We have often heard the saying, ‘No pain, no gain’. And, it is no longer just to motivate you to exercise. Undoubtedly, millions of women have accepted the inevitable of pain duringthe birthing process and have gotten used to it. Fortunately, with the right technique and method, you could do-awaywith the pain and have a joyous experience of bringing your bundle of joy into the world. M&B tells you everything you need to know about this technique—HypnoBirthing
Who doesn’t want to be one of those cool mums with bragging rights to, “I’ve had a water birth” or the coveted “I wasn’t in labour too long”. And while it’s every woman’s pererogoative to make sure they have a safe and healthy, albeit quick delivery, hopping on the next fad, particularly when it’s got to do with bring precious life into this world, we think it’s best to know exactly what you’re getting into. While HypnoBirthing is surely safe, we’re here to break it down for you.
So what is HypnoBirthing?
HypnoBirthing, or the Mongan Method, was created by Marie Mongan in the 80s. The method teaches you that in the absence of fear and tension, severe pain does not have to be an accompaniment of labour. Jayapali Shetty, a hypnofertility consultant at The HypnoBirthing Institute, USA, says, “It is a holistic childbirth education programme that includes special breathing techniques, deep relaxation, visualisation, meditative practice, nutrition and body toning. These techniques empower women to be confi dent, calm and makes them feel safe during the birthing process.” She further adds, “This technique brings out the innate strength and lets you harness your energy during the process, beautifully culminating into a healthy newborn in mind, body and spirit. HypnoBirthing teaches women to do what their bodies already know how to do, by trusting their birthing instincts.”
Shivani Sharma, a HypnoBirthing practitioner, says, “When the mind is free of fear and the mother feels safe and supported, it functions at its optimal level which is right for both mother and baby. Emphasis is placed on pregnancy and childbirth, as well as on pre-birth parenting and the consciousness of the pre-born baby. As a birthing method, it’s as new as tomorrow and as old as ancient times.”
What Do You Stand toGain?
HypnoBirthing helps women overcome their fear of pain and helps them develop trust in their own ability to remain relaxed. Jaya says, “The method greatly reduces, and often eliminates, the need for painkillers or drugs. It shortens the labour by several hours and reduces the risk of pelvic floor damage. The birthing technique allows women to gently breathe her baby into the world without the violence of hard, physical pushing, eliminating postnatal discomfort and baby blues.”
Further building on Jaya’s point, Shivani says, “Through a simple programme of self-hypnosis and education, healthy and low-risk women, as well as women who need medical assistance, learn to dismiss fear-based stories and birthing myths, and they are helped to see birth as normal. The overall effect of practicing hypnobirthing techniques is that the birthing parents are able to appreciate the benefi ts of the calm, gentle process, making the experience a joyful one for the parents and the baby. The benefi ts can last a lifetime.” The Approach
When giving birth with this technique, the mother is not in a trance or asleep, but instead, is in a state of deep relaxation— awake, aware and fully in control. Jaya says, “The process entails signing up with a certified HypnoBirthing practitioner and the course duration comprises five to six sessions. Each weekly session is of two and a half hours.”
Shivani says, “In a series of five confi dence-building classes, they learn what makes labour hurt, but more importantly, they learn the logic behind why labour doesn’t have to hurt and what they can do about it. Moms and their birth companions study the physical and chemical changes that occur over a period of time when fear and anxiety are allowed to accumulate. This awareness of the fight, flight or freeze response helps them to remain calm. The techniques are designed to help them see the relationship between fear and the possibility of pain. These exercises become life skills that also enhance their parenting skills. Armed with this knowledge, the pattern of calming techniques and steps that they learn, helps them to create endorphins and avoid the effect of the negative hormones that cause their bodies to constrict, rather than open.” The five-week series includes a HypnoBirthing Techniques textbook, relaxation CD and everything you need to know to reconnect with your birthing instincts and create an amazing birthing experience. Jaya further adds, “The whole expense varies depending on the course provider. Approximately around `30,000 to `60,000 or more. It includes literature, handouts and a relaxation music CD.”
Women need emotional support when they are giving birth and the presence of the father can create a huge positive impact. Jaya says, “A father’s presence is an integral part of labour as he protects the birthing environment and is not just an onlooker. He supports the mother emotionally, physically and morally.” Shivani further adds, “Although it is not mandatory and it requires a mother’s consent, a father can be the mother’s advocate and be an active participant when it comes to making choices regarding pregnancy and birth.”
Limitations and Safety
Jaya opines, “There are no limitations per se, but what is required is the will power and discipline to daily practice the techniques. In fact, HypnoBirthing is all about releasing the conditioned limiting thoughts about birthing.” Talking about whether the mothers should opt for this process or not, Shivani says, “There is no harm in educating and empowering oneself and have a birth which is supportive of a mother’s choices.” It is highly recommended for women who want to experience the joy of easy birthing.
With regard to undergoing HypnoBirthing classes but ultimately undergoing a C-section, Jaya says, “HypnoBirthingtrained mums are able to recover and breastfeed their babies at least three to five hours after the surgery. HypnoBirthing method is especially favourable for VBAC’s (vaginal birth after cesarean) because the breathing techniques are gentle all through the opening phase, and you will not strain yourself with the forced pushing during the baby’s descent, a plus for the VBAC mother. At the risk of sounding overly optimistic, if more people embrace HypnoBirthing, it will certainly have a profound impact towards global peace.”MB
So you might not be overdoing the mojitos this year, but there are lots of clever ways to have a good time, with no hangover either
LBDs, doing a smoky eye in the office loos and drinking until 3am, we’re all well-versed on the party season. Except the minute you’re pregnant (never mind once you’ve got a newborn), it’sa whole new ball game. A recent study showed that it takes an average of 18 months for a new mum to feel ‘herself again’—so enjoying a night out might be tricky. How do you face the social whirl when you’re exhausted and know you’ll be up four times in the night, either for a wee or your wee one?
Pregnant in the festive season
Being a social butterfly with a baby on board isn’t easy. You can’t drink and your feet are swollen so you can’t wear your killer heels. But, within reason, it can be good to get out and socialise, says Dr Susan Turner, mother of six. “Seeing other people is good for your mental health,” she says. Pregnancy is an all-consuming time and it can be hard to remember there’s a world still going on out there. “Meeting with friends is a reminder you’re part of it,” says Susan. And although it might feel like an effort to drag yourself out, you might have a great time. Mum-of-two Rebecca Maberly, who runs advice website doctoranddaughter.co.uk, says, “If you are going to a house party, take a drink you can have with you—there’s nothing worse than drinking tap water all night. Buy or make a fruit-based alcohol-free cocktail that feels like a treat.”
And you can enjoy more party foods than you might think. Soft blue-veined cheeses, such as Roquefort, are not safe to eat in pregnancy, but hard ones, like Stilton, are less likely to contain listeria, meaning the NHS says it’s fine to eat them. “Prawns, smoked salmon and even sushi are fine, as long as the fish has been frozen first, to kill parasites, or it’s cured,” says Rebecca. “But avoid pâté.” Whether made from meat, fish or veg, pâtécan contain higher levels of listeria bacteria than other foods.
Fashion editor Erica Davies, mum to Charlie, four, and Lila, two, and founder of the MMM blog, says there is no a reason to shy away from fashion and you can even try party looks you might usually avoid. “Bodycon, for example, is lovely when pregnant,” says Erica. “Choose a statement necklace or chandelier earrings, so all eyes are on that glowing skin!”
‘FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT’PARTY HACKSTAKE SPARE SHOES
Rebecca says, “Head to the party in your heels, then slip into comfy shoes when your feet start to ache. Comfortable shoes are a must—swollen ankles don’t look or feel good and standing for hours in heels will not help.”
TEST YOUR BREAST PUMP BEFORE YOU NEED IT
If you’re planning to have a few alcoholic drinks and want to express some milk to skip a feed with your baby, it pays to make sure you are comfortable with your breast pump first.
Mix elderflower cordial with sparkling water, served in a champagne flute. It feels much more chic than wandering round the party with a tumbler or pint glass.
Jo Reid, make-up artist, director of Blush (blush.uk.com) and mum to Maggie, three, also says make the most of your pregnancy glow. “Pregnant skin often feels smoother and more plumped up, so show it off by only using cover where it’s needed,” she says. “Pregnant skin can be prone to melasma (dark spots), so a good concealer is a must. MAC do the best full-coverage concealers for small areas.” And try Benefit Tints under your base to boost colour on the apples of your cheeks.
With all this, you might look like the life and soul of the party, but Rebecca says, “Don’t feel you have to stay until the end. People understand that pregnant women get tired. Of course, if you want to hit the dancefloor, go for it—it might be a while before you get the chance again.”
Festive season asa new mum
You’ve hardly drunk for a year, you’re not sure your mum wardrobe is up to much and you haven’t slept for longer than three hours in a row since the birth. Yep, facing the festive season with a newborn can be a challenge.
Last Christmas, full-time mother Victoria Turner’s baby, Miles, was just two months. “I held a gathering, as I thought it would be a lovely way to see everyone. I was nursing a pint of water with a baby attached to me, while my friends got merry on mulled cider. I was miserable that I couldn’t join in. If I were doing it again I’d host a pot-luck lunch— everyone brings a different course and the drinks don’t flow quite so much as it’s earlier in the day and the focus is on the food.”
Dina Maktabi, founder of kensingtonmums.co.uk, says, if you’re hosting a party at home, little details count. “Try dipping marshmallows in chocolate,” she says. “Toddlers will love that.” She also suggests traditional games, like charades. ‘Little ones love seeing adults being silly, even tiny babies will love the excitement.’
Molly Clark, 34, from London, mum to Oren, now one, wanted to make a friend’s Christmas do when Oren was three months. “I took my breast-pump, to use in the loo,” she says. “When I felt my boobs getting fuller, I went to the loo, but found a massive queue. When a cubicle was finally free, I sat there as the pump made a weird squelchy, cow-beingmilked sound, with drunk women shouting for me to hurry up.” Not an episode to make you feel like a glam party girl!
So, how can you best enjoy a rare night out as a new mum?
Erica says, “A great outfit starts with comfortable underwear. Pick a great nursing bra that ramps up the sex appeal—yes, they do exist.” If you’re taking your baby, she says, ‘There are labels that offer fantastic dresses with side draping and subtle detailing, making feeding your baby easy.
Sarah Beeson MBE, co-author of The New Arrival advises building up to the big night—leaving your baby for the first time can be difficult for you both. “Start by leaving your little one with the person who will be caring for them for 30 minutes. Then try an hour. A few days, before your event, leave your baby for a few hours. You can use the time for a festive indulgence—get your hair done, so you’re feeling confi dent.”|MB
After a rough monsoon and the scorching October heat, it’s time to usher in cooler climes. Say hello to winter! The season surely brings in a breath of fresh air, but expecting mothers need to be even more cautious in the colder months. M&B brings you expert advise on how to have a safe winter pregnancy
In the winter months, expecting mothers need to be extra careful in protecting their body and skin. Your ballooning belly increases the surface area of your body, which may leave you more susceptible to the cold. Keep yourself protected at all times.
Dr Gayathri Kamath, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Fortis Hospital, Bengaluru, says, “There is no need to change one’s shampoo when pregnant. It is better to avoid chemicals for permanent colouring and hair straightening as it contains formaldehyde.” Adding further, Dr Bandita Sinha, gynaecologist, World of Women and Fortis Hopital, Mumbai, says, “Oil your hair at least three to four times a week. Using natural hair oil is a great way to add some nourishment to your hair, help strengthen the roots and prevent hair fall. You can wrap a warm towel around the head to add some extra benefi ts.”
Dr Kamath says, “Common skin problems pertinent to pregnant women are acne, dryness, itching and stretch marks. There is no perfect solution for stretch marks or pigmentation. However, cracked nipples need to be addressed in the third trimester to ensure breastfeeding is not hampered. Lanolin-based creams help keep the skin soft and supple to a certain extent.”
Dry skin can get itchy and flaky during winters. Hence, moisturisers should be applied twice daily after using a gentle face wash. Dr Kamath, says, “Itching of the skin over the stretching abdomen and breasts are worsened during extreme climates. Moisturising creams are welcome to soothe the skin on account of dryness. It is also important to check the active ingredients in cosmetics.” Dr Sinha, further adds, “It is essential to note that your skin may react differently to fragrances and other products during your pregnancy. Therefore, using a gentle cleanser for your body is ideal.”
● Immediately moisturise your skin after a bath as the moist skin will quickly absorb the moisturiser, leaving your skin supple. Apply ample amounts of moisturiser on your belly, hands, elbows and even your chest.
● Combat dry skin with mild soaps.
● Always carry lotions and balms when travelling outdoors.
● Take care of your lips. Apply lip balm liberally to avoid cracking and bleeding.
● Dermatologists recommend using a sun block cream that has at least SPF30++. problems pertinent to pregnant women are acne, dryness, itching and stretch marks. There is no perfect solution for stretch marks or pigmentation. However, cracked nipples need to be addressed in the third trimester to ensure breastfeeding is not hampered. Lanolin-based creams help keep the skin soft and supple to a certain extent.”
● When moisturising, Dr Kamath advises to avoid ingredients like tretinoin and hydroquinone as their absorption can have a negative impact on the baby during pregnancy and afterwards during lactation.
● Hot water baths can be tempting but avoid it. Instead use lukewarm water.
● Soaking your skin for longer hours can dry it even more.
● It is a must to stop styling your hair with various hair products.
As the old adage goes, ‘Eating for two’, will only make you put on extra weight, which will later be diffi cult for you to shed. The basic tenet is to have a balanced diet without over-indulging in food. Consumption of healthy meals is important for you and baby’s well-being.
Dr Kamath advises, “Being healthy when you are pregnant depends on both the quantity and type of food you eat. It is advisable to have at least five portions of different fruits and vegetables every day, rather than foods that are higher in fats and calories. Consume whole fruits rather than juices, as one will be missing out on the fibre content which is important to overcome constipation.” Eat a wellbalanced, wide-ranging diet. Dr Sinha says, “Eating certain vitamins and nutrients during pregnancy has been shown to build a better brain and nervous system in a developing foetus.”
Don’t hesitate to use a salt shaker on freshly-prepared foods while you are pregnant. Dr Sinha recommends, “High glucose levels in your bloodstream will mean a baby with high birth weight at risk of obesity, diabetes and heart diseases later in life.”
Dehydration during pregnancy can cause host of problems ranging from light-headedness to pre-term labour. In winters, you might avoid drinking water due to chilly weather. The body needs to be extra hydrated during winters because of the dry winter air. Stressing on adequate consumption of water, Dr Kamath emphasis, “Pregnant women should consume at least two litres of water per day. Winter and pregnancy is likely to increase washroom visits to void urine. Adequate care needs to be taken to ensure prevention of slipping and falling in the bathroom.” While fresh fruit juices and coconut water provide plenty of nutrition, substituting water with beverages won’t be conducive to the baby or the mother.
● Hunger pangs in winter can be satiated by oats, beans, lentils, grains and seeds as well as whole grain bread or brown rice.
● The necessary protein can come from lean meats such as fish or for vegans from lentils and beans.
● Choose low fat varieties for consuming dairy food or products such as skimmed milk and low fat yoghurt.
● Wash all fruits and vegetables before consuming.
● Dr Sinha advises, “Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, enhances your baby’s neurological development and promotes mental health.”
● Avoid fried food and drinks which are high in added sugars.
● Dr Kamath says, “Typhoid can be prevented by avoiding consumption of raw or partially-cooked eggs, poultry, shellfish and mayonnaise.”
● Avoid unpasteurised milk, cheese, juice or honey.
● Keep away from drinking alcohol as it can cause developmental delays in baby
An expecting mother’s body is comparatively more vulnerable and susceptible to allergies. You need to be extra cautious of your health so that your baby is unaffected after birth.
In your second or third trimester, definitely get a flu shot. Dr Sinha explains, “The hormonal changes coupled with a weak immune system, make you more prone to allergies like sneezing, itchy eyes, sore throat and wheezing. Since not all medicines are safe during pregnancy, identifying the triggers of these allergies and avoiding them is the best solution.” Certain allergies can also be treated with a regimen of allergy shots. Your doctor will monitor the dosage before prescribing any medications to you.
Dr Kamath says, “Pregnant women have decreased immunity to fight certain viral infections. Influenza is a viral infection causing serious respiratory complications. If left untreated, it poses risks for the expectant mother and the baby. Recommendations are clear to vaccinate all pregnant women against influenza. The influenza season in India varies in each region.” Adding further, she says, “Cases of fl u are reported between October to February. Women who have tendencies for seasonal allergy and asthma, should consult a health care provider who can suggest nasal sprays which do not harm the baby within.” There are chances that winters can pose some discomfort during pregnancy, and you may find it hard to cope with the seasonal changes. However, a little care and precautions can help you cherish the most beautiful phase of a woman’s life.
● Wash your hands and face whenever you come in contact with dust.
● As advised by Dr Sinha, consult a doctor and get an allergy test done if you cannot pinpoint what triggers the allergy.
● Use a dehumidifier. Indoor air can get quite dry and opening a window is good to balance the temperature.
● Fresh fruits and vegetables can help build immunity.
● To prevent throat infections, rinse your mouth regularly with lukewarm salt water.
● Tulsi tea helps in clearing congestion and is also a great immunity booster.
● Stay away from those who are smoking.
Smoke makes allergies worse, especially passive smoking.
● Avoid going outdoors as much as possible on days when the pollen count or humidity is high.
● Don’t hang clothes and sheets outside to dry as there are chances that pollen and dust might get collected on them.
● Do not take over-the-counter medications without consulting your doctor.
Fight those winter blues and pregnancy mood swings by channelling your energy in some form of physical activity. Staying healthy during pregnancy not only helps you lose those extra pounds, but also lessens many pregnancy complications. Therefore, battle the wintertime laziness and adopt permissible activities in accordance with your doctor’s advice.
Stay in shape:
Extreme winter is likely to make you home bound. Dr Kamath suggests, “It is recommended that pregnant women can work on moderate physical activity throughout the week for at least about 150 minutes. These activities make women breathe faster, thus preparing them to get accustomed to the stress of labour.”
Most exercises are safe to perform during pregnancy as long as you do it with caution and not over do it. Dr Sinha says, “The safest and most productive activities are swimming, brisk walking, indoor stationary cycling, step or elliptical machines and low-impact aerobics. These exercises help ease aches and pains experienced during pregnancy, and it also benefi ts the baby.” Yoga can help alleviate back pain and also helps to control one’s breathing, a helpful plus at the time of delivery.
● Go for short walks in the morning and evening.
● Join a prenatal fitness programme and learn breathing techniques.
● Practise meditation to relax your mind and ease tensions.
● Women remaining indoors during winter, and who have limited exposure to sunlight should ensure they take vitamin D supplements.
● Dr Kamath advises, “Avoid activities which involves risk with falls and lying on the back after the second trimester as the cardiac output reduces and blood pressure can drop.”
● Physical activities like skiing, surfing, off-road cycling, gymnastics, horse riding, boxing, football or basketball are a big no.
Upgrade your closet with stylish and chic winter clothes and other essentials. You do not need to compromise on style just because you have a big belly. Keep yourself warm this winter.
Buy clothes of comfortable size so that they fit without clinging to your skin. Make sure the garments are not too tight around your waist. Dr Sinha says, “Loading up on layers is always a smart strategy for cool winter temperatures, but layering is especially helpful in the fluctuating Indian weather.” For newborns, Dr Kamath advises, “Keeping a maternity bag ready with warm clothes for the newborn can come handy. Babies have less fat and they quickly lose their body temperature when exposed to cold. Hence, wrapping the baby with a soft flannel cloth is suggested.” Winters in India do not require heavy jackets but it is essential to remain warm and dress according to the weather.
Although women love wearing high-heeled shoes or boots, for expecting mothers, safety comes first. Invest in a good pair of rubber-soled shoes or boots with good traction to avoid any slips or falls. During pregnancy, the balance is affected and they are more prone to slipping or falling. Always opt for flats and not heels.
● In order to avoid itching from woollens, wear cotton camisoles or under shirts.
● Put on gloves, hat and scarf when stepping out of the house to protect yourself from cool dry air.
● Woollen socks and closed shoes are essentials to keep your feet warm.
● Tight inner wear and fitting clothes are not recommended as advised by Dr Kamath.
● Do not wear fancy lingerie and heavy jewellery. Anything that makes your uncomfortable should be avoided.
Tips to have a safe winter pregnancy:
● Make sure you wash your hands regularly, despite the cold weather. Keeping yourself clean is the first step towards protecting yourself from illness and diseases.
● Keep a sanitiser handy and keep safe distance from people who are unwell.
● Get plenty of rest and sleep. This helps the mother to be fresh all the time.
● Vitamin C helps your body fight infections and acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage. Amla is one of the richest sources of Vitamin C.
● Replace sugar with gur (jaggery) for an healthier alternative. It also warms up your body from the inside.
● Too much caffeine can lead to dehydration. Hence, avoid tea or coffee with regular milk. Instead, try sipping on herbal teas.
● Get frequent head, foot and back massages. It will not only help you relax, but
also improve circulation.
● When you are too tired to do anything, pick your favourite book and read or listen to calming music.
● Snuggle with your husband on a cosy winter afternoon. It will relax both you and your partner. | MB
If you see labour in the movies, it’s often, well, dramatic. Butmost begin gently and gradually develop over hours—even days. Here are the signs it’s started…
You’ve packed your bag, written a birth plan and plotted your route to the hospital, but there’s one thing you still won’t know—how your labour will go. Here’s your cut-out-andkeep guide.
Your waters break
This happens when the sac of amniotic fluid surrounding the baby ruptures. You may feel a huge gush, or have a slow trickle that lasts a few days. “Waters can break any time during labour or birth,” says UK-based antenatal teacher Philippa Bennett.
What should you do?
“Grab a sanitary towel, then call the doc, who will ask you about the fluid: it should be a straw-like colour and have a sweet odour,” says Erika. If it’s green, your baby has emptied her bowels and you’ll need to go straight to hospital to check for infection. Otherwise, stay at home; your labour is likely to start within the next 72 hours.
You have backache
An ache in your lower back can mean your baby is lying with her back to yours and rotating into the right position for labour. “This can take a few days and may be painful,” says Philippa. “Or it could be the start of your contractions— some women experience them more in their back than their stomach,” she adds.
What should you do?
Ease the discomfort. “Take paracetamol, ask your husband for a back rub and have warm baths,” says Erika.
There’s a ‘show’ in yourpanties
This mucus plug sits inside the cervix during pregnancy, but will come out during labour. “It will look blood-tinged and jelly-like, and can come out either in one go or in bits,” says Erika.
What should you do?
“Speak to your doc to check it’s a show and you’re not just bleeding. Then eat, sleep and relax,” says Philippa.
You feel contractions
“These short, painless, tightening sensations mean your uterus is gearing up,” says Erika. Real contractions tend to start weak, perhaps feeling like period pain, then grow in frequency and intensity.
What should you do?
“Don’t rush to hospital as you may be sent home, but do let the doc know what’s happening,” says Philippa. Instead, take paracetamol and try to relax in any way you can. ‘Established’ labour is usually when you have three one-minute contractions in the space of 10 minutes. When the contractions become so intense you struggle to talk, you’ll know it’s definitely time to head to hospital. MB
My baby is six months old and isexclusively breastfed. Lately, I have noticed that he has been sweatingprofusely when he is being nursed. Initially, I thought that it could bebecause summer is setting in, but hisbreathing has become really rapid andhe gasps a lot while nursing. He seemstired and often falls asleep in the middle of his feed. This is interrupting in theamount of milk he should be drinking. I am worried. Please advice.
Query answered by Effath Yasmin, India’s leading International Board Certified lactation Consultant (IBCLC)
Congratulations for exclusively breastfeeding your baby. It must be a joy to be able to experience this relationship. With regard to your son’s sweating, the first step would be to figure out if this has been a recent development. While sweating during climate changes is expected, when breastfeeding, you and your baby are in close contact and this can sometimes make your baby feel warmer than usual. If this the case then to help your baby regulate his temperature, keep his and your clothing light and observe if that makes a difference. However, in case you have already taken this precaution but have noticed little to no change, observe if your baby has had to work harder than normal to transfer milk. This can be due to:
● Congenital condition called ankyloglossia or Tongue Tie. This is a tissue under the tongue that can make it tight and cause difficulty in using this muscle to coordinate suck, swallow and breathing. This can make the baby sweat as he will tire out during his feed.
● Heart pumping more to allow body to function better. Pulmonary atresia is a congenital heart condition which does not allow the valve in the heart to function better, leading to lack of oxygen in the lungs.
● Also sometimes it is a sign of hyperthyroidism.
It is also important to know that sweating isn’t the only sign of these conditions. Some of the other symptoms might be:
● Rapid and difficult breathing. This is seen as baby popping on and off the breast during feeds to switch between breathing and suckling.
● Your baby may fall asleep during feeding due to tiredness. If this is the case, he will show signs of insufficient weight gain or need to feed less in a 24-hour period.
However, keeping a check on your laundry list may put your concerns to rest:
● Use light clothing for you and your baby. Furthermore, ensure you maintain a cool and breathable environment in the room you choose to nurse. Opening a window can help a great deal.
● The use of a cap, mittens or socks can make your baby’s body warmer. We don’t realise that harmless things like this can sometimes make a baby uncomfortable.
● If you are using a baby carrier or a nursing cape, ensure it is made of breathable cloth and won’t affect your baby’s body temperature in any way.
Do get your baby evaluated by a knowledgeable International Board certified Lactation consultant or a pediatrician, in case you have tried most of what can usually help. This will help rule out any other conditions. ■
Love exercise but unsure if you should continue now you’re expecting? Find out how it can help you have a happier, calmer pregnancy
MEET THE EXPERT
Professor Sophie Scott is a neuroscientist at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London. She’s a mum-of-one and a regular runner.
Exercising helps you feel happier, stronger, less stressed and calmer, but despite all of these benef ts, doing it while you’re pregnant can raise a few eyebrows for all the wrong reasons. According to new research from Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign, many of us are hanging up our trainers when we become pregnant, despite loving our pre-pregnancy exercise routines. Almost a third of mums-to-be worry about whether exercise is safe when they’re expecting, 24 per cent aren’t sure about what they can and can’t do, and at what intensity, and three per cent have even been advised by a friend or family member not to continue.
KEEPING UP THE CARDIO
If you regularly ran, swam, cycled, walked, danced or went to the gym or classes before you became pregnant, it’s safe to continue as long as you’re comfortable and don’t push yourself too hard. It’s worth discussing your exercise routine with your midwife, and tell your instructor at the your gym or class how far along you are, so she can advise on how to proceed. Carrying on with cardio is great for increasing energy levels, improving sleep, and boosting blood flow, meaning less chance of leg cramps and varicose veins.
But are we missing a trick? “Exercise is amazing for you, your baby, your brain and your mood,” says neuroscientist Sophie Scott. ‘It can really help you feel better and healthier during your pregnancy. Your brain is dependent on your cardiovascular system, so the fitter you are, the better it will work. Exercise helps the development of new brain cells, which regulates your mood and speeds up the circulation of endorphins to your brain.
“These act as your body’s natural painkillers and when you exercise they’re released primarily to help ease your aching muscles. They are chemically similar to morphine, so as well as having a physical pain-killing response, they also have a positive, calming effect on your brain. That’s why, after exercising, you might feel an exercise buzz or high. The interesting thing is that during pregnancy, you’re already on an endorphin kick as they are switched on to ease the physical changes, such as the extra pressure on your joints and looser ligaments. So if you are active while you’re pregnant, you get twice as many endorphins as usual: as not only are they in overdrive in response to your pregnancy, they will also kick in when you exercise, giving you that extra happiness boost and helping you relax.” Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous to be beneficial, so even if you reduce the intensity, you’ll still be generating endorphins. In fact, it’s much better to lower the intensity, such as switching from running to brisk walking, than it is to stop altogether. While it’s not dangerous to you or your baby to suddenly stop exercising, you might discover that you feel less energised or slightly lower in spirits than usual as a result. “When you exercise regularly, your body gets used to receiving a certain level of endorphins,” says Sophie. “So if you don’t exercise for a while, it can cause a drop in your mood. As long as it’s safe, don’t suddenly stop all activity, and try to keep on exercising, even if you do gradually reduce the frequency and intensity, as it will help your body gently adjust. Exercise can also help you feel more confident as your shape changes during pregnancy. You’re going through a lot of physical and hormonal changes, so keeping that flow of extra endorphins to your brain can help you feel strong and in control. And while endorphins don’t directly influence confidence levels, feeling more positive, more energised and happier will go a long way to giving your self-esteem a much-deserved boost.”
So with all these feel-good benefits, there’s even more reason to continue to exercise throughout your pregnancy, especially if it’s part of your normal routine. And if you’re in any doubt about exercising while you’re pregnant, take inspiration from the This Girl Can campaign (thisgirlcan.co.uk). It shows how normal it is to be active while pregnant, as well as celebrating women exercising in a way that suits them. It also tackles a key reason why many pregnant women discontinue their exercise routines —a fear of judgement from others. Unfortunately, even though exercising while pregnant is one of the healthiest habits to continue and should be encouraged and supported, it can still attract unfavourable comments. The good news is that there is now a more positive attitude to women continuing to exercise. However, 13 per cent have been questioned, criticised or received negative comments about it. “Exercise is such an amazing thing to continue while you’re pregnant, so it’s such a shame that there are still some people who give out advice to the contrary, no matter how well meaning they might intend it to be,” says Sophie. “Providing it’s safe and healthy for you to do so, exercise is on one the best things you can do to look after yourself during pregnancy, so if anyone does comment or question you on your exercise habits, just ignore them! You know it’s doing you and your baby the world of good: you’ll feel happier, healthier and stronger. What’s more, you know your body better than any stranger does, or even your friends and family. Other people’s opinions are the last thing you need to worry about at this amazing, joyful time in your life, so don’t feel that you can’t put your trainers or your yoga maternity-pants on and go for it!”
If you regularly ran, swam, continue while you’re expecting, but a few should be put on hold. Contact sports and any activity where your bump could be hit, such as hockey and netball, are best avoided. Scuba diving should be avoided too, due to pressure changes, as should any activity in extreme heat, such as Bikram yoga. Exercise where you lie on your back for long periods should be given a miss and be wary of any exercise where there’s a risk of falling, such as horse riding.
A healthy diet during your pregnancy means a healthy baby. Here’s how to make sure you get the right nutrition for every trimester
BY ANANTA GOYAL
A healthy diet is synonymous with a healthy lifestyle. This holds true for a healthy pregnancy as well. Eating right from the get go nourishes your baby and aids in the overall development. It sets the stage for mothers to maintain a healthy and steady weight gain, and avoid a series of health issues which can crop up with an unhealthy pregnancy diet. Here’s everything you need to know:
Eating for two
The baby you are eating for, weighs only about 28 grams by the end of the first trimester. It is more about fine-tuning your diet to meet the growing nutrition needs of your progressing pregnancy. Assuming you start off on normal weight before getting pregnant, your calorie intake will be as follows:
First trimester: You need no extra calories. Many mothers suffer from nausea and are not able to eat much. Bananas are a great choice as they are easy on the tummy and offer instant energy to combat fatigue which accompanies you through the first trimester. During the first month of pregnancy, folic acid plays a major role in avoiding spinal cord birth defects, miscarriage and preterm delivery. Since it is not possible to meet your full requirement from food, additional prenatal supplements are a must.
Second trimester: Bump up the daily calorie intake by 300. Development of the babys’ bone and teeth are now underway. Paediatrician, Dr Saloni Pahwa, recommends adding a tablespoon of chia seeds to your salad, yogurt or cereal. “They are calorie wise, energy boosting superfoods rich in Omega 3 and antioxidants, aiding brain and bone development, controlling blood sugar levels and preventing anaemia.” she says.
Third trimester: Increase the calorie intake to 450 kcal. Iron requirements double when you are pregnant and as you approach the finish line, your iron levels can drop. Iron deficiency can lead to anaemia, cause fatigue, dizziness and an overall lack of energy. Dates, pomegranates, dried fruit, meat, fish and poultry
are good sources of iron.
As a thumb rule, make every calorie count. Drink plenty of water and liquids (a minimum of eight glasses) to support the increased blood volume, and use nuts, dry fruits and super seeds as diet fillers to up the nutrition quotient and keep acidity at bay.
A wholesome pregnancy diet
A healthy pregnancy diet is not difficult to follow. According to Ankita Jain, a Mumbai-based nutritionist, “One of the ways to achieve your nutritional goal is to eat a rainbow of foods everyday. Different vitamins and nutrients create different colours in our food. Eating different colours assures you are getting a variety of nutrients.”
Here are the five food groups that will have you covered for the day:
Fresh fruit (three to fourservings): Choose the whole fruit over fresh juice, which packs in more fibre and less sugar. Vegetables (four to five servings): Pick from the entire range of colours. Green leafy vegetables, tomatoes and beetroot are a good source of iron. Red and yellow bell peppers, broccoli and green peas provide Vitamin C. Include folate-heavy cruciferous vegetables such as caulifl ower, cabbage, brussel sprouts and kale as part of your daily diet.
Fruit and vegetables are the most nutrient-dense of all food groups. They are rich in fiber and antioxidants. Each spoonful offers more nutrition for its calorie content.
Whole grains and grains (six servings with three to fourservings of whole grains): Try not to limit yourself to whole wheat. Enjoy the whole gamut like jowar, bajra, ragi, corn, quinoa and so forth. Energy-boosting essentials carbs are found in whole grains. It is an important source of fiber which wards off constipation and keeps nausea at bay.
Dairy (three servings): During pregnancy, your body absorbs roughly twice as much calcium from food. Milk, yogurt, paneer and rosagullas are nutritious sources of calcium. While soft cheeses are a no during this time, a cube of hard cheese every other day can be consumed.
Protein (three servings): Protein is the hero of all nutrients. It contains amino acids that are the building blocks for your baby’s chubby cheeks and everything within. Select from lean meats, eggs and vegetarian-friendly options such as beans, soya products, nuts and seeds.
Cravings and its flip side: Aversions are a very real part of pregnancy. There is no harm indulging in those cravings as an infrequent treat. When it comes to aversions, listen to your body. Forcing down food only because it is good food for you, will make you feel worse.
Follow these simple mantras and eat your way to a healthy pregnancy. Happy indulging! |MB
Weeks or even years after you have given birth, talking through your experience with a midwife can help put to rest any concerns you may have
Writing a birth plan is an important part of preparing for labour and something your midwife will have strongly encouraged you to do. Together you will have talked through your hopes for the delivery, from pain relief to birthing positions. After the birth, there is a strong possibility that you will look back and question those parts of the process that didn’t exactly match your birthplan expectations.
It’s normal to spend time reflecting on your labour, as it will undoubtedly be one of the most significant experiences in your life. But if these thoughts begin to dominate your day, or cause you distress, then talking it through with a midwife could help you come to terms with how your baby came into the world.
During childbirth there is often no time for medical staff to explain things, like why they need to use a ventouse [vacuum device] or why the delivery room has suddenly filled with extra staff. A midwife can use your labour notes to give a medical explanation for what happened and why this may not have matched your birth plan. It isn’t a form of counselling but a chance for you to have your questions answered.
Most labour wards offer this service and a telephone call to the hospital where you gave birth will tell you who to contact. The maternity unit may have a dedicated email address or telephone line for arranging what is sometimes called a birth afterthoughts meeting. They will have to request your labour notes and then agree a time and location to meet. You will usually have a one-hour appointment.
Michelle Lyne, a professional advisor for education at the Royal College of Midwives, points out that you are able to reflect on your birth with your midwife at any stage. However, she recommends giving yourself a few weeks breathing space before attending a birth afterthoughts meeting. Your labour notes are kept for 25 years and you have a right to access these at any time.
‘The birth experience stays with you forever,’ says Michelle. ‘It’s important that you deal with any demons, as they can impact on your emotional and physical wellbeing. A woman can go into a numb state then look back and think: “How did my baby get to be a year old?”
Sadly, some mothers feel they let themselves and their baby down if they didn’t have the labour experience they were hoping for. “If she ended up with a forceps delivery she may think, ‘was there anything I could have done?’ Sometimes she feels she has failed,” says Michelle.
Your baby’s brain develops rapidly in the third trimester. Here’s what you can do to make sure she’s healthy and developing
“Oh come on,” you’d say, “How can you make a foetus smarter in the womb? I’ll work on my baby’s intelligence after birth!”
You couldn’t be more wrong.
ISP or the Infant Siddha Programme in Mumbai trains hundreds of parents every year to create a special bond with their child from when they’re conceived and to raise them to be successful, intelligent and above all, happy individuals. Darshan Desai, an educationist and trainer with them asks parents in their program to start communicating with the baby as soon as she is conceived. “A baby exists as soon as she is conceived. On the 12th day after conception, neurons are generated in the brain. Everything the baby experiences in the womb stimulates his or her brain,” he says.
Your baby’s brain is going to start forming in the first month of your pregnancy. At this time, it will just be a few cells, but by the time you’re ready to deliver, the brain will grow up to billions of cells. During the course of those nine months, your baby’s brain is not only growing, but it is also learning and absorbing. Your baby is just a foetus, yes. But it is a foetus that is starting to respond to stimulation.
Yes, there are ways to ensure that your baby’s brain develops optimally and gets the right amount of stimulation. Read on to find out how you can work towards ensuring that your baby is born smart!
The Right Lifestyle
“A healthy diet for the mother is very important. After the seventh month of pregnancy, whatever the mother eats will be remembered by the child and will later be her preference or food choice,” warns Desai.
A good pregnancy diet does NOT mean piling on the calories or ‘eating for two’. Don’t consider your pregnancy as a license to eat all those maida and sugar rich foods. An optimal diet means that you’re providing your baby with all the essential nutrients it needs during this crucial time of foetal development. And it also means that you’re feeding your baby superfood for the brain.
Most women are made to believe that a C-section is a safer way to deliver a baby, especially if it is a breech birth. But what is a breech birth? And are there no options to a C-section? Why are so many women electing for one and what are the risks involved? All your questions answered right here with some guidance and support for all expecting mothers
BY SIMONA TERRON
THE miracle of birth is a fascinating process: watching life grow inside the mother’s body from a small bunch of cells to a fully-formed baby, can be nothing short of magical. And yet, there are many moments along this incredible process where things can go seriously wrong. In this article, we’re going to focus on the concept of breech births.
WHAT IS A BREECH BIRTH?
A breech birth occurs when a baby is lodged in the uterus with her head facing upwards and her bottom, downwards. Yes, the uterus is a snug area but your baby usually has enough wiggle room to move around as she grows, often even kicking the walls of her cosy quarters, which the mother can feel quite sharply. But as the pregnancy draws to its conclusion and the baby prepares to exit the womb, it slowly shifts until it is poised headfirst, facing the birth canal; much like a diver about to plunge into a pool.
Breech births are when the baby doesn’t quite manage to correctly poise itself and is likely to emerge feet-first into the world. Now is that such a bad thing? Consider this—the largest part of a baby is its head. In a vaginal birth, when the head emerges first, the rest of the baby’s body follows quite smoothly and all the tinier parts that can snag or are likely to get stuck, now manage to withdraw without a fuss.
A breech birth is when this process is reversed and the feet are likely to be the first part of the baby to leave the mother’s body. In such a situation, the likelihood of any of the following scenarios is very high:
1. The head will get stuck, being the largest part and any force applied might suffocate or cause undue damage and distress for the baby. 2. One or both arms might get twisted and awkwardly wedged, which puts unnecessary pressure on such delicate joints. 3. The baby might get strangled or entwined in its umbilical cord, starving her of oxygen and leading to brain damage or even death. 4. In cases like these, most ob-gyns suggest a C-section or a Caesarean, which is where the baby is not delivered vaginally, but through a surgical incision made along the mother’s lower abdomen through which the baby is extracted.
WHY IS A C-SECTIONNECESSARY?
This is an emergency procedure when the midwife or ob-gyn has decreed that a vaginal birth will do harm to either or both mother and baby. A full-term pregnancy is roughly 40 weeks but things usually become clear by the 36th or 37th week when one can gauge the baby’s position in the uterus. Crucial data is gathered via tests and various procedures such as ultrasound scans and tactile examinations through your abdominal wall or by vaginal exam, if your cervix is open. It usually is decided in conjunction with both parents as well as after collecting this crucial data to determine whether a C-section is absolutely necessary. This involves a detailed discussion about delivery options, issues, risks, and benefits that should ideally take place before conclusively scheduling any procedure.
US-based certified nurse midwife, Elizabeth Stein, says that C-sections are not always the go-to solution for breech births provided you have a skilled and experienced obstetrician. “The older, experienced physicians were very skilled at vaginal breech delivery, since breech presentation was not considered a reason to perform a Caesarean section. This skill, which is really an art, is not being passed on since a majority of breech babies are now delivered by C-section.”