Category: Pregnancy Care
Pregnancy, regardless of how the baby is conceived, is the most beautiful thing in the world. You have a life growing inside you, and so you have to do whatever it takes to keep it healthy. The best way you can do that is by having great eating plans during your whole pregnancy.
You can ask your doctor about it, and they can attest to the importance of eating healthy for you and the child in your womb. As you know, you are your baby’s only source of nutrition, so everything you ingest will be given to him or her, too. If you keep on eating a burger, ice cream, and bag of chips, your baby will get a minimal amount of nutrients, which is not good at all. Even though a pregnant woman is said to be allowed to eat whatever she wants, you should be your food police and try to eat healthier foods than crappy ones.
Here are some tips on how to be healthy during your pregnancy.
Embrace Your Weight
It is quite impossible during pregnancy not to gain weight; that’s why you should embrace it and eat whenever you feel hungry. However, try not to do it to the point that you cannot breathe anymore or digest your meal. Your breakfast should be your heaviest meal, especially if you are still working. This way, you and your baby both have enough energy for most of the morning. After that, consume fruits, leafy vegetables, and dairy products in two-hour intervals to keep your hunger satiated.
According to Alexis Conason, Psy.D, “ Policing women’s bodies during pregnancy is not working. Our singular obsession with weight comes at the expense of health. Pregnancy is a vulnerable time for women, one in which we need support from our health professionals to accept our changing bodies, minimize stress, and work towards holistic wellbeing. Health is about so much more than the numbers on the scale.”
Stay Away From Junk Foods
Like I have said earlier, crappy or junk food is bad for your baby. Try to eat less of that; if you can, avoid buying it totally and concentrate on nutritious food. Remember that things are different this time, considering you are no longer eating for yourself now. There is another life depending on you, and you have to make great food choices so that your child will be born healthy. There have been cases before of irresponsible pregnant women whose babies have come out with congenital problems, and you surely do not want that to happen.
According to Associate Professor Felice Jacka,Ph.D, researcher at the IMPACT Strategic Research Center at Deakin University, “unhealthy and ‘junk’ foods may have an impact on the risk for mental health problems in children, and they add to the growing body of evidence on the impact of unhealthy diets on the risk for depression, anxiety and even dementia.”
Aside from junk food, stay away from carbonated drinks since they contain lots of sugar that you do not need. Water is what you should drink because it is neutral and helps flush out all the dirt in your body.
Working out is essential even when for expectant mothers. If you have a delicate pregnancy, then it will be best if you skip it altogether. But if everything is going well for you, you can do light exercises that will not shake your womb too much.
According to Dr. Raul Artal, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at St. Louis University “Pregnancy should not be looked at as a state of confinement. In fact, it is an ideal time for lifestyle modification.”
Walking and yoga are a couple of things that you can try. I know that pregnancy can make you sleepy all day, but you sometimes have to fight the urge to stay in bed and move around the house a bit to keep your blood flowing. Besides, being physically fit can make your birthing experience so much better.
Being pregnant is what a lot of women — if not all — wish to experience someday. If you are expecting at this moment, take good care of your child by eating healthy during and even after your pregnancy. If it is not a hassle, take time a moment to visit BetterHelp.com for more inspiring articles. You will find a lot of helpful tips there that can ensure not only your physical, but also your mental and emotional health as well.
I am writing this blog after reading a book that a friend-slash-aspiring-writer sent to me. As technically her “senior” in the field, she wanted me to be the first person to see it. Of course, I gladly accepted it and opened the book without even reading its description.
The story revolved around mafia romance. The heroine was forced to marry a cruel crime lord, and his mortal enemy saved her from him. After all their struggles, the villain died, and the main characters had a happy ending.
The book was entirely fictional, although the locations mentioned could genuinely serve as a house to mafias. It was not supposed to be relatable for me because I’m not even acquainted to a gang member. However, while reading, I felt the pain and happiness of the characters. I cried when they cried, I got mad when they were infuriated, and I felt content when the main characters found love. Simply put, the writer’s words managed to touch my soul.
Yes, reading good books does that to you. You may not foresee how lucky you are for having one in front of you, but it will occur to you soon when there are no more pages left. That is the therapeutic effect of reading that no amount of massages and medication can mirror. Holly Parker, PhD, wrote, “In a 2018 study, researchers reviewed experiments on the effect of reading fiction. They found that it modestly improves people’s capacity to understand and mentally react to other individuals and social situations. And by and large, that was after reading a single story.”
If you are pregnant, reading is one of the hobbies that you can pick up as well. I know that violence-related books may not be the best ones to read at the moment, but there are a lot of parenting and self-help options that you can find. “Educate yourself,” suggests Alice Boyes, PhD. “What’s important will depend on your personality and needs. For example, if you’re an anxious overachiever you’ll need to learn skills tailored to that.”
Doing so will allow you to:
Great authors have the power to pull you into a different world that they have created in their books. It is an effective trick to get away from the people or tasks that stress you out. Thus, instead of putting your baby in distress, you can crack your favorite book and read for as long as you need.
Improve Your Memory
Considering you are among the expectant mothers who experience brain fog, you may like to know that reading can improve your memory. When you do this activity, after all, it will be impossible for you not to remember at least a tiny portion of the book. And the more you read, the more your memory can function.
Find Inner Peace
A book can give you inner peace, especially if you get the ones that hold the answer to your worries. For instance, in case you know nothing about being a mother, you can read child-rearing books. If you are afraid of childbirth, you can read about that, too.
Bond With Your Unborn Child
Reading out loud is recommended when you are pregnant, too. At a particular stage, the baby in your womb will be able to hear you, so it will be excellent if you can read to them. It can serve as an early bonding moment between you and your unborn child.
Reading is among the most valuable activities that you can try, dear momma. It can also feed your soul, which is something that not a lot of hobbies can do. Pick up a book that you are interested in to understand what I’m talking about. Hobbies such as reading are a huge deal, and according to Jaime L. Kurtz, PhD, “These activities are more than merely distracting. They remind you that that are many facets to your self-concept.”
When I was pregnant with my first child, the things I could do were minimal. In the morning, I would walk around the house for 15 minutes before breakfast. That would serve as my exercise to keep my feet from swelling. After lunch, I would nap for an hour and then take a quick shower. Once dinnertime’s over, my husband and I would do a movie marathon at night and fall asleep that way. In short, life’s good for the momma.
During one of those lazy nights, I came across a not-so-old movie called Enchanted. It’s about a princess from a fairy tale who winded up in the real world (in New York, to be specific). She’s a very musical person, in the sense that she would always sing and sometimes even dance. The animals loved her as well. But what stuck with me while watching the movie was the lyrics, “How does she know you love her?”
I got that the song was about romantic love, but it still made me wonder how I could express my feelings for my unborn child. I heard that the babies in the womb could hear at a certain point, but it was not enough to show my love.
In case you are looking for a way to do the same, let me share to you the things I did.
Take Care Of Yourself
The ultimate expression of love towards your unborn son or daughter is taking care of yourself 24/7. After all, you are connected to your baby. Besides, it is your responsibility as a mother to carry them to full term to lessen the infant’s chances of developing congenital diseases.
Get Rid Of Stressors
Remember that your baby will feel every emotion that you will have. If you are happy, they may be dancing and kicking around in your belly. In case you always feel sad, though, the child will also be in distress. For this reason, you need to cut ties with the people or activities that stress you out.
Practice mindfulness during pregnancy. According to Kristen Scarlett, LMHC, “Practicing awareness around your thoughts and feelings is an important skill for anyone, not just expectant mothers. While meditation and mindfulness may not combat severe symptoms, learning to tune into your thoughts and feelings may help you cope.”
“Our study suggests that expecting mothers can have major impact on the long-term metabolic health of their children by properly controlling nutrition during this critical developmental period of the offspring,” says Tamas Horvath, DVM, PhD, of the Yale University School of Medicine.
Sticking to healthy meals is another way to show your love for your son or daughter. As mentioned earlier, anything that you feel, your baby will feel, too. The same idea goes for the foods that you eat – whatever you ingest; they can taste as well. Considering you don’t want the unborn child to taste junk food yet and get no nutrition from it. Therefore, you need to eat healthily.
Rest Some More
You can tell from the introduction how much rest I was getting when I was pregnant. After thinking about expressing my love for my baby, though, I made sure to feel more relaxed. In truth, I started doing meditation and pregnancy yoga. “Studies on the effects during pregnancy of the combination of yoga and tai chi, and yoga and massage therapy, have also revealed positive impacts on parents-to-be,” wrote Ann Diamond Weinstein, PhD.
I would get massages as well to relieve my aching muscles. These were the simple measures I could take to guarantee that my unborn baby’s having a great time and growing well in my womb.
Loving your son or daughter more than anything in the world before even meeting him or her is not a sin. It is a natural feeling that you get when you know that you are about to come full circle because of their arrival. Thus, don’t hesitate to do everything in your power so that the baby knows how loved they are from the start.
As a woman who has experienced becoming a mother twice, I can tell you that the fluctuating hormonal level is not the only reason why expectant moms get super emotional, to the extent that their husbands or parents want to take them to a therapist. Some couples, after all, are not blessed with a stable source of income, so the mommy-to-be cannot help but wonder how they are going to feed and clothe their child without having to rely on charity. Other women who have had to split with the father of their baby before even giving birth may still be hurting emotionally because of their fate or feeling afraid of having to raise a kid on their own.
I am pretty sure that you have heard of what I am about to say a hundred times, but I will tell you again: stop worrying so much about everything. You may not have enough money to support your child through college, but you should let the man in the house think of how to provide for the family. You may be a single mom, but there’s no doubt that you have friends or relatives who do not mind serving as your financial crutch and confidante while you are in no position to work overtime to make money for your unborn kid. Your main priority at this point should be your health because your child is dependent on your every move to survive.
There’s no question about you wanting to have a healthy baby now, so here’s what you should do to make sure it happens.
1. Eat Healthily
Considering you already know that what you eat will somehow reach the child in your womb, you need to start being mindful of everything you ingest. I understand that you have some cravings and that pregnancy is one of the excuses that women use when they try to justify their detachment to a healthy lifestyle. However, you still need to maintain a balanced diet to make sure that you and your baby get all the nutrients you need. This will allow you to have more energy to carry your child to full term.
2. Take Prenatal Vitamins
Although you eat healthily three or four times a day, the reality is that you may still not be able to get all the vitamins and minerals that your body require to stay strong. For one, there is no way to guarantee how much iron, folic acid, and vitamin B and C you are getting with every spoonful of food. When you are dealing with morning sickness, you may not have the capacity as well to keep everything you eat in your stomach. Thus, you should ask your OB-GYN if he or she can prescribe prenatal vitamins to you that will supply the nutrients that you hardly get from your food.
3. Stay As Fit As Possible
Being pregnant and having a round belly does not entail that you can turn your back on exercising. In truth, a lot of medical experts say that working out regularly is essential if you want to deliver your baby in a normal way. Jennifer S. Haas, MD, and her team from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston”, reported, “Lack of exercise was strongly and consistently associated with poor health status before, during, and after pregnancy.”
Some fitness coaches have managed to put together a series of exercises that expectant mothers can do without worrying about their tummies getting squished. And if your pregnancy is too delicate for you to try moving too much, you can simply walk inside the house for at least five minutes and count that as your workout for the day.
4. Relax Your Body And Mind
When I say you need to relax your body and mind, I don’t mean that you should spend your entire day watching TV or munching on chips without a care in the world. You can look for a wellness center that offers massages to pregnant women, you see. That will help you deal with your tired legs and feet and make you feel pampered. If you do not want to spend to get some R&R, you merely have to try to the full for eight hours. This way, you can feel well-rested every day.
According to Ann Diamond Weinstein, PhD, “Finding healthy ways to reduce stress is an essential part of optimizing the health of mothers-to-be and the development of their babies from conception through the postnatal period.”
5. Don’t Stress Over Anything
Stress can do nothing but put you and your unborn child in danger. You may not be in the ideal situation now to avoid it, but you should try anyway. Neither of you deserves to have your lives at risk just because you have allowed stressful things or people to affect you.
Should you need professional help, you can always consult with a therapist. “Working one-on-one with a trained therapist can be a critical method for overcoming negative thoughts and feelings — during pregnancy and any other time in life,” wrote Kristen Scarlett, LMHC.
Being able to carry a baby in your womb is a blessing. A lot of women undergo different medical procedures to increase their chances of getting pregnant while you are already in that state. So, love yourself, take care of your unborn kids, and stop overthinking about the rest. Good luck!
The “baby blues” is a widespread occurrence for mothers who have just given birth. Psychology and biology play a role in the sadness and lethargy felt during the first few weeks after carrying a child. However, roughly one in ten mothers develop a more severe condition called postpartum depression, which can be enough to affect their daily activities significantly. Postpartum depression can strike anyone who recently had a child, and it is something everyone should take seriously. However, it can be managed and treated. Knowing what it is and how to defend against it will go a lot towards easing your transition from pregnancy to child-rearing. Origins Of Postpartum Depression Many factors influence the chances of becoming significantly depressed after giving birth. One main reason is biological, involving fluctuating hormone levels that occur within the first few days after childbirth. The amount of progesterone and estrogen circulating in the body increases during pregnancy, however, these levels drastically drop after birth, and experts believe that this can cause severe mood disturbances that contribute to depression.
Psychological factors also play a role. Mothers exposed to other stressors, such as being financially challenged, are more likely to develop the condition. A family history of depression or anxiety can also increase the risk. “Some factors that may place women at a higher risk for postpartum depression include low social support, history of depression or anxiety, and pregnancy or birth complications,” explains Lindsay Henderson, PsyD.
Finally, the act of caring for a newborn can be a significant factor. A newborn needs almost constant care and supervision, even during nighttime. Caring for such a young infant can take its toll on the parents, as they are forced to sacrifice their time to take care of their child. Mothers typically lose a lot of sleep during the first few weeks after giving birth, which can reduce their ability to resist the adverse effects of stress.
Symptoms And Effects The symptoms of postpartum depression are the combined effects of depression and general fatigue as a result of pregnancy and childbirth. Some of the more common symptoms are the following:
- mood swings
- lack of appetite
- consistent feelings of uselessness
- withdrawal from loved ones
- overwhelming feelings of sadness and anxiety
- frequent panic attacks
- thoughts of self-harm and suicide
If left untreated, postpartum depression can progress to postpartum psychosis, a severe condition where the patient loses touch with reality. This complication can endanger the lives of both the patient and other people around them.
Properly Dealing With Postpartum Depression Postpartum depression can be dangerous for mothers. Fortunately, there are many available methods to prevent or manage this mental condition. One of the most important steps is to get enough rest. Taking care of a newborn is exhausting, which is why you need as much rest as possible. Stress-induced by lack of rest only adds to your mental burdens. A well-balanced diet is also vital to supply enough nutrients to keep your mind and body at top condition. You may also have to avoid certain foods, such as drinks that have alcohol and caffeine. These psychoactive substances can drastically alter your mood, making you more emotionally unstable.
Exercise is another way to stave off depressive tendencies. Physical activity raises levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that elevates mood. Any form of movement, even something as simple as household chores, will help maintain physical and mental health. “I recommend starting light exercises like yoga early in postpartum period and to leave the house once a day for fresh air,” says Susan Park, MD.
You should also take the opportunity to bond closer with your spouse and your child. Social bonding also serves to lift your mood. Having someone to rely on also helps you cultivate a social support network, which is another defense against mental health disorders. “It doesn’t just affect moms. It’s a familial disease,” says Christina Hibbert, PsyD.
Depending on where you are comfortable, you might want to limit your social interactions to people who are close to you. This method may be useful in reducing social anxiety, which can aggravate your condition. However, feel free to contact your friends and loved ones, as well as to ask for their support. There might be days when you feel alright, as well as days when you feel awful. You should understand that this is normal, as postpartum depression does not manifest equally on all days. Some mothers think that this is a bad sign, and their worry contributes further to their high-stress levels. Avoid unnecessary fear by acknowledging that your condition will continuously change throughout the days.
Finally, do not hesitate and be afraid to ask for help. Postpartum depression does not go away on its own, and you will need professional health services to conquer this disease. You may be required to take medication and asked to attend counseling sessions. As long as you stick to your treatment plan, you will be able to prevent this condition from wreaking havoc on your life.
My husband and I got married last year, and I could say that it was the most magical thing that ever happened to me. But now I don’t know if nothing can top that feeling – because I’m just less than two weeks away from delivering our first baby. And the anticipation, the anxiety, and the stress are killing me! This week, I decided to allow my husband to take his long-earned office leave to help me pack my hospital bag and to clean up the house, put things in a better place, and keep everything in order. The baby’s pink-colored room is clean and cute and just ready for little Chelsea to arrive. Her bassinet is right beside the window where I hung colorful dream catchers for her to see. I thought that everything was ready. I feel relatively good, considering the night pains and frequent contractions that have kept me stressed and a little anxious now and then. My husband and I can’t wait to welcome the baby into the world, and I can’t wait to get her out so we’ll both be free!
Lisa Chorzempa-Schainis, MD explains that “It’s normal to have some fears about childbirth. After all, so many things need to go right leading up to the delivery of a healthy baby. Expectant moms worry about having a safe birth without complications or too much pain.”
The Waiting Game The biggest part of our time from now until I deliver will be waiting for me to deliver, and little Chelsea inside me gets to decide when that is (well, except for the expected time for her to come out according to the doctor). The cramping is erratic. Sometimes it’s tolerable, and sometimes I feel like I want to pinch every inch of my stomach to stop the pain. But I think of my baby inside, and I imagine her crying and looking at me when she comes out, and my heart melts. So amidst the impatience, the frustration and the fear, my husband and I never forget to pray and say thanks for this special blessing and this life-changing event that’s about to happen to us. The back pain seems like forever when you sit or stand in waiting while carrying that big belly. The hips are getting sorer every day, and all I can do is take deep breaths and hot packs to relax. But I just keep in mind that I’ve got this – and I do – and I believe this more especially when I have my husband and my family and friends with me.
“It’s part excitement, part anticipation, and part pure fear of the unknown. But it’s also a time when some realistic concerns come to the forefront. And it can begin to feel a bit overwhelming, even for the calmest women,” says Laura Riley, MD.
The Start Of A New Life – Almost If you’re like me, you’d be telling everybody that your due date is coming very soon, but that’s not it. You want it to come soon, but the truth is, we can’t force our babies to come when we want them to. We have to wait for the right time for them to feel that ‘today is the day.’ And when that day comes, we have to be ready for them. When they’re ready, it means our bodies are ready. For now, appreciate the blessing. Feel the moment. Relax and pray for normal and smooth delivery. That’s what I’m doing. I’m counting the days until this cute baby adds up to our family tree and does amazing things that will make us proud.
Waiting For Labor Now that I’m nearing due date (or wishing I were), there are some activities that my obstetrician recommended me to do while I’m waiting for labor. So far, they’ve helped me relax, pass the time, and make my most awaited birth month a great one.
- Watch a movie with hubby. Yesterday, my husband and I watched the Avengers Infinity War, and then tomorrow we planned a movie date with our best friends – a love story. We decided to do the things that would be quite difficult to do when the baby is out.
- Go to the spa. I had the most rejuvenating mani/pedi and foot massage two days ago. My doctor said that I’d done an excellent job keeping my baby healthy, so I deserve some pampering.
- Do a cleanup. I had, of course. My hubby cleaned the windows, and I did the floor. It was a good exercise for my abdominal muscles, only that it should be done slowly.
- Start working on the baby scrapbook. I’m almost done with my pregnancy journal, and I plan to start on Chelsea’s baby book. The first thing that I’ll do is to write a letter to my unborn baby and then ask help from my friends decorating the book. It brings a smile to my face and gets rid of my anxiety.
- Walk around the neighborhood and get loads of sunlight. It’s good for you and the baby, plus the walking gets you energized and ready for the delivery. According to Susan Biali Haas M.D., “Exercise is also fantastic for healing an anxious brain and discharging physical tension from worries.”
All these activities have been helping me manage my pregnancy symptoms, and the anticipation of Chelsea’s coming out. How about you? Do you have anything new to share about your labor and delivery? Share it with me!
My husband and I are trying to get pregnant, and it has been our primary goal over the past few years. Sadly, I can’t stop being sad about it because I feel like it’s been a long time that I expect a result. The pressure, depression, and anxiety, all lead to me having a mental health breakdown. I could not imagine anything else rather than getting pregnant at this point. Each month that the pregnancy test turns negative, it adds more emotional and mental damage. Not only does it affect me, but also my husband as well. But even though that’ is the case, we still hope and feel excited about it. My husband and I are always striving and doing our best to live a healthy lifestyle to allow us a better chance of getting a baby. Unfortunately, up until now, chances are still low. “Your body is smart, it knows that (periods of stress) aren’t good times to have a baby,” says Alice Domar, PhD.
The Pressure I have read an article at BetterHelp that one thing that triggers the mental health issue of this pressure of not getting pregnant is my age. I’m not getting any younger. I do believe that the more I add some years in my life, the harder for me to bear a child. My body is sometimes giving up on me, and I know for a fact that it’s normal. That at a certain point in my life, I know I am not as healthy and active like the way I was before. So I would say that I can expect the unexpected. Another thing that contributes to mental health damage is the people around me. The constant questioning of “when will I bear a child” is killing me every day. I often get uncomfortable with these people asking me about the same question over and over again every time they had the opportunity to see me. And although I already told them not to pressure me, they still give me tons of unsolicited advice that are unmanageable.
“Give yourself permission to handle the questions in the way that makes you feel most comfortable. That could mean avoiding the question, educating your loved ones, or being honest with them.” Georgia Witkin Ph.D. advised.
I feel depressed and sad all the time. That’s because a lot of my friends are already happy with their kids. Though I seldom wish not to have the kind of pressure they experience as a mom, I somehow envy them for that. I want to experience what it feels like to take care of my little child, cuddle with him, and hold him in my arms. Well, I’m not pathetic, I’m just hopeful I guess.
The reason why it is also mentally damaging is due to the fear and anxiety of not being capable of bearing a child.
“Struggling to have a biological child is a complicated grief process because it’s often an invisible loss,” says Martha Diamond, PhD. “There are not rituals or public ways to honor these losses, and people often don’t talk about it. They feel like something is wrong with them, and these situations can deliver a painful blow to someone’s self-esteem.”
It’s not like I am in a situation where I should give up on trying conceiving. But I am at this point where I need to undergo specific medical procedures to be able to get the results I want. The only problem in this state is the “assurance” that will convince me that everything is entirely okay. Well, I hope it will. For me, taking care of myself also adds pressure. There are lots of adjustments I need to take. Though I already tried doing some of it, it somehow it feels not enough. I have this sense of urgency to change everything in my life only to get pregnant. With that, I feel like I’m becoming someone I’m not. I don’t find myself smiling and laughing anymore because my focus was to look for ways that will help me get pregnant. I get too obsessed about pregnancy and anything related to it.
With all the damages the pressure of getting pregnant is giving me, one is becoming the worst. The emotional and mental strain is making me lose my relationship. I love my husband more than anything in the world. But too much exhaustion, devastation, failed expectation, sadness, and isolation is ruining us apart. I can’t appear to do anything about it because I’m mentally drained already. With the greater hope of bearing a child, I know I have to make a lot of sacrifices. I need to undergo clinical processes that not all else does; only to make sure that everything can work according to my needs. Honestly, I don’t regret my decision of not having a child at an early age or maybe on a couple of years ago. However, giving all these pressure of getting pregnant, I think I am starting to feel that way. I am about to lose hope.
Pregnancy is special and often overwhelming for women who are diagnosed with existing heart disease. One crucial event that occurs during pregnancy is an increase in the work of the heart, which means that the heart must work double time. This becomes a dilemma for the expectant mom with heart disease. “With the presence of CVD [Cardiovascular Disease] in pregnant women posing a difficult clinical scenario in which the responsibility of the treating physician extends to the unborn fetus.”, Tamam N Mohamad, MD explains. She must also work hard and find ways to be able to provide sufficient effort to prevent further complications. Ultimately, pregnancy is a sensitive issue and something that needs much thought for the expectant mother and her family as well. Read more