Pregnancy Guide

Imhealthist | Tuesday 3rd of November 2015 12:03:18 PM


For any women, the positive result of pregnancy test brings happiness and a moment to rejoice about becoming a mother. With this result a new journey has begun for a woman. As the stages of pregnancy progresses, not only the child grows but also leads to physical, psychological and lifestyle changes in mother. Proper addressing of health concerns and pre natal cares are absolutely essential during pregnancy.

Three Trimesters:

Pregnancy has three stages comprising of first, second and third trimester. Each and every stage is crucial for the fetus development. Usually, pregnancy lasts around 40 weeks and this duration is counted from the last menstrual period.

First Trimester: 

First trimester comprises of duration from week 1 through week 12. The offspring is called embryo during the first eight weeks and subsequently is termed as fetus. The pregnancy is confirmed during this period and the early symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, and missed periods. This is the most crucial period of the pregnancy as the risks of miscarriage are high.

Second Trimester: 

Week 13 to 28 comes under second trimester. This is the easiest stage of the pregnancy cycle. The expectant mother feels more energetic, as nausea and vomiting get minimized in this stage. During the middle of this trimester, doctors usually check the progress of the baby through ultra sound image techniques. The movement of fetus is also felt during this stage.

Third Trimester:

The last and third trimester lasts from week 29 to week 40. This is the most challenging phase of the pregnancy. It is quite common to feel low in energy level due to extra weight of fetus, repeated urges to urinate, and anxiety. Frequent naps, rests, and relaxing techniques are quite essential during this period.

Child Birth: 

Pregnancy term is considered between 37 weeks and 42 weeks. The different stages of pregnancy terms are

  • Preterm : Before 37 weeks
  • Early term : 37 to 39 weeks
  • Full term : 39 to 41 weeks
  • Late term : 41 to 42 weeks
  • Post term: After 42 weeks.

If not for medical issues, planned delivery of a child is usually not considered before 39 weeks of pregnancy. The probability of babies getting delivered by natural procedure is highest during the full term. The onset of normal labour pain should be awaited, as it is beneficial for both mother and the child. The medical complication and risks for mother and child drastically increases as the stage enters post terms. So, doctors usually induce labour during the late term, if child birth does not occur during full term.

Prenatal Care:

Health care comprising of regular visits for checkups and prevention of potential health problems during pregnancy is called prenatal care. Evaluation of fetus growth, guidance for proper diet and vitamin intakes, medical examination of expectant mother are some of the significant activities of prenatal care. It is statistically proven that the proper prenatal care has drastically brought down the maternal death, birth defects and miscarriages.

Healthy Diet:

Consuming healthy food is not only important for the pregnant woman but also for the baby’s growth and development. 

  • Folic acid is actually a magic supplement prescribed by doctor before and during pregnancy to avoid birth defects by helping in neural tube development. Production of red blood cells is also aided by folic acid.
  • Healthy and nutritious food like fruits and vegetables, protein and dairy products are very much essential during pregnancy period. A right combination of these foods makes a balanced diet. Increase your intake of calories but avoid fatty and sugary foods.
  • Intake of dairy products is important for the calcium need. It has to be noted that during pregnancy, 1000-1300 mg of calcium is required daily. So, consuming calcium rich foods for daily need should be taken care of.
  • Consume fiber rich foods which are available in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables for easy digestion. There should not be any deficiency in iodine, as it helps in brain and nervous system development of baby. Consumption of food rich in vitamins A and C are compulsory for pregnant women.
  • Fortified cereals, milk, yogurt, beans, legumes, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, and fruits should be taken to get all vitamins and minerals during pregnancy. A combination of nutrients can help the growth of the baby efficiently.
  • Avoid caffeine content products like coffee, tea, and dark chocolates. Deep fried food, processed and junk food are definitely not advised by the doctors. Avoid unhealthy artificially flavored juices or soda. Smoking and alcohol consumption are to be strictly avoided as these may affect baby’s brain development.
  • Eat freshly cooked food. Avoid uncooked or undercooked eggs and also soft cheeses. The pathogens present in these items are not good for the fetus. Certain sea foods like shark, king mackerel, tilefish, and swordfish contain mercury and are best to be avoided. It is always better to consult your obstetrician to get a planned and balanced food chart.
Pregnancy and Exercise:

  • Exercise is good during pregnancy except for those who are advised against it by doctors due to medical complications. Generally pregnant ladies with asthma, heart disease, and high-blood pressure, are advised to restrain from exercise. Histories of previous miscarriages, low placenta, spotting, weak cervix are some of the medical complications due to which doctors usually advice against exercise. It is always better to follow the doctor’s advice on do and don’ts of physical activities.
  • Those who do not have any medical complications can do exercises but has to be done with proper care and not to overdo it.
  • Routine walking is a harmless exercise and other exercises can be done under the supervision of instructors.
  • Exercise helps to reduce back pain, maintain proper weight, reduce the risk of diabetes during gestation period, increase muscle strength, and also helps for better sleep. Exercise during pregnancy also helps in reducing risk of any postpartum problems. 

The beautiful experience of pregnancy is best enjoyed by strictly adhering to the advices of the doctor and practicing active and healthy life style.