Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tips for Expecting Moms: What to Remember During Pregnancy

What to Remember When Pregnant

1. Be mindful of your body's signs - If you feel tired, rest. If you feel hungry, eat. If you feel sleepy, please sleep! You need to take care of your body so it can take care of your baby.  

2. Don't overdo things - Always gauge your energy level. Don't assume that because you did certain things before pregnancy that were easy enough for you, that it would be the same now that you're expecting. I had the unpleasant discovery in my first pregnancy that even though I was exercising enough beforehand, climbing up several flights of stairs can take its toll on my pregnant body. I felt ok and not so tired at the time but come that night, I had some spotting and was admitted to the hospital overnight. I ended up being on bedrest for the next two weeks! So much for continuing my usual activities. And although not all women will experience this, it's always good to set limits for yourself. Don't overwork, over schedule or get overly tired.

3. Moisturize - Whether you seem more prone to stretch marks (through genetics) or not, it's always a good idea to keep your skin moisturized well during pregnancy. You can start applying lotions or oils with natural and safe ingredients early on so that when your tummy expands, your skin is ready. My personal favorites are Coconut Oil and Clarins Tonic Oil. So far they've worked pretty well :)

4. Take Calcium - Pregnancy can deplete calcium stores in women like no other event in our lives! Calcium is the building block for our baby's bones and teeth so we need to have enough of it available in our bodies. If we lack calcium, chances are we are going to pay for it after giving birth. A trip to the dentist will confirm this :S

5. Hydrate often - Always remember to drink lots of water! It keeps you hydrated and helps prevent urinary tract infection which is common in pregnant women. The growing uterus pushes the bladder and in turn makes the urethra susceptible to bacteria. Water is also essential in maintaining the level of amniotic fluid in your tummy so drink up ;)

6. Watch your sugar - I know, I know - bummer right? Sweets are always a treat but when you're pregnant (and even if you're not), too much sugar just isn't good. It's ok to have some sweet stuff from time to time to satisfy your craving, but it is wise to keep away from too much sugar to avoid unnecessary weight gain and possible gestational diabetes. This can happen to you even if your family has no history of diabetes so it's best to be modest about your sugar intake.

7. Exercise (if your ob-gyn approves it) - It's always a good idea to have enough exercise to stay healthy, and hopefully pregnancy will encourage you to stay fit for your body's sake! If your doctor allows you to exercise, by all means do so! It will be good for your back (which will be carrying extra weight once your tummy grows bigger than ever) and will give you energy. It will also help prepare your body for the work due on delivery day!

8. Always consult your doctor before taking any meds - Whether it's for a headache, an allergy, or something major, you'll want to make sure that whatever medications you will be taking are safe for your baby.

9. Get some sleep - This one is easy during the first trimester (at least for me!), and for the second it's pretty good too (just remember to sleep on your left side from your fifth month onwards though). But for the third trimester it can get quite tricky. The discomfort of having a bigger tummy and more trips to the bathroom causes a pregnant mommy to wake up every so often. They say it's preparation for the coming baby who will require parents to get up every few hours! Well, that's why now's a good time as any to get some sleep before those sleepless nights come.

10. Eat wisely - Besides choosing to eat healthy, a good way to avoid another pregnancy hiccup known as heartburn is to avoid spicy or acidic foods. Also try to eat small servings often as opposed to eating a lot during every major meal. 

What To Do When These Things Happen

1. Spotting - Whether brown or bright red, little or a lot, always call your doctor. Better safe than sorry. I actually had spotting incidents with both Audrey and Natalie in the beginning of each pregnancy, and because I consulted my doctors right away, I was able to get the proper care.

2. Nausea and Vomiting - Eat small meals frequently to battle nausea. Having an empty stomach triggers dizziness so if you can keep snacks like crackers near you, you can always munch on them even at night or upon waking up. I found that eating fruits really helped me during the first trimester for both pregnancies and my personal favorite was mangosteen - a fruit that's sweet and sour at the same time ;) Also try to avoid nausea triggers like strong odors, whether from perfumes or from food. I couldn't stand the smell of certain foods during my first trimester because they made me want to vomit (ugh!) so I tried to steer clear of the kitchen whenever I felt that the smell of food was making me queasy. Unfortunately though, I had some vomiting episodes especially with Audrey and when this happens to you, try to re-hydrate - but not until at least an hour after throwing up or you'll just vomit again.

3. Cramping Sensation - If you feel even the least bit of cramping in your stomach, tell your doctor right away. It usually isn't a sign of something good in the first trimester but in the succeeding trimesters, it might be premature contractions which require that you rest and take it easy.

4. Pain anywhere in the tummy - If there is any kind of pain in your tummy, again, tell your doctor about it and have it checked if necessary. I remember having a quick and intermittent sharp pain on my lower abdomen during my second trimester with Audrey. I was asked by my doc to go to the hospital as soon as possible for a lab test which showed that I had a urinary tract infection. I had to take antibiotics and I loaded up on water and my fave - buko juice! I was good and clear by the time I had to do another urinalysis. 

5. Back Pains - Back aches and pains are quite common during pregnancy especially during the third trimester. I experienced more severe back pain with my second pregnancy since my pelvic bones have already been stretched before and seemed more "loose". It's a good thing I was allowed to exercise and I chose Pilates to help strengthen my back and stay flexible. Another surprising solution to my lower back pain was getting Fitflops! (Check it out here: FitFlop Women's Lunetta Thong Sandal,Black,6 M US) My friends have sworn on them and said that they are super comfy especially when you're pregnant. I never purchased a pair because I found them too pricey - but with the back pains that were constantly ailing me, I finally decided to get them when I chanced upon a sale. Lo and behold, they actually work!!! I guess they absorb all that extra weight so it becomes easier on your back. Now I swear by them too haha! 

What to Avoid

1. Hair Color - If you're pregnant and want a new look, just opt for a new cut rather than coloring. Although studies haven't proven a hundred percent that hair color harms a fetus, it is still better to be safe than sorry. The chemicals in hair colorants are unnatural after all. If you must color though, please do so only when you're already in your second trimester and choose a brand with organic ingredients.

2. Teeth Whitening - Since there isn't enough research to back up the safety of teeth whitening while expecting, it's best to avoid it. The chemical contents that whiten teeth might not be safe for a growing baby so this procedure will have to wait even until after breastfeeding is done.

3. Products with these ingredients - Avoid products containing retinol, parabens, phtalates, hydroquinone (a skin lightening ingredient) and beta hydroxy acids. Opt for organic or products with natural ingredients.

4. Wearing high heels for long periods of time - Unless you're ok with having back pains and varicose veins, then by all means wear high heels all day hehe. But trust me, they are very uncomfy especially with a bulging tummy. Wedge sandals are a better option, but don't wear them all day either.

5. Raw foods and salads, deli meats, soft cheeses, certain fish - If you love sushi, it'll have to take a backseat when you're pregnant. Raw seafoods are just too risky to eat when you have a growing baby in your tummy. You never know when harmful bacteria might be present in them. Same goes for raw salads, processed meats (which pose a risk of getting listeriosis), certain types of cheese (such as brie and blue cheese) and fish that are high in mercury like mackerel, swordfish and tuna - better to avoid these rather than risk getting sick and affecting your health and the health of the baby.

6. Caffeine and Herbal Teas - I like drinking coffee almost everyday, but when I'm expecting, I try to avoid it as much as possible (and no, I'm not expecting at the time of this writing hehe). Some doctors allow drinking coffee once in a while, but remember, coffee makes your stomach acidic too so if you drink some it'll contribute to heartburn! Herbal teas are also not recommended at this time so just to be safe, avoid it.

    Although not on my numbered list (because I consider it a no-brainer) - alcohol, smoking, drugs and the like should obviously be avoided if you want what's best for you and your baby.

       I know there are a lot more that should have been included in this list but I just focused on the major ones - at least for me. You can always consult books or check online for more info ;)


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