Healthy pregnancy and beyond – All that you should know

by Suditsha Sanyal

Expert 01Parenthood is a beautiful and blessed experience for a couple. It brings exuberance, hope, dreams but at the same time comes with its own set of apprehensions.

This post has been written followed by a webinar hosted by Himalaya FOR MOMS on healthy pregnancy by renowned gynecologist Dr. Hema Divakar talking about various issues like prepartum, post-partum, good health and exercises.

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During the webinar on Himalaya BabyCare’s Facebook page, renowned consultant obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Hema Divakar addressed a lot of such issues and allayed most of the fears. At the outset, she stressed the importance for a couple to visit the doctor before they think of starting a family – simply because in a lot of cases pre-pregnancy medicines like Folic Acid need to be prescribed.

Obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, anemia, thalassemia, BMI (Body Mass Index) related problems and a lot of similar issues owing to our sedentary lifestyle play an adverse role while conceiving. Dr. Divakar emphasized the importance of maintaining a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI), which should lie between 23 to 30. High BMI is a hindrance to a healthy pregnancy and increases the chances of abortion, premature delivery, and malformed babies.

Similarly, she spoke on the importance of maintaining proper hemoglobin levels, which should also not be less than 11.5. In a case of lesser levels, iron tablets, jaggery, beet root, chikkis made of jaggery and ground peanut can be taken.

It is also crucial to visit the doctor after missing the period date. Dr. Divakar said that there are a lot of hormonal changes on the account of a pregnancy and the indicative symptoms are itchiness, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting.

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While talking about the pregnancy period, Dr. Divakar mentioned that the concept of eating for two no longer exists. It is imperative to keep a tab on one’s weight and hence a normal walk of 15-20 minutes daily is often advised.

She also addressed concerns about PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), delays in periods – which is often due to hormonal imbalance, obesity, extra fat cells, diabetes, stress, hectic travel and abruptly stopping exercises and discussed on the complications associated with thalassemia minor issue. Haemoglobin Electrophoresis is a test which is performed on thalassemia patient during pregnancy to detect whether the offspring will be a thalassemia minor or a major. Husband’s thalassemia levels should also be diagnosed simultaneously.

Dr. Divakar went on to explain the rapid growth of diabetes in India.  During the webinar, I was quite shocked to know that India is ranked second to China in terms of diabetic patients. India has a population of 70 million diabetic patients out of which half of them are women. Factors like obesity and junk food have contributed largely to the burgeoning number of diabetic patients in India. Apart from this she also answered questions from attendees about painless delivery and VBAC (Vaginal Delivery after C-Section).

Talking about the post pregnancy phase, Dr. Divakar stressed on the difficult post-partum phase, which can be very strenuous for the mother as well as the child. The baby seeks a lot of attention in this period and it can become a daunting task for the new mom to adapt to the new lifestyle from feeding, nursing and caring for the newborn, to getting back to shape and gaining her strength back.

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One of the most common woes is the stretch marks caused by dryness and itchiness around the belly area. According to Dr. Divakar, the best way to cope up with this is to moisturize it with a cream made of cocoa butter. Nowadays these creams are readily available off the shelf in India.

She further added that calcium, iron and protein supplements should be continued for three months consequently to regain the necessary strength and energy. For getting back into shape, regular exercises should be done and toning of the body is very important to bring back the firmness after childbirth. Toning massage oil can be very effective for this purpose.

Breastfeeding is another challenge faced by new moms in the post-partum phase. Breast feeding your little one, which is of paramount importance, can become troublesome if the nipples are cracked. Dr. Divakar stated that the best way to make the nipples soft and supple is by applying butter or coconut oil.

It was really an enriching experience to hear from Dr. Hema Divakar, allaying all fears and addressing all queries with utmost care. She signed off by mentioning that the first week of August is ‘Breastfeeding Week’ and there will be campaigns on issues regarding it. So if there are any queries regarding breast feeding you have, head over to the Himalaya BabyCare’s Facebook page and ask away.

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