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Routine antenatal care in Pregnancy

So, the 2 lines on the pregnancy rest finally appear….. You are pregnant; congratulations and welcome to the antenatal journey.

It is a good idea to consult a gynecologist as soon as you miss your period and not wait till 3 months are over, as believed earlier, because certain precautions as detailed by her can prevent miscarriages, if they are not inevitable.

Always remember that pregnancy is a normal, healthy and physiological change of the woman’s body and unless, there are any high risk factors, you must continue your routine, in fact, make it a healthier one!

  1. Have an active lifestyle

In the first 3 months of pregnancy, avoid any unnecessary exertion. Routine activities, including work can be comfortably continued. Wear comfortable clothing, avoid tight fitting undergarments. Avoid high heels and wear well-fitting shoes.

Sex is fine once the 6 weeks scan confirms all is well Due to change in hormones in a pregnant woman’s body, her sexual urges may be altered, and her partner will have to bear with them!

A regular walk at a normal to brisk pace is fine; however aggressive gyming or weights should be avoided. Swimming can be continued as it is a balanced exercise and extremely safe.

Climbing stairs are also fine at a steady pace with breaks in between as you may feel breathless in early pregnancy. The walk – exercise routine can be supplemented with yoga, aerobics, Pilates (specific for pregnancy) and you can join a pregnancy exercise programme, which is available at birthing centers and hospitals.

  1. Eat Healthy

In pregnancy, the calorie requirements increases only by 350 calories or so, which is there in a glass of milk, so never ever does the pregnant girl need to eat for 2; in fact she should be eating healthier and watching her diet as she would not want to gain extra weight in pregnancy. A healthy weight gain for an average weight girl would be 10-12 kg, and in the first trimester, due to nausea, there may be no weight gain and even a loss. Anyway, at that time, the baby receives its nutrition from the yolk sac, much like the yellow of an egg. Only after 3 months, the nutrition is completely dependent on the mom, via the placenta.

So, small frequent, balanced meals need to be taken care of. Every 3-4 hours, she should eat something in small portions so that nausea and cravings are kept in bay.

The diet should be balanced include sources of high proteins, vitamins, calcium & minerals. So, dals, mils & milk products, soya, eggs, chicken, fish, nuts fruits and vegetables should be included routinely.

Avoid chemicals like MSG and artificial sweeteners. Smoking and alcohol is a strict no-no, although a celebratory glass of wine, once in a while is acceptable. 8-12 glasses of water, coconut water and other natural fluids daily are required. Avoid chemical laden drink too as well as fruit juices better to take fruits and fiber.

  1. Supplementation

In any pregnancy, supplementation is required as the diet can’t make up for the complete nutrient spectrum. In the first trimester, folic acid supplementation is essential to prevent neural tube defects in the baby. By 3 months of pregnancy, iron and calcium is added. Omega 3 fatty acids & DHA essential for brain, eyes & nerve development started in pregnancy are continued through lactation. Vitamin D is also given in case of deficiency. Protein supplementation by whey protein powders may be given.

  1. Investigations

Pregnancy heralds a number of tests, from the BHCG or hormonal pregnancy test, blood group of both partners, blood sugar, thyroid test, thalassemia profile, rubella status along with HIV, Hepatitis B and C screening.

Tests to rule out chromosomal abnormalities like DOWN SYNDROME, Trisomy 13 and 18 are done in 2nd trimester. Some screening tests are repeated in 3rd trimester.

Ultrasound for fetal wellbeing is completely safe in pregnancy. The first ultrasound is done as soon as you visit the doctor to see the localization of the gestation sac and the fetal cardiac activity. Routine ultrasounds are recommended after this scan at 12 weeks (NT & NB scan), 20 weeks (Level II scan), 32 weeks (fetal wellbeing scan) and at 36-37 weeks pregnancy.

With this overview of care in pregnancy, you should be ready for a comfortable delivery and a healthy baby.

The antenatal period is definitely a beautiful time in a woman’s life, and with good and expert supervision will always be a memoral experience.

Dr. Meenakshi Ahuja
Director, Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Fortis LaFemme

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