Ready to conceive now? There are many ways to prepare for the pregnancy.
- Leading a healthy lifestyle with proper levels of physical activities and taking a well-balanced diet.
- For smokers, stop smoking as it decreases your fertility and it is also harmful for the baby after you get pregnant.
- De-stress. Stressing yourself out about starting a family can actually affect your fertility.
- Understanding your menstrual cycle and ovulation can improve the chances of getting pregnant.
- Prenatal supplementation can be useful, especially if you are not able to have a well-balanced diet.
For the next 9 months of pregnancy, your body is growing a tiny human inside of you.
Getting sufficient rest and staying active with a healthy diet are ways that you can do to help your body adjust and cope with the needs of pregnancy.
During these 9 months of pregnancy, your body undergoes many transformations. Some of the changes are visible, while others are less visible.
Transformations related to the hormone changes in the body:
- The ‘Glow’
Changes in your body give rise to your glowing appearance which is experienced after the 1st trimester and can extend till the 3rd trimester.
- Increase in breast size
To prepare for breast feeding, your breasts increase not only in size but in weight as well. For better support, invest in a good maternity bra to reduce the strain.
- Morning sickness
Usually felt in the 1st trimester and can come in the form of nausea, or in more severe cases, vomiting. Try to have smaller meals each time but increase the number of meals you have in a day.
- Changing emotions
Besides the hormone changes in the body, the physical stress, fatigue and changes in your metabolism can affect your emotions. One of the ways to deal with these emotional changes will be to take it in your stride and not be too hard on yourself. Get plenty of rest; speak to your spouse and get his support.
- Bowel experience
On top of the changes in hormones, worry, anxiety, lesser physical exercise or taking certain supplements and a low fibre diet may cause constipation. Consider increasing your fibre and fluid intake with routine exercising (approved by your doctor) to better regulate your bowel.
Other bodily changes that can happen:
- Weight gain
Unavoidable effect of the pregnancy as the foetus develops and grows up. Do weigh yourself regularly and be mindful of excessive weight gain as it may lead to long-term weight issues and is also harder to shake it off after pregnancy.
Your body is accommodating the development of your tiny one and this invariably increases your energy usage. Know your limits and get sufficient rest and nutrition to manage the tiredness.
- Increase in body temperature
As your metabolism rate increases, your body temperature also rises. With the slight increase in temperature, avoid stuffy environments or choose clothes that allow better ventilation for more comfortable wearing.
- Increase urination frequency
As the baby grows in your tummy, he or she may start to press onto your bladder and make you feel like urinating more often.
These are unquenchable longings for food that you may or may not have liked to eat previously! There is no known cause for it but more importantly, manage your cravings, and try to monitor the amount of food you are consuming.
There are many things that can happen in life that you can be proud of, but nothing beats being a mother after going through this life changing event!
After the little one’s arrival into the world, what are some of the things to look out for?
Dealing with Post-delivery recovery:
- Natural Birth (Caring for your perineum)
- Keep the area clean by using warm water for washing after urination
- Use a sitz bath to soothe the wound
- Taking a stool softener to reduce straining during
Caesarean Birth (Caring for your C-section)
Let the wound heal naturally. There are scar preparations available in the pharmacy to help with the healing. Depending on the formulation, it will determine how early you can start to apply the product after delivery.
- Aches and pains
Painkillers prescribed during discharge can be used to alleviate your discomfort.
- Bowel movement
Remember to take your fruits, vegetables and plenty of fluid. Avoid straining and sitting too long in the toilet as it may also affect your perineum or C-section healing.
Take care of your breasts and nipples. Practice good hygiene, wash your breasts with water when bathing as most soaps can remove the naturally produced oil on your areola and nipple area. This causes dryness and irritation.
To help moisturise the nipple area, rub some breast milk on the nipples and areola, then letting them air dry.
For more severe cracked nipples, get a nipple cream from the pharmacy to soothe the dryness. If aching from engorgement, try using the cold cabbage leaf method to relieve the pain. Alternatively, there are gel packs available to apply as a cold compress.
- Nutrition and hydration
As you are producing breast milk for the baby, it is important for you to also have a balanced and nutrient-rich diet as your needs for most nutrients are increased to meet this demand.
There are multivitamins and minerals available during your pregnancy and breastfeeding journey to supplement your diet. Hydration is also vital for breast milk production and can affect your breast milk supply.
- Aches and pains