decrease complications happen during pregnancy
  • Ease the labor

 

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Author:

Mrs. Ruwandi Fernando is reading for MPhil / PhD program in Physics and currently working as a Technology Entrepreneur in MAS Holdings. In her role as a Technology Entrepreneur, she explores new trends in the maternal apparel space, sustainable products, new technology trends that can be applied to the apparel sector. She is a mother of a newborn who is interested in Kandyan dancing, playing sports, mentoring teenagers, teaching during her leisure time.

There is no such thing called ‘easy labor’ – or is there?

 

I agree, to an extent, there is no such thing as easy labor, but with careful planning and learning what and what not to do, the labor pain can be reduced and you can have an ‘easier labor’ than if you would’ve otherwise had. After giving birth to three children, three different ways, I can tell you all the scary, funny, yucky stories of labor if you want me to, but I will leave that for your imagination and I’m sure you’ll have your own stories to add once you actually give birth to your little baby too.

Just to share with you the bare minimum, my first son was supposed to be born in the middle of a hot summer day. Well, the problem is that he didn’t want to come out of his happy place according to our schedule,  so after few days of waiting for labor pains, we had to give a little nudge and ask him so nicely to please come out so we can see his beautiful face. Even with an epidural on my back to ease the pains, I can tell you, I knew the moment he was ready to push out, I was in so much pain I couldn’t even call my sleeping hubby few feet away from me, so I gently threw my teddy bear at him to wake him up in the middle of the night to tell him ‘it’s time’. The second son couldn’t wait to get out  and explore this world – he’s seven years old today, an extremely curious little boy, still makes me worry about his safety – almost came out right on the couch at home, so we had to rush to the hospital and had an emergency C-section. The third, we planned a C-section because of pregnancy complications. Between my first and the second, I carried a baby for four months before having a painful miscarriage. So, as you can see, I’ve seen and been through it all and would like to share with you few tips to make this journey as easy as possible from what I learned along the way.

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  1. Ask for a good support person:

Your partner obviously is the best support person in this journey. But remember, he is also going through an emotional roller coaster just as you are during the labor. So it is a good idea to have a doula (a person trained specially to help pregnant mothers during labor, most of them have experience that can be very useful for first time mothers) or a close relative to support you. Make sure to discuss clearly with your person of choice about expectations and preferences from each side. If you do have a birth plan, it is good to discuss the birth plan with the doula or the support person.

 

  1. Walk the pains away:

During the full nine months, I walked daily for exercise. Even while waiting at the hospital during labor pains, I walked around to distract myself from the pains. Most first time mothers have long labor periods, sometimes about ten, twelve hours long. My friend went baby gear shopping when she was already dilated!! She had planned to go to the nearest Baby item store on the way to the hospital. It was a great way to distract herself from the pains. She was with her husband and they were less than two minutes away from the hospital. The store was inside a shopping mall which made it easier for her to walk around and, talk about distractions, what else can you do for fun in a shopping mall other than people watching?

 

  1. Eat small meals or snack often:

pregnancy_625x350_41448621471Don’t worry now about the weight gains. You have done all that careful monitoring of your weight gain during the nine months. Right now, you need to focus on the birth of your child. Avoid fatty food or heavy meals that might make you nauseated during labor. Choose health snacks and pack some for hospital in case if you do not like what is offered to you. I even had a bar of chocolate in my hospital bag!!

  1. Stay home and rest until the right moment to go to the hospital:

One thing you do not want is to wait at the hospital for hours before the labor begins. If you have a comfortable and reliable way to get to the hospital within five to ten minutes, you can stay home until you feel the contractions within 4-5 minutes apart. For most mothers, it takes about an hour from this point to actual labor.  When the contractions are getting closer and stronger, you know it is time to get out of the house. Until then, it is better to take it slow, breath, drink water, rest, put your feet up and relax. This is not the time to run around packing the hospital bag, so make sure to have that ready few weeks ahead.

 

  1. Take a shower:

You can actually take a shower while having contractions and it is a good idea to do so because you never know when is the next time you get to have a shower on your own, in your own bathroom. So, make sure you are safe and that the hospital bag is ready, and go take that shower or even a soak in a bath tub would be helpful to ease the pains.

 

  1. Welcome the unexpected:

You might feel embarrassed having all those people around, about the unexpected bodily functions, noises you make, the lunatic behavior that you show, but remember, they are trained professionals to do the job right. They have seen in all. Your doctor might recommend pain medication or tips to help you at the moment, and you need to trust your doctor. Ask questions but remember you have trusted this individual through nine months of taking care of this baby. I remember when I faced my emergency C-section, my doctor wanted to explain me the procedure and I told her very clearly that I trusted her with my whole heart to do the right thing for me and my baby and that is all I needed to tell her. This trust makes everyone’s job much easier including yours.

 

  1. Take your unfinished crochet project to the hospital with you:

This might seem odd to you, but I actually had my project in hand during labor pains and the long waits felt much shorter with each new row I add to my project. The urge to finish the project kept me busy and distracted enough to ease the pains. I also benefited from the sitting position between contractions. In between contractions, I’ll forget all about the next contraction and add few chains or fillings to my baby blanket I was making for my baby. Years later, my son still brags about how his mom made this blanket while he was being born, it truly was labor of love!! You can take small coloring books, short stories, magazines to read if you are not into projects like I was. Something that you love and can’t wait to finish will keep that focus away from the contractions and pains.

3As with anything, things don’t always go in the direction you planned it to be. So, the important message here is to take it easy. Rest and less stressful is the best way to ease the pains of labor.  I have been reading a small book called “Don’t sweat the small stuff”. If it is not going to affect you at this moment, don’t worry about it now. If you hear about political crisis happening in the other side of the earth, thought it might affect you in the long run, at this moment, it belong to the ‘Small Stuff’. Try to stay away from any potentially stressful discussions unless you must engage in such conversations. Enjoy the moment and tune out any negative thoughts. Listen to music and read a good book. There is no way to predict how your labor will turn out no matter how much we want to know.

 

Author:
Dr Ganga Fernando received her PhD from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and currently teaching at Cottey College – a four-year University of liberal arts and sciences for women –  as an Associate Professor of Chemistry. In her role as a faculty member of the BS in Health Science program, she offers research and internship opportunities in the field of Global Public Health disparities and health care in rural South East Asia. She is a mother of 3 and a world traveler with vast experience in women’s health and maternity.

 

Postnatal Physical Fitness – “it’s all about being better than you used to be”

During the first few weeks after the delivery, your feelings and emotions play a pivotal role in grooming and developing your baby. Therefore, postnatal physical fitness is essential since you are getting more powerful physically and mentally both. Some people say weight loss is more than a physical challenge, it’s a mental challenge.find-time-to-work-out-shutterstock_100694539When to start doing exercises after the delivery?

Start normal workouts such as walking as soon as you are comfortable after giving birth. Six weeks after giving birth, most changes that occur during pregnancy will return to normal. If you had a caesarean birth, a difficult birth, or complications, it may take a little longer to feel ready to start exercising. If you did not exercise during pregnancy, start with easy exercises and slowly build up to more harder ones.

Moving with the baby

Baby Dancing

dance

Dancing provides a light cardiovascular workout that involves all major muscle groups and improves balance and coordination. It will also elevate your mood, no matter how tired and stressed you might be. You can do this while holding your baby or with the baby in a carrier that keeps him close to your body and supports his head (a carrier with straps that fit over your shoulders and around your waist is best).

Just put on some music you love and dance, keeping your abs drawn in.

Baby overhead press

  • Straighten your arms upwards without locking your elbows.
  • Pause, then lower your baby to the starting position.
  • Do 10 reps
  • Rest and play, then do 2 more sets.

Baby bench presssq

  • Lie face up on the floor with your knees bent.
  • Contract your abs and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  • Hold your baby securely and bring him close to your chest.

 

Postnatal exercises will give you the following:

  • Improve your physical and mental well-being.
  • It can help restore muscle strength and firm up your body.
  • Make you less tired because it raises your energy level and improves your sense of wellbeing.
  • Promotes weight loss.
  • Improve your cardiovascular fitness and restore muscle strength.
  • Conditions your abdominal muscles.
  • Improves your mood, relieves stress and help prevent postpartum depression.

Recommended types of postnatal exercises

  • Brisk walking
  • Swimming
  • Aqua aerobics
  • Yoga
  • Low impact aerobic workouts
  • Light weight training
  • Cycling

 

Author:

Mrs. Ruwandi Fernando is reading for MPhil / PhD program in Physics and currently working as a Technology Entrepreneur in MAS Holdings. In her role as a Technology Entrepreneur, she explores new trends in the maternal apparel space, sustainable products, new technology trends that can be applied to the apparel sector. She is a mother of a newborn who is interested in Kandyan dancing, playing sports, mentoring teenagers, teaching during her leisure time.