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“A mother’s guide to making the 9 month journey a memorable one”

Holding your baby in your arms for the first time brings a mother such joy that it makes her forget all the pain and agony of the nine month long journey. All mothers know what we had to go through to meet our bundle of joy. Before the new baby shows up, nausea, heartburn, strange cravings, cramps, and what not are part of what almost every expectant mother has to endure. When you conceive, it’s the beginning of a whole new world…..feelings and emotions that you have never felt before, your entire body is experiencing something new, making you wonder how to cope with new surprises each morning. It seems like you are always questioning yourself…Ok! What next????

How your body reacts to the new changes cannot be predicted, but how you manage through this amazing journey is very important. Talking with a few mums around me and of course going through the experience myself, it is fair to say that yes, experience is the best teacher. Here are a few tips that made my pregnancy a pleasant journey throughout, although the rules are not written, just follow the tips you like the most and your body adopts to easily.

 Fight the Morning Sickness and Fatigue:
I remember the fatigue that I had to go through during my first trimester. I was working 9 to 6 and the toll of the first trimester morning sickness was really wearing me out. I remember falling asleep in front of my desktop and being embarrassed about it, but it was something that was not in my control. Getting a good nights sleep and having a 20 minute nap during the day is very important to help fight the first trimester symptom. To help you get through the day, follow these tips:

  • Take 1-2 crackers before getting out of bed
  • In the morning, drink green tea flavored with ginger
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea, soft drinks etc.
  • Take small meals every 2 to 3 hours (an empty stomach aggravates nausea).
  • Avoid food rich in fat and spices.

Don’t roll you eyes in surprise!! Many women in our country believe that exercise is a big no during pregnancy. If you are not suffering from any medical condition, have a history of miscarriage or pre-term labor, and have a go ahead from your doctor, then there is no reason for NOT exercising. Infact exercising during pregnancy is most beneficial as it helps in relieving many pregnancy symptoms like stress, nausea, cramps, pains in joints etc. Exercise also strengthens your muscles and keeps your joints flexible, which aids in pushing during labor. The best and least expensive form of cardio exercise is walking. If you were active before your pregnancy and used to exercise, then there is no reason for you to stop doing it now. Remember to warm up before you start your exercise routine and don’t forget to stretch, you will be thankful for these stretches when you reach your last trimester and won’t complain of cramps and round ligament pain. I exercised through out my pregnancy and had a very smooth last trimester, free of any cramps or nerve pains (skipping days when I didn’t feel like working out at all, so always listen to your body). Try to incorporate light workout into your day with your physician’s approval.

Following are a few tips to follow while exercising:

  • Have a light snack and drink water or juice about 15 - 30 minutes before your warm-up.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that protect your feet and joints.
  • Wear clothes with loose fitting and stretch when you move.
  • Wear cotton undergarments that will let your body breathe.
  • Divide your exercise into 2-3 brief sessions if possible.
  • Exercise slowly.
  • Do not do a rapid series of repetitions.
  • Rest briefly between movements.
  • Never exercise to the point of exhaustion.
  • If there is any pain or strain, STOP!
  • A little perspiration is fine; a drenching sweat is a signal to STOP.
  • You should be able to carry on a conversation with someone next to you while exercising.
  • You should feel exhilarated, not drained, after the exercise.
  • Do not workout for more than 5 days a week.
  • You should not perform any exercises that require lying on your back as it cuts down oxygen to the fetus.

Eat Right
Eating right throughout the pregnancy is very important. It is essential to increase your daily caloric intake to 300 calories per day. You don’t have to be a nutritionist to decide which contains better nutritional value, a plate of French fries or a bowl of mixed fruits.
Pregnancy is not the time to eat mindlessly, which very sadly is done by most expectant women. I have come across people who would tell me to eat whatever I wanted, because I would get fat anyways. It’s for us to decide whether this suggestion is a wise one or not. True that we have to give away to our cravings most of the time, but it doesn’t have to be unhealthy choices. Infact, if it’s right to start eating healthy, now is the time because your body requires healthier eating for yourself and your baby during this special time. So the next time you reach for that bag of chips think twice before indulging too much, after all you have much better choices like fruits, dry fruits, beans, lentils and vegetables waiting for your attention.

Look Good!!
Now that you have heard the good news, you can’t hardly wait to meet the new addition in your family, but remember it’s a nine month long journey and with this happy news comes a lot of other things as well that are not so easy to accept. Like developing itchy and dry skin, stretch marks, acnes, cellulite, and of course a body that most of us loathe and wonder when will we ever look good in our clothes.
Many women tend to let go of themselves during their pregnancy, forgetting that whatever wear and tear the body will go through the next nine months is going to be very difficult to undo. Here are few tips to make you feel good about yourself:

  • Take long luxurious baths….believe me when the new one comes this will be a big question mark on your to do list. While the baby is enjoying himself in his own little swimming pool, why don’t you go ahead yourself and enjoy a relaxing bath. If you like to have a soak in your bath tub, do so with luke warm water and add a few drops of lemon and rose water to the bath. You can also use massage sponge to improve circulation and relax yourself. This will also help you de-stress and help you in slipping into a steady slumber.
  • After every bath massage your body religiously with a good massage cream. Creams containing cocoa butter and vitamin E are very effective in keeping your skin smooth and supple. There are also a variety of stretch mark creams available, massaging them regularly will help fight stretch marks. Also keep yourself hydrated by drinking at least eight glasses of water every day.
  • Go to a saloon at least once a month and get a facial, manicure and pedicure. This feels so good and it takes you away from that lethargic zone you were lingering on for so long.
  • To help fight the increased amount of cellulite in your body drink plenty of water, eat healthy food with lots of green leafy veggies and fruits and fibers and avoid food containing high amount of caffeine, fat and oil content.
  • Don’t wear tent like clothes!! This will make you look larger and rounder than you actually are. Wear clothes that are your right size and just a little loose around the waist and hips. No need to wear clothes that are overall baggy. Dress smartly and put more emphasis on your face, hair and accessories. This will help in diverting attention from your bulge to your face, and if you are taking good care of your skin, people will be more interested in knowing how you got this glowing complexion, rather than talking about your bulge.
  • Give yourself hot oil treatment. Mix olive oil and vitamin E oil together and warm the mixture. Massage yourself from head to toe with this soothing concoction. This will give you a healthy scalp and a glowing skin, plus the body massage will help you ease body aches and cramps.

It is very important to relax and take care of yourself during pregnancy. Excessive stress, physical or emotional, can lead to possibility of miscarriage or premature delivery. It’s important that you do everything possible during your pregnancy to adjust your lifestyle and accommodate your need to relax. Remember-- all the stress you feel is stress that your unborn baby will feel too! Taking good care of yourself will lead to a happy mother and baby relationship.

Remember, pregnancy is not the time to fret about things, but it’s a time to enjoy and take care of yourself. Just listen to your body needs, after all it’s you who is going to suffer the after effects if you don’t take good care of yourself right now. When that baby comes, you will agree with me here that pregnancy is just a few short months of the lifetime you'll lead so you should make a conscious effort to enjoy every minute of it.

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