Pregnancy Guide for First Time Mothers
Several questions pertaining to pregnancy have been voiced time and again by expectant women. So it’s no surprise if you find first-time mothers-to-be poring over numerous books, medical journals, listening to any piece of advice that comes their way, just to satisfy their deep-rooted curiosity about motherhood.
So here’s help at hand to guide all first-time mothers-to-be safely through pregnancy.
To begin with, pregnancy should be well planned. The ideal age would be somewhere between 21 and 25 and postponing it would make things a little difficult. Pregnancy is a physiological process, so essentially there need not be a great change in the person, but one should prepare to make a few adjustments in one’s social, sexual and professional lives.
Many first-time mothers-to-be may not know they are pregnant and may be exposed to any medication or radiation. There have been cases when a person has been vomiting for a long time, and is treated for the vomiting part because she goes to a general practitioner thinking its general nausea, and doesn’t have any inkling she’s pregnant. In this way, she is exposed to drugs which may not be good for the baby.
But, if you know you’re pregnant, and if you’ve a problem of any particular nature, it’s very important you inform your doctor about your pregnancy before taking the prescribed medication because certain drugs are not allowed during pregnancy. Also, you should be a little careful about mixing with large crowds during the first three months of pregnancy like in weddings, parties. The simple reason is, it’s easy to contract infections like cold and fever which could cause unnecessary problems. Also, avoid any strenuous work which will exhaust you.
A healthy diet too is very important and you should be very careful about the food you eat. Adequate intake of carbohydrates, fats and protein is a must. Folic acid and B-complex are also essential. Pregnant women should consume ample quantity of milk, yoghurt and cheese which are excellent sources of calcium. This helps to supply the calcium needed for the proper development of the baby’s teeth.
Bleeding Can Be Avoided
Bleeding in pregnancy can be avoided if one takes the right kind of medication and has a balanced diet. It is also advisable to stop smoking when pregnant. It is already known that infants of smoking mothers have a higher rate of prematurity, low birth weight and other medical problems.
Cut down on alcohol as well. Exercise, when done properly, is safe and beneficial to most pregnant women. Regular exercise can give you a feeling of well-being, both physically and emotionally. But one must always consult one’s physician before starting the exercise programme since certain medical problems rule out exercise during pregnancy.
As months go by, it is advisable to slow down, and many more adjustments will need to be made. Attention must be paid to the changing body mechanics. As the uterus enlarges the centre of gravity changes, which can upset your balance. The enlarged uterus also tends to increase the curve in the lower back, making it more vulnerable, and because of the relaxing effect of pregnancy, the hormones, ligaments and joints become more susceptible to sprains.
Keep in mind that a workout during pregnancy is to help you keep fit. Don’t ever use exercise as a means of weight control. One should understand that your caloric and nutrient needs increase during pregnancy, so dieting can be dangerous to the foetus.
When pregnant, intercourse would generally not pose a threat in a low-risk pregnancy because the baby is well protected by the amniotic sac and fluid, and also by the strong muscles of the uterus. Only if there is a history or possibility of pre-term labour or miscarriage, and if the person has unusual symptoms during or following intercourse, the problem should be discussed with a doctor.
But it’s best to avoid sexual intercourse during pregnancy, and especially so, if any of the following problems or conditions are present:
- Placenta previa or low-lying placenta
- Incompetent cervix
- Dilated cervix
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding or discharge
Knowing when real labour is starting can be tricky, especially for first-time mothers. What you may feel are Braxton Hicks contractions, and they are a normal and expected part of pregnancy. From about the 20th week of pregnancy most women begin to feel their uterus tighten or contract from time to time.
This may occur two or three times an hour and even more often towards the end of pregnancy.
Labour Contractions Differ
Actual labour contractions differ from Braxton Hicks in several ways. Real labour contractions are persistent and constant and they result in cervical dilation. They tend to get stronger and more frequent as labour progresses.
False labour contractions tend to be somewhat erratic and not quite as intense, and they don’t prompt the cervix to dilate, although they may be somewhat painful as the due date nears. Real contractions will continue no matter what you do. On the other hand, false labour contractions will often ease up if a woman changes position, walks around or rests for a while.
When you know you are pregnant always confirm that the pregnancy is normal and inside the uterus to avoid complications later. There have been cases, though one in a hundred, of a pregnancy outside the uterus. It should be detected earlier or else it can burst open and become life-threatening.
If you follow your doctor’s advice combined with medication, a nutritious diet, exercise, and top it with a happy frame of mind, things will definitely be easy. In a nutshell, good health is the key to safe delivery.