Even if you know everything about right eating habits, exercise and other nuances of pregnancy, there are still chances that you might fall prey to some of the most common mistakes that every expectant mother (mostly first-time mums) makes, albeit unknowingly. However, don’t fret about things now, there is still time for you to rectify your mistakes and get back on track. Here are some of the most common mistakes that women make during pregnancy.
#1 Eating for two: Your daily calorie requirement is roughly between 1800 to 2000 calories. Do you really think that a tiny fetus growing inside you would need those many daily calories to grow and develop? The answer is no. What your baby needs is the correct nutrition. The rule of thumb here is that, you need only 300 calories more than your normal calorie intake. Remember gaining excess weight during pregnancy can put you at risk of conditions like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and could necessitate you to have a C-section during your delivery. It can also lead to various other health problems postpartum.
What you should do: If you have been eating your heart out all this while citing pregnancy as an excuse, check your diet immediately. Stick to three portions of fruits, stock on greens and raw vegetables and bank on nuts and eggs for the right kind of proteins. The idea is to have six small balanced meals throughout the day and keep yourself hydrated. Keeping hunger pangs at bay by eating right will help you restrict your diet to only what is absolutely necessary and check your cravings.
#2 Self medication: Did you know that you are supposed to refrain from using antacids, paracetamol or even acne creams once you are pregnant? Self medication can have adverse affect on your pregnancy. Using over the counter medications, self medicating or undergoing harsh beauty treatments could lead to congenital abnormalities in your baby.
What you should do: Remember you cannot self medicate at any cost during your pregnancy. Only take pills that are prescribed by your doctor. If you have noticed that your prenatal vitamins and iron doses are making you feel nauseated talk to your doctor for a change of brand. These vitamins and iron supplements are prescribed to you to meet the requirements and you can’t do without them. If acidity, headache and acne is troubling you get help from a professional.
#3 Lack of sleep: If you thought that sacrificing on your sleep can help you get a work-life balance, know that pregnancy is no time to play superwoman. The hormonal and physical changes that happen within your body during pregnancy demand more rest. Less sleep would in fact add to your pregnancy-fatigue. Also, try and make up for all your sleep deficit, because your body will need you to be physically fit enough to go through the strains of labour and delivery. While resting and getting enough shut eye is a must, exercising is also of immense importance in order for your body to prepare for the arduous journey of being in labour.
What you can do: If you have been sleeping for less than five or six hours in a day, its time you sleep more. Try by going to bed an hour earlier and waking up an hour later. To fix things on the home front, hire a maid or ask your family to chip in and help. Check if your employer will allow you to take a power nap during your breaks. If not, then don’t miss out on naps during the weekends. The key is to find a balance between resting enough and oversleeping. Oversleeping tends to make your body crave more sleep. This can spell trouble, post delivery, when your baby has erratic sleep cycles and your body yearns for more sleep.
#4 Not talking to your baby-bump: Pregnancy can be stressful and leave you tired and exhausted. All this fatigue can take away attention from your baby bump — unless you experience your baby’s kick. But that’s not a healthy way to be reminded about your baby. Experts say that it is essential to bond with your baby-bump before you receive the actual reward.
What you should do: Put a hand on your belly and while gently caressing it, talk to your baby, often. Paying attention to your baby bump helps you bond with your baby and stimulates it’s senses too. But it is never too late, even if you have reached your third trimester you can still experience these blissful baby-bump moments.
#5 Avoiding comfort foods: If you have a sweet tooth, it’s a good practice to limit your sweet intake a little after the second trimester. Putting a check on your sweet intake will help you prevent the chances of suffering from gestational diabetes and other allied problems, but stressing yourself about not having a bite of your favorite sugary treat will only increase anxiety levels in you, which in turn can affect your baby’s well-being.
What you can do: Reach out for a bar of chocolate or a piece of kajukatli when you crave for it, but remember to do it in moderation. The same would be applicable for spicy and fried foods too. If you are not sure that you can stop at one kajukatli or few pakoras, ask your husband, mother or a friend to sit with you and monitor your intake. Stop when they signal you. Cheating is not going to harm others but you.
#6 Not exercising: If you are a ‘non-exerciser’ you will tend find excuses to sit back and relax. Most women would say that their daily commute, taking the stairs in their office, residence building or doing the usual household chores constitutes enough exercises and help burn those extra calories. But not exercising during pregnancy can harm your body like no other. Exercise helps to combat stress hormones, boosts circulation, prepare the body for labour and delivery and help in fetal growth and development. Remember daily wear and tear is no substitute for exercise.
What you should do: Start exercising from the initial days of your pregnancy. If you are a beginner, discuss your plan with your doctor and how you should go about it. If you have already started hitting the gym, have a detailed discussion with your trainer on how you can alter your regimen to suit your special needs. Remember not to do anything drastic or take up any new challenges during your pregnancy. Most importantly avoid putting any pressure on your core (stomach muscles). If you are well into your pregnancy and have not exercised enough, start to make time for it. Take walks after dinner or in the morning and slowly graduate to pregnancy yoga, but get yourself a coach or practitioner to help you stay on the right track.
#7 Deciding on healthcare hastily: Before you decide on a hospital or clinic, ask yourself what kind of birth you prefer and if your doctor and the hospital has the means to support your decision. Birthing is a personal emotional experience and you wouldn’t want it to be ruined by not expressing your desires. Read up on the various types of birthing and choose what you would prefer for yourself. If it is hypnobirthing or water birth that you want, check if your hospital can help you with one. If not you surely should look elsewhere.
What you should do: Write a neat and clear birth plan on what you need and how to meet the criterion. Even if you are in your last trimester, just don’t give up hope. Ask yourself if you are comfortable with your doctor, if you feel at ease at the hospital or if your questions about birthing and delivery have been answered appropriately by the hospital staff. If not, talk to your friends around and explore other options. Make appointments with the other practitioners and be firm during the discussion about why you are looking for a change.
#8 Not joining an antenatal class: Everybody told you there is nothing to be learnt from your antenatal class, and you will learn more about pregnancy experiencing it on your own. But ask yourself, ‘Do you know enough about post natal care?’ ‘How to breastfeed right?’ ‘What to eat to lactate well?’ ‘What exercises should you do during pregnancy?’ ‘How to manage labour?’. Sure there will be family to help you. But there is no harm if you want to do it on your own and here is where antenatal classes come in handy. Antenatal classes will give you all the information you might on pregnancy and childcare and prepare you for the onslaught of delivery.
What you should do: Pick up a class during your first trimester when things are still in the nascent stage. In this way, you will have a lot of time to learn and do the right things for you and your baby. If you have missed out then look for a crash course in an antenatal program. You sure won’t be disappointed.
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