Pregnancy is the time when a woman experiences the most joy and trepidation all rolled into one. While you would tread the road ahead cautiously and act meticulously on all the advice given to you, even with the best of knowledge and your honest efforts, you could make mistakes — albeit unknowingly. But worry not, here we tell you about those common mistakes and give you tips on damage control if you have already taken a few missteps.
You start eating for two: Women who are smart and have done their homework well while planning their pregnancy know that this is a myth. But eating for two is still the most common of all the mistakes that a pregnant woman makes. Now imagine this: Your daily calorie requirement is roughly between 1800 to 2000 calories. Do you really think that a tiny foetus 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. Unnecessarily piling up your plate with all the food that comes your way is not going to do you or your baby any good. 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 the 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.
Damage control tips: If you have been eating your heart out all this while citing pregnancy as an excuse, check your diet immediately. Remove all the excess food that your mother, sister or friend has advised you to eat and instead stick to three portions of fruits, stock on greens and raw vegetables and bank onnuts and eggs for the right kind of proteins. Go slow on sea foods, even if you are tempted. Sea foods can leads to certain infection in the stomach during your pregnancy that could lead to complications in your baby growth. 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.
You try to self medicate: Did you know that you are supposed to refrain from using antacids, paracetamol or even acne creams once you are pregnant? If not, then here’s what you need to know. Self medication can have adverse affect on your pregnancy. Also many beauty treatments can be harmful to the foetus. Using over the counter medications, self medicating or undergoing harsh beauty treatments could lead to congenital abnormalities in your baby. Many women also give their prenatal vitamins and iron medications a miss as they, at times, aggravate morning sickness.
Damage control tips: If you experience symptoms like acidity, headache or have breakouts all over your face and feel a need to attend to it, call your doctor for an appointment. 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.
You sleep inadequately: 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 good on 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.
Damage control tip: 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. Sleep deprivation post delivery can lead to postpartum depression and hinder the all important mother-baby bonding. So sleep well during your pregnancy and know that oversleeping is not recommended.
You miss out on bonding with 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 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.
Damage control tip: Did you engage in enough baby bump talk lately? If not, then put a hand on your belly and while gently caressing it, talk to your baby. Experts say that this does wonders for your baby and the earlier a mother-to-be starts, the better. Paying attention to your baby bump helps you bond with your baby and stimulates your 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.
You give up on comfort foods altogether: If you have a sweet tooth it’s a good practice to limit your sweet intake a little after the second trimester — a time when you will start craving for your comfort foods. Putting a check on your sweet intake will help you prevent the chances of suffering from gestational diabetes, but stressing yourself about not having a bite of your favorite sugary treat will only increase the anxiety levels in you. Which in turn can affect your baby’s well-being.
Damage control tip: Craving for something sweet? Give that sweet a miss and reach out for a bar of chocolate instead, but remember to do it in moderation. The same would be applicable for spicy and fried foods too.
You think daily wear and tear can substitute exercise: The benefits of exercise during pregnancy are known to everybody. But few will actually try to reap its benefits. 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 and residence or doing the usual household chores constitutes enough exercises to burn those extra calories. But not exercising during pregnancy can harm your body like no other. Exercise helps to combat stress hormones, boosts circulation, prepares the body for labour and delivery and helps in foetal growth and development. Remember daily wear and tear is no substitute for exercise.
Damage control tip: It is wise to 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.
You chose a hospital and a doctor without much research: If you are visiting your doctor and have made arrangements at a hospital because your friend or sister has had a great experience there, you are probably not making the right decision. Pregnancy is a time when you need special care, that is specific to you; what worked for others might not be what you need. Here are some things to consider: 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.