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CONCEPTION


“The magic of creating life, of reproduction is entrusted upon the feminine gender. It is a role at once, the most important and yet not a painless one. However, the sheer joy of bringing life into this world, the magic of creating life itself overshadows every pain.”

Congratulations, you are pregnant! Sorry for stating the obvious but we are quite as excited. Though we’re sure you must be overjoyed. In the midst of all the phone calling and informing everyone of the good news, you mustn’t forget to learn a little more since you are undertaking this journey for the first time. Like anything new, its best understood when you know more.

Here’s a little more about the glorious 9 month journey.

Acceptance :

The first step as in any new journey is acceptance. As exciting and happy as these times are, you must know that your physical and emotional state will be altered. Don’t let these things get to you for your own well-being. It’s all a part of the package. So accept these changes gladly and you’ll be on your way to a smoother pregnancy.

The first step as in any new journey is acceptance. As exciting and happy as these times are, you must know that your physical and emotional state will be altered. Don’t let these things get to you for your own well-being. It’s all a part of the package. So accept these changes gladly and you’ll be on your way to a smoother pregnancy.

Take Care of Yourself :

As cliché as it sounds, this simple advice is the most neglected one. You know how important your baby is to you. And so, before you neglect this simple advice, you must know that your body is the sole source of nutrients for your new born. Therefore you must treat your body well for your child’s well being. Your doctor will let you know of small tips and tricks to take better care of yourself. Be sure to follow these.

As cliché as it sounds, this simple advice is the most neglected one. You know how important your baby is to you. And so, before you neglect this simple advice, you must know that your body is the sole source of nutrients for your new born. Therefore you must treat your body well for your child’s well being. Your doctor will let you know of small tips and tricks to take better care of yourself. Be sure to follow these.

Sleep Patterns :

After your baby arrives, you will have countless sleepless nights. Just when you are running out of energy, your baby might need you. There is no remedy for this in the early stages and almost every mother goes through this. There is no alternative but to get as much sleep as you can, when you can. It is best that you try and sync your sleep pattern with that of your baby’s to ease the pressure.

Feeding :

Most first time mothers have plenty of questions about breast feeding. The first thing to remember is that initially your baby is solely dependent upon your breast milk for nourishment. The other plus point is that breast feeding is directly related to losing the baby fat that mothers usually gain. So, do not hesitate to breast feed your baby till the desired period.

The magic of creating life, of reproduction is entrusted upon the feminine gender. It is a role at once, the most important and yet not a painless one. However, the sheer joy of bringing life into this world, the magic of creating life itself overshadows every pain.

Every woman who is pregnant or wants to get pregnant will have many questions about pregnancy. No matter how well educated or how well read, the quest to get everything right never ends.

Pregnancy is the start of a wonderful journey. A wonderful moment and a wonderful feeling. Early signs of pregnancy may vary from person to person. Some experience almost all of the known pregnancy signs, while some others may only experience a few. Here are a few of the important signs for pregnancy:

Morning Sickness

Today, most women are aware of the connection between morning sickness (nausea) and pregnancy. At which stage does it occur? Morning sickness is one of the early pregnancy signs. It usually occurs after the preceding sign of breast tenderness. Depending on the body condition, this sign begins somewhere during the second week of your pregnancy. Nearly 60-70% of first time mothers experience these common signs, while some never do throughout their pregnancy.

Morning sickness is a common sign and this sign typically lasts for about three months (12 to 14 weeks).

Spotting/Missed Period

Though there are other reasons attributed to a missed period, pregnancy is the first thing that comes to mind when your expected period never turns. If you are expecting to conceive and notice a missed period, its time to do a pregnancy check. Before you buy a pregnancy test from a drug store, please ensure that you purchase a more sensitive brand to check the hCG (human Chorionic Gonadotropin) levels.

Spotting or bleeding is common during pregnancy. When women experience this during their early pregnancy, it usually sets off an alarm. Is this a real concern? Well, not really. This happens when the fertilized eggs squeeze through the wall of the uterus to implant itself. At this time the bleeding may vary in quantity and color. Sometimes it is mild (spotting) and sometimes it may be just like your normal monthly cycle (bleeding). The color will be from red to pink, or brown. So now that you know, there’s no need to panic when you experience these signs. These are just signs that confirm your pregnancy.

Fatigue :

Most women experience fatigue in the early stages of their pregnancy. One can’t call it a regular sign of pregnancy, but usually it occurs as the body requires more and more rest. Initially, as the body prepares for another life, it can be exhausting and demanding at the same time. It is advisable to get a good eight hours of sleep every night. A proper diet, good sleep and power naps are essential to recuperate energy.

Tender Breasts

This is another early sign of pregnancy which is hard to notice. Most women who experience this change, first assume it could be something else. Usually this sign occurs as early as 1-2 weeks after conception. The breasts swell and become tender to touch. The skin around the nipples (areolas) get darker.

Swollen breasts and skin darkening around the nipples are welcome signs of a successful conception.

Frequent Urination

You may find yourself running to the bathroom more often than before. Frequent urination is a common sign that occurs during the early stages of pregnancy. As the uterus grows it applies pressure on the bladder making urination more frequently necessary. Again, the urinary frequencies vary from person to person. For some it occurs only during the early stages of pregnancy, while for others it continues throughout their pregnancy.

Again, the urinary frequencies vary from person to person. For some it occurs only during the early stages of pregnancy, while for others it continues throughout their pregnancy.

Food Cravings

Cravings for food during early pregnancy is caused because your body starts to demand additional food for a new life. Most women experience food cravings during the early and later stages of pregnancy. Most cravings are for salty or spicy food. These cravings are usually strong so don’t fret if you go ravaging your kitchen at odd hours. It is just another sign of pregnancy.

Infertility is not just referred to the condition where a woman is unable to conceive, but also referred to the condition when a woman is unable to carry or complete her pregnancy to the full. Doctors define three different states of infertility. These are: Primary, secondary and sub-fertility.


Primary infertility is a condition where the couple/woman has never been able to conceive. Secondary infertility refers to the inability to carry out the full term of pregnancy or if the couple face difficulty in conceiving after having conceived earlier. When a couple’s fertility goes down for a year or so, the condition is termed as Sub-fertility.



PREGNANCY


“Now that you know a little more about pregnancy, you can rest easy. Here are a few more tips to help you get on your way to a healthier baby.”

Stages of Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a wonderful journey and as your baby grows, you will go through many emotional and physical changes. A typical pregnancy runs for over 40 weeks and is divided into three parts called trimesters. During pregnancy in these three trimesters a woman exhibits important signs and physical changes which help in creating a 40 week calendar to monitor the growth of a baby.

Here’s a look at how these trimesters are classified and the different stages and changes over the 3 trimesters.

First Trimester – The initial stage is usually received with mixed emotions. Women start finding it difficult to cope with day to day work and there is an increase in fatigue levels. The mixed emotions has elation on one side due to the joy of becoming a mother while on the other hand, the initial changes to your body maybe frustrating.

The First trimester is important because it is at this stage that most of the development takes place. As a mother you should take extra precautions and avoid developing any complications at this stage, as the fetus is still very vulnerable.

Second Trimester – Most women cherish this stage as they get to enjoy pregnancy without showing the baby bump. This trimester starts around the 13th week and goes on till the 25th week. It is at this stage, that you begin to feel your baby move inside you. Your breasts will continue to grow. Morning sickness, the frustrating nausea and other such symptoms from the first trimester will begin to subside. However,  on the down side, you will be more prone to back aches and dizziness.

Third Trimester – By the third trimester, you would get used to the usual pregnancy hardships. You would also have picked up your own unique tips and tricks in handling the baby growing inside you. This is the time also when you get to your biggest. It is important to keep track of your weight regularly to be healthier. In this trimester the baby’s growth slows down and the babies get ready to enter this world.

Birthing – A Beautiful Process

Giving birth to a new life is miraculous, a beautiful journey. Due to medical advancements over the years, giving birth to a child naturally, that is without any medical intervention is considered a bit scary. But most people fail to realize that a woman’s body is built for natural childbirth.

The power of yoga is world renowned. There is a strong reason why yoga is recommended during the course of pregnancy. Studies show that yoga helps in making your body adapt to the changes and thereby have a faster, safer and a delivery that’s overall less painful.

Due to the increasing weight of your tummy, there is more pressure on your pelvic region, lower back and abdomen. If you are already practicing yoga, this will be a breeze. However, if you are not, here are a few basic yoga asanas to get started with. One can also learn more through classes and there are plenty of recommended books too.

Trikonasana : Helps in strengthening hamstrings, groin, hips, and legs.

Konasana (Cobbler’s pose) : For opening of hips and groin.

Ardha Chandrasana (Half-moon) : Strengthening of ankles and thighs.

Yoga helps one to rejuvenate the body and keeps it supple and active. Practicing yogasanas and breathing techniques for years can assure scores of benefits for both body and mind.

Natural Birthing

It is interesting to see why only a few women these days, opt for natural birthing. Earlier women didn’t have much in terms of choices while giving birth. Typically they had to rely on natural birthing and midwives. Every house or neighbourhood has midwives, or an experienced helping hand to help deliver the baby. As medical advancements grew, it gave way to other delivery options and choices. However, even today the practice is still in use and more people are slowly leaning towards natural birthing.

Fear is also a factor – Most women know that giving birth to a baby is painful and this fear makes them paranoid. This leads to them believing that without medical intervention, one cannot have a painless delivery.  According to a recent survey only 14% of women are okay with giving birth naturally, without using pain killers or anesthesia. Though it is now common knowledge that a natural birth keeps the mother and baby healthier.

Preparation is the key – no shortcuts. Natural birthing requires a lot of preparation, knowledge about natural birthing and confidence to go through with it. The first and foremost advice given to women is to breathe easy. Giving into the situation with confidence, while breathing easy despite the pain, will lead to a successful and smooth delivery with a healthy child.

Today, despite having top-class facilities and medical aid, even celebrities are opting for natural birthing. It may not be the easiest but definitely the best when possible.

Caesarean

As much as medical sciences have developed, so has complications. The safer bet during any complication is a caesarean. Many women opt for this to prevent further complications or any problems. However it is good to know more before opting for a caesarean delivery.

There are various factors considered before going in for a caesarean delivery, like:

  • If the baby is in a breech position, it becomes difficult to come out naturally from the mother’s womb.
  • If the baby is already in a complicated position and has to be removed immediately.
  • If the baby is too big to slide through the pelvic passage and come out of its mother’s womb.
  • When the mother is unable to bear the pain during a natural birth or has any kind of vaginal infection that could harm both the mother and the baby.
  • Dystocia is a single medical term used to describe all the common labor problems that occur during delivery.

There are two types of caesarean operations:

  • Cervical – Vertical or horizontal cut in lower uterus.
  • Classical – Vertical incision made in the main body of the uterus.

Cervical caesarean is the most widely opted form of surgery as it lowers the chances of hemorrhage and it also reduces rupturing in later pregnancies.

In the classical caesarean, a vertical cut is made down the centre of the thick upper section of the uterus. The blood loss is higher in this type of operation and it also takes more time to heal. The main disadvantage of this is that the uterus is likely to get ruptured leading to complications in future pregnancies.

The caesarean cut is done at the lower abdomen. Before the surgery the mother is given epidural shots, which makes her body numb waist down, so they don’t feel any pain and they can see their baby as it is delivered.

Mothers usually recover from a caesarean delivery in four days to a week. The mother will be able to move around freely in three to four weeks time.

VBAC (Vaginal Birth after Caesarean)

VBAC confuses most mothers. It is believed that giving vaginal birth after caesarean ruptures the existing uterine scar. However, this is not proved and the reported risk is less than 1 %.

Going for a second time caesarean further increases the risk of harming yourself and the baby. In most cases mothers who opt for repeat caesarean are prone to risks like: adhesions, chronic pain, maternal infection, intestinal obstruction, placental problems and caesarean scar ectopic pregnancy.

A planned VBAC is safer than most women think. There is good evidence to support the VBAC recommendation, when its success rate stands at 60-80%. Consult your doctor for a safe planned Vaginal Birth after caesarean.

Sex & Relationships

Is it safe or not? Every expectant mother would mull over this at some point during her pregnancy. The common fear is that having sex during pregnancy would harm the baby or lead to a miscarriage. There is no known evidence that sex harms a woman during her pregnancy. Inside the womb, the baby is well-protected by the muscular wall of the uterus. However, there are certain times where couples are adviced to refrain from sex, to be safer.

There is no harm in having gentle, loving sex. It should also be noted that many women tend to lose interest and experience a fluctuation in their desire for sex during pregnancy. They are predominantly pre occupied with other issues regarding pregnancy. It is always better to consult your doctor on these questions regarding sex because it may vary from person to person.

Many couples enjoy good sex during their pregnancy, but towards the end of the pregnancy, there tends to be more doubts. One common question is – will intercourse, arousal or orgasms trigger labor? Well, not really. Arousal and orgasms do create mild contractions, but it is not strong enough to trigger labor.

Positions Matter

When it comes to sex you realize that you can’t do things you used to do when you were not pregnant. Now that you are bearing another life inside you, your baby bump restricts your movements and flexibility. However there are some sexual positions that ease access and will allow you to carry on.

The Spoon Position : The most common and comfortable position during pregnancy. The man and woman lie side by side facing the same direction, with the man directly behind the woman.  The position refers to two spoons sidled together. This position is the most preferred for women who are in their mid-to-late pregnancy periods. It is a considerably safe position where the partner can refrain from resting his whole body on the baby bump.

Woman on Top : This position gives the woman complete control. Her whole weight is rested upon her partner where she has the freedom to control the level of thrusting and penetration. This position helps her be in control and therefore safer as she knows when to stop and when to proceed.

Sitting Position : This position is similar to the woman-on-top position but with a difference. The man sits on a chair or on the edge of the bed and the woman sits on him either facing him or facing away, taking control of the speed and depth of the thrust. Her partner can also give her support during intercourse. While the woman faces away, the baby bump too remains safer.

Rear-Entry Position : This position is when the woman goes on all fours and the man is position directly behind her. In this position, the man is in control and must be careful to not hurt his partner. This position is considered safe but not a preferred one for women in their late pregnancy as they have to bear the weight of their baby bump.

Relationship

Sex is just one part of your relationship and intercourse is not the only way to kindle the fire. The man should learn more about his companion so as to support her needs during this trying time.

Discuss about the responsibilities you and your partner will have to take and how you both can make things better during and after child birth. Communication is the key for a healthy relationship. As these times can be steeped in pressure, reassurance goes a long way in making things easier.

Pregnancy and child birth is definitely life altering and couples should be prepared for it as a team. In some cases, when the pregnancy is unplanned for, the preparation is even harder. Getting ready for something you didn’t expect can be a difficult task, but not one you cannot achieve. Strength and support can be drawn from each other, to ensure a healthy and happy family for your child. The pains and problems associated with pregnancy need to be dealt healthily.

Men are visibly shaken during this course. Some men are prepared for whatever may come and some maybe taken by surprise. It is a testing and trying time, as conditions vary from person to person. But despite it all, the man should remember and learn to understand what his other half is going through. After all, it is the magic of life.

An important advice for women – do not suppress or feel scared about your negative feelings as this may lead to mental disturbance and depression. Share your thoughts with your husband or other loved ones who are there for you.  If you are battling with a problem discuss it with relevant people and try to solve it. Be positive and be happy at least for the sake of your baby. During pregnancy, a relationship is as crucial as the growing baby. A happier couple leads to a healthier baby. Feel free to accept the changes you go through, the good and the bad.

Multiple Births

There is a common myth about multiple births. That it is not as healthy as individual ones. So it could make you nervous when the doctor tells you, you are having twins. But don’t fret, with more knowledge about it, you will be assured that there is nothing to worry about.

Though there are various reasons attributed to multiple births like family history of twins or triplets, late marriage and fertility enhancing drugs, none of these have been confirmed. The subject of multiple births is still under study.

Fertility Drugs

The impact of fertility drugs seems to contribute to more multiple births. Research showed that women who go through procedures like in-vitro and artificial insemination or take any other reproduction enhancing drugs are likely to give birth to twins and triplets.

Age Factors

Recent statistics state that older women are more likely to give birth to multiple babies. Two out of every hundred births by women between 20-24 years of age deliver twins, while one in every five of women in the age group of 45 years are likely to give birth to multiple births.

Multiple births are commonly categorized as Twins, Triplets, Quadruplets, Sextuplets, and Septuplets.

There are two types of multiple births

  1. Monozygotic (Identical)
  2. Dizygotic (Fraternal)

Identical Twins : When a single fertilized egg is divided into two halves they continue to grow as two separate babies, identical in many ways such as eye color, hair,and physical characteristics. This is why we get to see identical twins.

Fraterna l: When two eggs are fertilized from two separate sperms they develop into two different babies that are similar but not necessarily identical.

Risks of Multiple Births

The duration of pregnancy involving multiple births is shorter (35 – 37 Weeks) than the typical single birth pregnancy (40 Weeks). Common risk involved during labor is premature birth. Death of one of the babies a month or so after the birth is also not uncommon, because the health conditions of the babies are different from that of single babies. Certain long-term health problems are also associated with multiple births.

Women who are pregnant with multiple babies tend to carry a series of common risks such as fetal growth problems, placenta problems, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes etc.

On the other side there are thousands if not millions of successful multiple birth cases. There is no cause for concern per se if you are blessed with multiple babies. What is however important is that women who are pregnant with multiple babies should undergo complete medical counseling to educate themselves about the causes and the risks involved in

Tensions rise as the time for delivery draws closer. Tonnes of thoughts will be flitting across your head. caesarean or natural birth? Will their be any complications?  Will the baby be as I expected? Will it be healthy and normal? It is a time that produces both excitement and nervousness.

Think of the countless mothers who have been through this journey happily and healthily. This is the time to surround yourself with feel-good stories of delivery, joy and the happiness that follows. And if you have followed all the steps like your regular checkups, examinations, tests and suggested exercises, you have nothing to worry about.

Doctors will check your temperature, abdomen, blood pressure, the position of your baby, its heart rate, your contractions and whether you are in active labor to deliver the baby. If you are ready for the labor you’ll be taken into the labor room where the three stages of labor will take place.

First Stage

For first time mothers this stage lasts 12 to 16 hours and for mothers who have delivered previously – 6 to 7 hours.

The first stage covers three phases – early labor, active labor and transition.

  • Early Labor – Your contractions will vary and the cervix dilates to 4 centimeters; you will also experience pain and symptoms similar to the one during periods. It is important to maintain a good energy level and develop confidence.
  • Active Labor – In this phase your contractions will become quicker, longer and stronger. Each contraction occurs 3-5 minutes apart and each one lasts a minute or more. This is the phase where you will be administered with required pain medications. Epidural anesthetics (for numbness) will be given at this stage.
  • Transition – Transitions are considered as the most difficult part of labor. Also, it is the shortest one lasting from 30 minutes to 2 hours. This is the most thrilling moment, as your cervix expands and the baby moves its way towards the birth canal. The doctors will guide you how to breathe. Stay calm and just feel the baby that is trying to come out. With controlled breathing, you’ll have to push the baby out. Your baby is now ready to enter the world.

Second Stage

In this stage, your contractions will continue and your breathing should be calculated. The nurse will help you out in doing so. You will be able to calculate the movement of the baby as you follow the instructions given by the nurse and doctors. What you will sense next is called ‘Crowning’. The baby’s head comes out first followed by contractions. As the vagina stretches further the mother will sense pain and deep burning sensation. With a few more pushes, your baby will come out with the umbilical cord attached to its mother. When the baby is out they have  natural fluids in their mouth and once it is removed, the baby will begin to breathe.

Third Stage 

Congratulations! You are a proud mother now. Your excitement level is high in the last stage of delivery. It is the shortest stage lasting anywhere between 15 – 20 minutes.

The umbilical cord is cut, clamped and the baby is separated from its mother. The baby is cleaned and both the mother and the baby are kept under observation.

Miscarriage

Miscarriage is a pregnancy where the embryo or the fetus does not survive till the full pregnancy and ends at the gestational age of 20-22 weeks. There are different types of miscarriages that occur at different stages. In 20% of the pregnancies, a miscarriage occurs during or before the 13th week of pregnancy. There are miscarriages that occur during the eighth week of pregnancy before the woman even realizes that she is pregnant. The rate of miscarriage during this phase is almost 50%.

It is also called a miscarriage when the egg fails to implant itself in the uterus wall. This type of miscarriage is hardly considered as a miscarriage because it occurs at a very early stage. Miscarriage is also known as a ‘Spontaneous Abortion’.

 Symptoms of Miscarriage

  • Vaginal Bleeding
  • Abdominal Cramping

These are the two common symptoms of a miscarriage. There are other symptoms such as failure of fetal heartbeat, no fetal movements and severe and painful contractions. These symptoms cannot be judged because they vary from woman to woman.

Causes of Miscarriage

The widely known cause for miscarriage is known to be chromosomal abnormalities. However, there are other causes associated with miscarriages such as diabetes, congenital abnormalities of the uterus, Lupus (collagen vascular disease) and other hormonal factors such as thyroid disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, and Cushing’s syndrome.

Chromosomal Abnormalities

Miscarriages that occur during the 1st trimester of the pregnancy are associated with abnormal chromosomes or chromosomal abnormalities. In the 2nd trimester the cause for miscarriage due to hormonal abnormality is reduced to 20%, i.e., hormonal abnormalities are more a common cause for miscarriage in the 1st trimester than in the 2nd trimester.

Age Factor

Miscarriages are sometimes said to be closely related to aging. Women over 35 years are more prone to  miscarriages than younger women.

Diabetes

Keeping a good check on your blood sugar levels and controlling them can help prevent miscarriages. Diabetes can be controlled during pregnancy with proper care and medical assistance. If your blood sugar levels are not checked and your diabetic condition is ignored, it can lead to serious complications – not just resulting in miscarriage, but could also result in affecting your baby with long-term defects.

Collagen Vascular Disease

About 30% of our body’s proteins are made of a glue-like protein called Collagen. This Collagen is responsible for shaping connective tissues, bones and tendons in our body. When collagens are affected or harmed by our own immune system the condition is called collagen vascular disease.

It could affect pregnancies at any stage and can cause potential damage leading to a miscarriage. Some symptoms of collagen vascular disease are:

  • Joint Inflammation
  • Anemia
  • Weakness and
  • Fever

Collagen vascular disease can lead to other illnesses such as:

  • Systematic lupus erythematosus
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Scleroderma

Sometimes the presence of the collagen vascular disease goes unnoticed. The required blood tests should be done at an appropriate time to check the presence of the disease. Timely intervention and proper medication help deal with the illness.

Myths about Miscarriage

There are many myths associated with miscarriage and most of them don’t hold true.

Exercise

Most women believe that exercise can cause miscarriage. However, this is not proved. In fact there are several exercises suggested by doctors. But, in the later stages of pregnancy women are advised not to work out vigorously.

Sexual intercourse and Working

Usually these do not cause miscarriages. Doctors state that sex and work is fine during pregnancy unless over done. As long as they don’t come in the way of your baby, doctors say there is no cause for concern.

 

A man’s role in supporting his wife during and after her pregnancy adds enormous benefits in shaping both the mother and the baby.

Working men consider their job seriously – meeting deadlines, showing relevant skills, persuading people, giving numbers etc. When he is married and ready to become a father his job doesn’t end there, instead it expands.

It’s not written to give you jitters about marriage, responsibility, and commitment. Most men expect their marriage to work for them. No marriage works on itself; it’s just like your job, where you have to work for it.

When a couple gets ready to become parents, along with their joys come fear and doubts. The fears and doubts a man develops are entirely different from that of a woman’s. In today’s world a married or committed man’s responsibility, as far as pregnancy is concerned, is not just to stand back and watch his wife deliver a baby. Before committing to the marital lifestyle a man must consider several factors that would make him become a good husband and a caring father.

Fatherhood

Congratulations! You are going to be a father.

A new stage in your life. A bigger role. A role model for your kid. And a provider for your family. These may seem like big statements, but its something every first time father has to deal with. It can seem like an arduous journey albeit an amazing one. Like everything else in life, this beautiful moment too comes with its own share of responsibilities.

There is nothing more a woman can expect from her husband during her pregnancy other than proper understanding and support, love and care. So gear up for this new phase of life. Once you are ready to accept this new role as a capable father, the smaller problems become easy to handle.

Doctor Visits

Meeting doctors and medical experts are not only for a pregnant woman. A husband too has a key role in the arrival of the baby. You have to understand the schedules and meetings, most of which you have to be present alongside your wife.

It would help to start by creating an appointment chart. One where you could keep track of the meetings you have to attend and those you have attended. Put reminders of upcoming appointments and help your wife keep track. Remember, she has a lot more going on with her right now.

Scans are important and should not be missed. Usually the first scan will be made between the 6th and 12th week of the pregnancy, however, this can vary. Ultrasound scans are important as you can see the development of your baby, together.

Taking care of the baby

Once the baby arrives, it’s going to be all about the baby at home. If you have support from your family and relatives you are lucky, however, you still have a lot to learn about taking care of your baby.

It is important to support your partner in every way you can during these initial days. Here are a few tips to help you along.

Changing Diapers : Make sure you learn all the tips and tricks associated with changing diapers. Your friends who are already fathers will be glad to give you advice. It would also help to read books about raising a baby. These books usually have good tips to help the overall well being of both your wife and your baby. For more information on changing diapers, visit our section Care and Understanding.

Don’t be conditional : It’s understood that it is difficult to manage both your work and your family. Current trends and lifestyles allow little room for error. Make sure you devote enough time and unconditional love while raising your child. There are no short cuts here.

Sleepless Nights

It is understandably frustrating when your baby cries in the middle of the night. Especially for dads after a long day’s work. But do remember it is your baby just as much as it is your wife’s. Most men believe that when a baby cries at night, it needs to be fed. They remain ignorant and let their wives handle this. However this is not true. There are many reasons as to why a baby could wake up crying in the middle of the night like humidity, cold, gas, stomach ache and a whole lot more. Comforting always helps.

Be ready to offer a helping hand at any time. It may lead to an erratic sleeping pattern but it is part of your responsibility as a father. This is the time you need to shower your wife and baby with unconditional love, care, and support.

Understand your baby well : There may come a time when your wife cannot accompany you to the doctor. Make sure you are well versed with everything you need to know about the baby, just in case. Its better to know more about your baby and its growth for your own good. It wouldn’t be fun to show a blank face when the doctor asks you any questions.

Couvade Syndrome

What’s Couvade Syndrome? Most expectant dads don’t know what it is. This syndrome is highly debated till this day. Women experience a lot of symptoms during pregnancy like nausea, weight gain, cramps and such. What about men? It is called Couvade Syndrome when even the husbands experience similar symptoms to that of a woman during pregnancy.

Not all men experience the Couvade Syndrome. Many medical experts doubt its existence and say that it has more to do with ‘sympathetic pregnancy’ where a man’s active involvement throughout the pregnancy and childcare makes him experience similar symptoms as his wife.

Couvade syndrome is not proven yet, but there are a growing number of cases of men who agree with the syndrome. If you are one of those who have this syndrome, the only way to deal with it is to cope with these changes just like your wife. And just remember the joys of becoming a father.

A pregnant woman needs to be cautious about two lives – hers and the growing baby’s. If you are planning to get pregnant or are already pregnant, then you should be aware of these precautions.

It is better safe than sorry. So, it would help to know these things rather than saying you weren’t told.

Aspirins

Put a check on your aspirin intake. Recent medical research cautions the usage of aspirin during pregnancy. It is better to consult your doctor about this before you pop one in.

Listeriosis

This disease is caused by a bacterium called Listeria monocytogenes. Though it is a rare disease, it is mostly susceptible to pregnant women and newborns.These few tips should help you keep away from it.

  • Avoid unpasteurized dairy products such as milk and cheese. Also avoid drinking raw milk.
  • Wash your hands well before eating. Utensils too should thoroughly be washed before using.
  • Be careful with expiry dates on pre-cooked foods.
  • Reheat meat, poultry and fermented foods to kill bacteria that develop on them.

Hepatitis E

Hepatitis E has a high fatality rate as compared to other diseases that affect pregnant women. Hepatitis E virus is usually spread from feces. It can spread if the person does not wash his or her hands well after going to the bathroom. This virus spreads when it comes into contact with your utensils or food. Hepatitis E is becoming quite common and sadly the mortality rate is as high as 25 % of women who are infected by the virus.

Toxoplasmosis (Parasitical)

It is a condition caused by a parasitical microorganism called Toxoplasma gondii. It dwells in another body and uses them to grow and reproduce.

  • Pregnant women should be very careful, especially those who are in their first trimester.
  • Here are some of the ways through which toxoplasmosis can spread.
  • Through poorly cooked meat – eat meat that is well-cooked and do not take chances with half-boiled food.
  • Fruits provide the ideal ground for parasites. Before eating fruits wash them well.

Animals and their feces. This is a warning for people who keep pets. There are people who maintain their pets very well, but make sure you are stringent about it if there is a pregnant woman in the house. Preferably pregnant women are advised to not go near pet feces and garbage.

Preconception Check up

It’s a simple rule; the healthier the couples are, the healthier their babies. The mother’s health reflects on the baby directly. A thorough check up on your health before pregnancy is crucial. It’s not just how fit you look, but how fit you are.

Food Habits

Get a check on your food habits and see if they are suited for pregnancy. It is easier to get accustomed to healthy food habits before pregnancy. A nutritious diet throughout will keep you healthy during pregnancy. Otherwise you will need supplements during pregnancy and it can be difficult to handle as your body is already undergoing a lot of changes.

Dental Check

A Dental check is usually ignored as it seems to have nothing to do with pregnancies. However, research states that oral health in fact affects the fetus. Keep your oral health in check. A visit to the dentist would do nobody any harm.

Tobacco, Alcohol & Illegal Drugs

It is always recommended to quit smoking and refrain from consuming alcohol in general. This is even more applicable during pregnancy. Smoking causes various impairments to pregnant women. It increases the chances of miscarriage in the first trimester. It also has a bad impact on a woman’s fertility. And it’s not just women, men too are affected by a drop in their sperm count, eventually leading to male infertility. Another important thing to remember, is that even second hand smoke kills. So everyone is advised to not smoke in front of pregnant women and for pregnant women to keep away from passive smoking.

Though many suggest that there is something positive about alcohol, this theory is not proven. Even if so, it is only in very limited quantities. Its safer to not take any chances. It is proven that women who consume alcohol of any kind are more prone to having underweight babies. Illegal drugs can severely affect you and your baby. Substances like heroin, meth, cocaine, marijuana etc. will harm the fetus leading to other medical complications. So, it is very important to quit these habits and be clean. If you are addicted to any of these or other harmful drugs, consult your doctor immediately. Remember that your body is your baby’s home; it is your responsibility to keep it healthy.

Weight Check

Check your weight regularly and make sure your body is at its optimum weight before conceiving. Underweight women should try and gain the required amount of weight as it can otherwise be harmful. Underweight women are prone to delivering underweight babies or even premature babies. Similarly, women who are overweight should try tone down their body as obesity can lead to developing diabetes or hypertension during pregnancy. Pregnant women, especially during morning sickness, tend to eat less or not eat at all. Some also try maintain a diet so they don’t gain excess weight. Breakfasts as the old adage goes, is the most important meal of the day. It kick starts the metabolism of the day and helps in shedding unwanted weight. Measure your calorie intake. Your daily diet should contain at least 350-500 calories to ensure your body supplies enough calories to you and your growing baby.



TODDLER


Congratulations once again! We are sure you are now relishing the joys of motherhood. The arduous and happy journey has led you to a happy, healthy baby. This is the time to relish and cherish the amazing journey you have been through. Typically, you will have scores of people visiting you to see your new bundle of joy. It is advised to hold your baby close and comfort your baby at all times. It comes naturally and helps strengthen the bonds between mother and baby.

Curiosity is a child’s charm. When your baby is between 15 to 18 months old, they would begin to run and crawl around the house. Checking out and learning its surroundings. Every thing around them is new and they soak it all in. Make sure you keep a track of their nutrition. Your baby needs it for all the additional activities it now partake in.

This is also the time when their appetites decrease mostly because their tremendous growth rate neutralizes. At this stage they usually start eating only when they are hungry or when they want. It is ideal to make sure the food is packed with nutrition.

Avoid flavoured milk, carbonated water, fried chips, candies and jellies. Also avoid food that is hard to chew and digest like carrots, corns, nuts and peas.

Also keep a track of the various regular vaccinations you need for your baby. Make sure to keep in touch with your doctor to keep yourself updated on these. The adverse affects can harm your baby’s growth and immunity.

Picky Eaters

As time goes on, your child’s appetite will begin to drop. They slowly get fussy too about their food. It varies from children to children but some of them become very picky eater. Before you panic, here are a few ways to help deal with them.

  • Don’t force them to eat food for the sake of it but make sure it is interesting and pamper them with their likes, but which are loaded with nutrition.
  • Variety is the key as toddlers get bored quickly. Different foods or different forms of the same food are ideal.
  • Be patient with them. This advice will be repeated often. But it is the best way to encourage your child to eat more.
  • If you feel you have a big problem on your hands, consult your pediatrician.

When your child is 2 or 3 years old

Teaching your children to eat in the early stages helps parents cope with your child’s eating habits. By the time your child is 2 to 3 years old, they’ll be eating on their own. They would have learned by now, how much to eat and when to stop. They should also learn to regularize their 3 meals of the day.

At this stage, your child’s diet is more or less like yours. They too need the regular three meals a day along with snacks to supplement their diet. Yet, make sure you are careful of what you eat at this stage because junk food and other such food items are low in nutritional value and do more harm than good. Make sure you feed your child with healthy, nutritious food.

It is also up to you to see that your child gets all the nutrition they need. Maintain a balanced diet. Since the appetite usually drops in children during this stage, make sure what little they eat is packed with all the essential nutrients. Don’t worry if they are picky eaters, it is only natural. Unless they have some kind of nutritional problem, you have nothing to worry about. If they do have, consult your doctor immediately.

You can see your child growing rapidly in front of yours. It’s time to begin schooling. Here’s where the pressure increases on parents to raise a well disciplined and intelligent child. On the other hand the pressure is tremendous too on your little one to soak in this whole new environment and stage in their life.

Most children do feel dejected and homesick initially as they enter the new world but they quickly adjust. However, as adults you have to try and see their point of view. It is a startlingly new world for them. It is your duty to prepare them for it and understand what they are going through. It is important to understand their world and see the world through their eyes.

Preparation before sending them to preschool

Moral support is key. You, as parents, are the only thing your child knows. Everything else is new. You have to encourage him to go explore, to soak in his new environment. You have to guide your child in his actions and coax them to have fun. Do not force them to do anything they are not ready for.

Teach them how to address others respectfully, especially elders.

It is possible to discipline kids right from the start. Teach them what is right and what is wrong. Even if a child can’t communicate in these early stages, they can understand and soak in all that you tell them. Teach them right from wrong.

It is advisable to familiarize your child with stories and nursery rhymes even before sending them to pre-school. This helps your child relate to it in class and therefore learn easily.

Above all, start familiarizing them with the idea of play school and what it is all about. Keep them curious and enthusiastic about it.

Mannerisms are learnt and they come from imitation. Children imitate the people they are around with and for this reason the people who are there the most are the parents. This is the only thing a child sees and learns. Hence, most children’s mannerisms, the good and the bad are the parent’s responsibility.

Parents need to be careful when they are arguing or fighting in front of their children. Children are quick in grasping words, tones and mannerisms that parent’s exhibit. So the next time be aware of things you say and do when you are around your child.

Firstly, kids have to be taught basic mannerisms that’ll help mould them in a socially accepted way.

Some of the basic manners include:

  • Teach them to respect their elders. To wait till the other person finishes talking or this eventually leads to bad mannerisms.
  • To greet people cordially.
  • To be polite and patient.
  • The words thank you, sorry and please go a long way.

Swearing

One of the major concerns parents face today is their kids swearing. People swear a lot more these days and kids can pick it up easily. Some parents ignore this until they are embarrassed in front of others. Curb your child immediately as this small act leads on to a lot more callousness later.

Stop your kids from swearing

Next time when you hear your kid swear, tell them off.

Here are some tips on how you can help your child learn some good manners.

When your kid swears, be firm and say no. Every time you ignore your child, your child will think its ok to repeat it. Negative reactions will make them understand that it is not permissible to do so.

Explain that some words are off limits and will not be tolerated. Being firm is the best way.

Harsh punishments are not advisable ever, but a system of reward and punishment goes a long way in teaching the kids right from wrong.

But most importantly remember, that children can only learn what they hear so make sure you don’t use any swear words in front of your child and make sure none of the people who are around your child use them either.

Every parent wants their children to grow up well-behaved. But what many don’t realize is that this comes from their efforts. Their efforts to teach them what is right and to lead them towards being a better child.

Behaviour is influential and crucial at this stage. Make sure they are surrounded by stories and people who inculcate better behaviour. It’s not about saying how you want your child to turn out but how how you help them behave better.

Understanding what is normal Behaviour

Differentiating between good and bad behaviour is crucial. Where you draw the lines between good and bad reflect directly through your child’s mannerisms. Children exhibit different behaviour and it is important to watch them at these early stages. Any negativity is best corrected at this early stage. This early stage also shapes them for what is to come.

How kids develop bad Behaviour

The fact is children do not know what is bad and what is good. Telling them right from wrong is primarily your role as a parent. When your child picks up mannerisms that are socially unacceptable, correct them immediately. Your ignorance will only lead them to repeating it until it eventually becomes their behaviour pattern from a mere mannerism. Nipping the problem in the bud is the best solution, so keep your eyes peeled and help your child on the right path.

Types of behaviour problems

Here are a few common types of behaviour problems children face. They may or may be not related to how the child has been raised.

Aggression

Kids often have trouble in freely expressing their opinion. Their communication skills are not fully developed yet. This frustrates them when they cant get through to you as parents. These suppressed feelings often lead to rage and irritability. Aggressiveness is also contagious. Being stern at this stage only makes them more stubborn as they see it as a way of getting through. Remember to be just as gentle to them as you are stern to them.

Dealing with them : You will have to learn to understand them even if they dont communicate properly. You have to learn their language. It is you who can alter your thinking to suit theirs, not the other way around.

Depression

Many people are surprised to hear that children do in fact suffer from depression too. It does happen so you don’t have to panic in case your child displays these symptoms:

Symptoms

Many people are surprised to hear that children do in fact suffer from depression too. It does happen so you don’t have to panic in case your child displays these symptoms:

Symptoms

  • Feelings of sadness and hopelessness
  • Sensitive to rejection
  • Failing to be like other kids leading to low morale
  • Low energy level
  • Left-out feeling

These cases are not rare. It is just that some children are more sensitive than others.

Dealing with them : Don’t panic if you notice this behaviour just once. However if it persists despite your best efforts, consult your doctor.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
ADHD is another common disorder among children, especially in adolescents. There is a fine line between children suffering from ADHD and children who display some of these symptoms. If these symptoms are causing any impairment in their day to day activities in school or at home, then the child is said to be suffering from ADHD.

Symptoms

  • Struggling to be attentive or totally inattentive
  • Refraining from general school activity that requires attention and mental effort
  • Hyperactivity
  • Having problems in following instructions

Dealing with them : It is important for parents to understand more about ADHD before they deal with it. Telling off your child for this behaviour may worsen it. There are many books related to this subject. There are many non-medical interventions to modify behaviour.Consult your doctor for what is best for your child.

Autism

Children who suffer from autism have problem in developing a normal relationship with others. They also have problem in picking up or understanding non-verbal communication like facial expressions and gestures. They live in their own world and hardly interact with others. It is also a disorder related to language impairment. Their communication skills are usually inept.

Another disorder which is closely related to autism is Pervasive Development Disorder (PDD).

Recent surveys point out that males are four times more prone to autism than females. However autism is not related to the upbringing of the child.

Symptoms

It is difficult to notice the immediate symptoms of autism as it varies from person to person. A set of symptoms found in one individual may not be similar to another individuals.

 However, here are some common symptoms:

  • Unable to respond to others reaction – be it verbal or non-verbal
  • They create a world of their own and live in it
  • Stilted language and mutism
  • Unusual walk, talk and behaviour in public
  • Unable to develop a normal relationship with others
  • Mood swings
  • Not friendly

Dealing with them : Since autism affects children at an early stage itself, it is important to diagnose and intervene even earlier. Parents should learn more about autism too. There are many books, periodicals, articles as well as programs to help parents deal with autistic children.

The therapy is done according to the level of autism in the patient – mild or severe. With continuous therapy and instruction-based treatment the condition is said to improve



YOUR BABY


You, as mother, are a different person now. All the hardships you went through finally bore fruit in the form of your baby. It is time to cherish. You will be having scores of visitors to see you and your baby. After the birth you should develop a strong bond with your child, though it is natural, it is suggested to keep the baby close to you and cuddle them.

Week 1

Coping with postnatal depression

Some mothers might experience postnatal depression and some don’t.
However, postnatal depression is one of the common post delivery symptoms most women go through. You’ll feel beaten and exhausted and some feel sad and begin to hate everything that is going around them. There are other symptoms you might experience during the postnatal depression such as:

  • Not sleeping well though you have ample time
  • Loneliness
  • Unable to express your feelings, not even to the ones you are close with.
  • Sadness and crying for no apparent reason

The postnatal depression should be gone within a couple of days after the birth, however, there are women who battle this for more than a week. If the depression continues for more than three weeks or a month, its time to consider this seriously. Visit your doctor immediately.

After delivery you might start to breast feed your baby upon your doctor’s approval. To learn more about breast-feeding click here. Your baby’s first bowel movement will be black in color and is called meconium. Later the color of the poo will gradually change. Do not hesitate to breastfeed your baby. At this early stage you might have to follow a time schedule to feed the baby, and later the baby will start to demand and will also know when to stop if he/she is full.

You must be already tired with the hospital and the procedure; you will want to go to your home. How long you will stay in the hospital depends on your body condition and the type of delivery you had.

A week later you might have to visit your doctor to learn more about handling the newborn.

Week 2

You can experience a change in your body; you might feel it’s slightly better than the previous week. Now that you are at home you have enough time to take care of your baby and yourself. Some have family support while some don’t, however, you should make sure you spend a lot of time with your baby.

Your blood pressure is getting back to normal and your vaginal discharge is now much paler and thinner (lochia serosa), and as days pass will get much thinner (lochia alba). If you are able to do some physical activity try with some mild pelvic floor exercise.

Your baby’s hunger pangs will start demanding more as they tend to get hungry every 2-3 hours, so be ready to feed on time. Newborns will sleep nearly 15 – 17 hours a day, so you have some time to take rest. Use it.

Care must be taken when you are lifting a baby, remember though the baby is healthy it is still vulnerable and many parts of its body are not fully formed. When lifting the baby, always provide a firm support to its neck, if not the baby might sprain its neck.

Week 3

After birth you have to be more careful about what you eat. Your diet should be rich in proteins (fish and red meat) and carbohydrates (cereal, pasta, and bread). If you are addicted to coffee or tea, its time to bring it down as they tend to dehydrate your body. Water intake is crucial; drink at least 6-8 glasses of water every day. Continue with your exercises to rejuvenate yourself. The postnatal exercises will come into use.

It is said that the newborn’s eyesight will be fuzzy, so it can recognize only when the objects and face come into close contact (like when the mother is feeding the baby). It is common to see your surrounding bit untidy as you are almost occupied with the baby. But make sure you keep the surrounding of your baby clean. They are vulnerable and prone to infections.

Week 4

You are now getting back to normal ready, to juggle carefully managing both the household chores and taking care of the baby. Your sleeping pattern could be erratic and rest is important at this stage. Because the baby demands you anytime it is advisable to sync your sleeping time to that of your baby’s.

Though most mothers spend almost all the time with baby, this can make them isolated. Have a small get together at your home and socialize to relieve your stress and boredom.

Sore nipples and vaginal discharge should be gone by this time, but some women continue to experience it. This is common, however, if you find something is wrong either with you or your baby, consult your doctor immediately.

Week 5

During pregnancy the ligaments supporting your pelvis and spine is softened by progesterone. Now these are returning to normal, but you have not recovered completely and it will take some time to regain your pre-pregnancy body. Mothers are recommended to do some mild stretching exercise. Swiss Ball is a good option where you can work out on your abdomen and your back.

Your sexual desire will slowly return, but remember your body needs rest and it needs time to recover. If you are planning to have sex, consult your doctor and know about your body condition before getting into the act of intimacy. Also, it is important to discuss about the contraception methods at this time.

Your breast-feeding will do good to you. Most mothers think that they might lose natural beauty if they breast feed their baby. This is not at all true. Most of them fail to notice that breast-feeding actually helps them lose weight. Above all, your baby is solely depending upon your breast milk. To learn more about breastfeeding, click here.

On the other side there are cases where a mother is unable to breast feed her baby due to medical reason, in such cases they have to consult their doctor and start with suggested formula milk.

Week 6

Now you are witnessing your baby’s growth and development first hand. By this time you should know the baby’s feeding habits and sleeping pattern. Now is the time to visit your pediatrician and have your baby checked. Share your thoughts about the baby with the doctor. The doctors will check the baby’s senses and reflexes.

By this time you must have learnt some important tips on baby care and should be comfortable handling the baby all by yourself. The first six weeks will help you cope with the baby and slowly regain your body. However, it needs at least six months for a woman to regain her original body.

Your postnatal visits are important so visit your doctor or obstetrician for a general checkup. Your blood pressure and abdomen will be checked and your vaginal examination will be done. Now your uterus should be shrinking back to normal size.

Your regular periods are about to start this week and your hormones are getting back to normal. The first period after delivery will be heavy – don’t be surprised.

Do not worry too much about your body and getting it back in shape. It will take time. Have patience and just enjoy your new role as a mother.

Now that you are out of the hospital and back at home, there is a bigger role for you and your husband to play now. The immediate advice of doctors and nurses will not be around but definitely keep them just a phone call away. From here, it’s up to you and your loved one to nurture and cherish this baby. If you have help from relatives and elders, it helps ease the process. Incase you don’t, here are a few tips to help you raise your baby.

Diapers! Diapers!

Diapers! Diapers! Diapers!  Every first time parents dreads the thought of diaper. But once you learn your way around it, it’ll be the most basic thing for you to do. There are different types of diaper available in the market and you’ll have to decide on which one to use – cloth or the disposable ones. Do not change diapers while you walk. Place the baby comfortably while changing

  • Do not change diapers while you walk. Place the baby comfortably while changing diaper.
  • Be careful while handling your baby while changing their diaper. Hold the baby by its ankles and gently lift them up. Remove the soiled one, wipe the bottom clean with a wet cloth. Lift the baby in the same way and place the new diaper underneath and wrap it around your baby.
  • Secure the new diaper and fix it firmly. As the skin of your baby is very sensitive make sure you clean them properly. If you leave soiled diapers on for too long it can leave your baby with painful rashes. Keep the house clean, especially the area around your baby. Hygiene is key at this initial stage.
  • Keep a separate diaper trash away from the baby and make sure it is emptied regularly.

Bathing

Bathing It can be a lot of fun to bathe your baby. But make sure you take the necessary precautions before you do so.

Before you begin, keep a towel handy so you can immediately wrap your baby after bathing. Your baby’s immune system is still not fully developed leaving them prone to cold and such common diseases too. It is important to keep them safe and warm.

The water – Make sure the water is at an optimum temperature for your baby at all times. Depending on the weather, you should learn what temperature is best suited for your baby. Babies are very sensitive at this age so it has to be the perfect temperature.

Undressing – Remember to be careful while dressing and undressing your child. All their limbs are still supple and have to be handled with great care. Don’t let the baby distract you at these crucial times, make sure you hold your baby gently but firmly.

Cleanse – The kind of soap you use is very important. As mentioned many times, babies are very sensitive. Choose a mild soap as harsh cleansing agents can have a negative impact on your baby’s sensitive skin. Place your baby in a tub or hold it comfortably on your lap. Gently apply the soap and rub it all over the body. Once you are done, wet a towel or a piece of cloth and then gently wipe your baby from head to toe. There is no faster way to do this. Patience is of utmost importance and learn to talk to your baby while doing so. It not only nurtures the bonds but will help you stay calm during this entire process. The top surface of your baby’s head is extremely sensitive, so take extra precaution while dealing with this part. Also make sure no water enters your baby’s nostrils and mouth.

Wrap – Once you are done, carry your baby and gently place down on the towel that is readily waiting. Dab the baby dry gently with a soft towel. You could use mild lotion as well. Now your baby is clean and fresh and ready to go.

Bottle Feeding

Sometimes mothers are forced to feed the baby through a bottle. Either their own breast milk through bottles or sometimes the formula. Sometime babies move on to bottles once they finish the breast feeding stage. Here are a few tips to remember while bottle feeding

  • Maintain a clean bottle and ensure it is free from dust and other particles. Since babies are easily prone to allergies, use the best quality bottles to feed
  • Ensure that the milk is at a temperature suitable for the baby
  • Hold the baby in a position that is comfortable for both you and the baby before you feed
  • Do not feed the baby with old milk. Always give fresh milk to the baby
  • Do not place the bottle in the microwave oven and heat it
  • Do not feed formula milk that is stored in the refrigerator for a long time

Understanding your baby better

Weeks after your baby is born, you would have definitely gained enough knowledge on raising your baby from doctors, nurses, pediatricians, friends and family. Now is the time you get to know your baby first hand. Everybody knows that mothers and babies share a special bond that no one else can compare to. This is the time to understand your baby as an individual. Why do they cry? What do they want? What is a baby syndrome? How to cope with a crying baby? And so on. Babies can only communicate through gestures and cries and one must spend time understanding this to understand their needs.

Why they cry ?

A baby could cry for many reasons. If you observe closely, you will soon understand what each cry means. Each cry will vary in tone and strength and could mean anything from being hungry, to lonely, to wet or sometimes it may even just be for some attention. So as you go along, figuring what you have to do to pacify your baby for each cry, you will learn how to handle your baby. This is what you will have to remember to help your child grow.

Shaken Baby Syndrome

When you become a parent, the first thing you learn is patience. The continuous wailing of a baby can be frustrating and more so to fathers. Try and lull or pacify them to calm them down. One big mistake that some parents tend to make in frustration is to shake the baby vigorously. This is a complete no. This causes more damage than you can imagine. So learn to be patient and calm. After all it is your baby.

Coping with Colics

Babies do cry a lot usually. But sometimes they tend to cry for hours on end. If it persists, it could be because your baby is suffering from colic.

Colic is a condition that is still steeped in mystery. It has perplexed doctors for long and even now doctors can’t pinpoint as to why babies persistently cry. It usually begins when the baby is about 3 weeks old and goes on until the baby is 6 to 12 weeks old.

However there are some possible reasons for colic cases. Some say it is hereditary though this is not proven. Some studies suggest that it is because of the mother’s diet which directly effects her breast milk. Another theory states that colic is caused when there is severe indigestion.

Parents are also advised to stop smoking as it could be a possible cause for colic disorders.

Your Baby – Diet & Nutrition

Diet & Nutrition

As your baby grows, it will need additional nutrition. Spoon feeding is not recommended at this early stage. Consult your doctor for an ideal time to start spoon feeding. Now is when you have to learn to nourish your growing baby. Though you have to remember that your baby’s digestive system is weak and therefore your baby needs something that is nourishing yet easy on the stomach.

It is better to introduce solid food after six months. Prepare food that is rich in protein, carbohydrates, fat and vitamins.

It is a good idea to start with weaning food. The baby is accustomed to only milk for the first six months, so there has to be a gradual shift to solid food. It should not be abrupt and weaning foods help bridge the gap.

Start with liquid supplements like juices, soups, dal water etc. And then gradually start with solid food which is well-mashed and pureed.

Recipes

Fruits : Begin with a single fruit

Fruits mashed well – mangoes, banana, muskmelon and chikoo (Sapota). If the baby constipates easily then include papaya as it helps soften the stool and eases bowel movements.

Vegetables : Leafy vegetable soups, moong dal water and carrot soup contain vital sources of calcium, iron, and vitamins. Begin with preparing thin soups and as the baby grows you could move on to thick soups.

Semi-solid Food: Once your baby begins to accept semi-solid food, you can slowly start feeding your baby with cereals like rice, pulse, and vegetables that are well-mashed.

Ragi malt is also a good cereal for your baby in this stage.

Make sure to keep a track of your baby’s digestion as you move from stage to stage.

Foods Rich In:

Calcium : Dairy products, Leafy Vegetables, Pulses and Nuts

Iron : Corns, Bajra Khichdi, Ridge Gourd, Spinach and Channa

Proteins : Kidney beans, Cowpeas, Soybeans, Broccoli, Cabbage and Onions

Fibre : Beetroot, Avocado, Apple, Banana, Orange, Potato, Tomato and Rice



POST-PREGNANCY


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Breast Feeding

Your breasts are now lactating. It is natures provision for the best nutrients for your growing baby. Now breastfeeding is not as easy as it sounds. It is important to educate yourself about all the aspects of breastfeeding.


No Restriction

Do not restrict yourself from breastfeeding your baby. In the beginning there is no particular schedule for breastfeeding. Every time the baby wakes it will cry for food. It is important for you to understand your baby’s needs. Eventually the babies learn their hunger pangs and ask for food when they are hungry. Most babies know how much to suckle and when to stop, though some babies do tend to overfeed. It is for this reason it is good to know how much is too much to avoid overfeeding your baby.


Is it a must?

There are many benefits in breastfeeding – for both the baby and the mother. Breast milk contains natural ingredients and nutrition for your baby’s growth and protects it from infection and allergies. Breast milk is essential for newborns for good growth and to develop their immunity. This is important to fight common infections and allergies and helps reduce the risk of a family history of asthma and eczema. Continuous breastfeeding also helps mothers lose some of the fat they have gained for their baby.

Most mothers feel that breastfeeding is a natural way to build a bond with their babies, but again it is not concluded that babies fed with formula milk fail to build an affinity with their mothers. On the other side there are mothers who are unable to feed their babies due to medical reasons. There is no reason why a mother should not breastfeed her baby when she can.


How long should I breastfeed?

Just like every pregnancy is different, breastfeeding too differs from mother to mother and child to child. There is no clear cut answer for this and it depends upon how well the mother has understood the significance of breast milk and the capability to feed her baby.

You should know that breast milk is the only food for your baby for the first 6 months. Some stop breastfeeding after six months, some continue for a year and a few even longer than that.

As the time varies from person to person it is best to consult your doctor regarding the same. There are breastfeeding experts as well as your family to advice you on what would be the best time for you and your baby depending upon your individual needs.


Breastfeeding Problems

Here are some of the common problems related to breastfeeding.

Sore Nipples : You get sore nipples because either the baby is not latched properly or if the baby is breastfed in an improper position.

A popular misconception is that frequent feeding leads to sore nipples – this is not true. When the baby is not latched properly you tend to get sore nipples. Position your baby comfortably near your nipples so your baby does not have to struggle to reach it.

Another problem that arises is that if you start feeding your baby in an improper position, the baby gets accustomed to it and will never change the position thereafter.

Remedy for Sore Nipples : The commonly suggested lanolin creams often fail to work and sometimes even make sore nipples worse. Avoid creams totally or use creams that are suggested by doctors. The best thing to do is to latch the baby in the correct position so that the problem does not arise again.

Do not use excessive soap to cleanse your nipples; instead use mild soaps and moisturizers.

Breast soreness is also caused when the baby chews or bites the nipple. When the baby begins to grow teeth, their gums swell and they begin to chew to get rid of the discomfort.


Breast Fullness or Engorged Breasts

The most common problem mothers usually face, mostly during the first few weeks, is breast enlargement. This happens when the breast milk fills up making the breast really large.

During the first week mothers tend to produce more milk and their breasts begin to grow. Though this is not the case with all mothers, many experience it and will see that it has grown more than they had expected. This enlargement is only natural and the best way to deal with it is:

  • Feed your baby on demand and regularly.
  • It is important to keep in mind that you have to feed the baby from both the breasts and balance the feeding amount to reduce the swelling.
  • The areolas, the dark area around the nipples, will be stiff. You need to squeeze it a bit to make it soft before latching your baby on firmly so it becomes easy for the baby to suck freely.
  • Breast pumps are commonly used to remove the excess milk and there is no harm in doing so.

Luckily breast swelling doesn’t last for long; typically it stays for 2 to 3 days. Knowing how to take care of yourself and your baby and relieving the excess milk is all you need to do to overcome this small problem.


Inadequate Milk Supply

In contrast to breast fullness, inadequate milk supply is another concern mothers deal with. Most mothers have doubts as to whether they have enough milk to feed their baby.

When the regular feeding time changes and your breast size drops, you tend to wonder if you have lost the capacity to produce milk. As babies grow they become efficient feeders and their appetite grows. Breasts lactate (produce milk) when you give birth to a baby. So, there is no question of running out of milk.

However, there are medical conditions attributed to low milk production. This could arise if there are any hormonal disorders, injuries or any other medical condition. If you feel that there is something wrong in the amount of milk you produce, immediately consult your doctor for advice.


Thrush

If you notice your nipples turning out deep-pink in color and it is tender to touch, or if you face any inconvenience in nursing your baby, it could be because of a yeast infection. More importnatly this infection can just as easily pass on to your baby. As a result the baby will develop white patches and redness around its mouth. This is also one of the common problems mothers and babies face today. Consult your physician for a quick remedy.

Acceptance : The first step as in any new journey is acceptance. As exciting and happy as these times are, you must know that your physical and emotional state will be altered. Don’t let these things get to you for your own well-being. It’s all a part of the package. So accept these changes gladly and you’ll be on your way to a smoother pregnancy.

Take Care of Yourself : As cliché as it sounds, this simple advice is the most neglected one. You know how important your baby is to you. And so, before you neglect this simple advice, you must know that your body is the sole source of nutrients for your new born. Therefore you must treat your body well for your child’s well being. Your doctor will let you know of small tips and tricks to take better care of yourself. Be sure to follow these.

Sleep Patterns : After your baby arrives, you will have countless sleepless nights. Just when you are running out of energy, your baby might need you. There is no remedy for this in the early stages and almost every mother goes through this. There is no alternative but to get as much sleep as you can, when you can. It is best that you try and sync your sleep pattern with that of your baby’s to ease the pressure.

Feeding : Most first time mothers have plenty of questions about breast feeding. The first thing to remember is that initially your baby is solely dependent upon your breast milk for nourishment. The other plus point is that breast feeding is directly related to losing the baby fat that mothers usually gain. So, do not hesitate to breast feed your baby till the desired period.

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Check Up

Six weeks after delivery, mothers are advised to visit the doctor for a complete check up. A check up is also mandatory two weeks after birth. A pediatrician will perform a thorough check up and identify things that need to be taken care of.


Screening and Checking for PKU

Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a disorder related to phenylalanine and amino acids (building blocks for body protein) in babies. Babies which have this disorder are found to be deficient with this enzyme that converts phenylalanine into other amino acids. It is a rare a disorder but one that should never be overlooked.


Symptoms

Infants who have PKU at birth appear to be normal, but they show some symptoms later. Some of the symptoms that are related to PKU are: decreased body growth, vomiting, eczema rashes, increased muscle tone and problem with tooth enamel. If left untreated, the baby is most likely to develop seizures and mental retardation.


Treatment

A complete screening is done to check the blood levels by taking a small amount of blood sample from the baby (usually taken by piercing the heel of the baby)


Growth Check

A couple of visits to your pediatrician are enough to know if your baby is growing normally. The baby will be continuously weighed and measured. The head is also measured to check for any abnormal growth.

The pediatrician will check all the senses of the baby, as reactions are the best way to check if the baby reacts well to its surroundings. Sight and sound are the earliest senses to check your baby’s reaction. If your baby does not react quickly do not panic as every baby has an inbuilt frequency of reacting to surroundings. So a constant growth check up is a must until you are clear of all your doubts.


Jaundice

Jaundice is a commonly known disease now. The baby turns almost yellow and the whites in their eyes too turn yellow. This is one of the most common problems newborns face and it can occur within days or weeks after their birth.

Why does this happen? Bilirubin is a type of chemical that is produced in our body by the liver. If and when this chemical is produced more than the body can handle, it leads to jaundice.

Jaundice is treated by placing the baby under a special light called the ‘bili light’. Frequent breastfeeding too is suggested as a cure. If jaundice is ignored it can lead to a more complicated medical condition called Kernicterus. This happens when the high levels of Bilirubin affects the brain. Jaundice can be cured in a short period of time; it is common, but should not to be ignored for it is still dangerous.


Postpartum Check Up

Six weeks after the baby is born, mothers are required to go for a postpartum check-up. Mothers may experience certain negative feelings such as being left-out, tired, sad and uninterested which are commonly referred to as the ‘baby blues’.

Postpartum check up is a thorough check up for both the mother and the baby. The doctors will now check the body condition, C-section incision marks (if you had a surgery), breast feeding routine, your weight and mental state. If you had a normal delivery your uterus will be checked to see if it has returned to its normal size.

This is also time to discuss further about your sex life, birth control and diet. Almost all mothers experience some sort of postpartum depression post delivery and are usually tackled during the postpartum check up. It is an important time for both mother and baby.

To learn more about Postpartum Depression: Please Visit: – Post Pregnancy – Postpartum Depression

Vaccination / Immunization Schedule

Now that you are blessed with a baby, it is your duty to take the best care of it. Here is a strict vaccination schedule for your baby’s well being.

 

Stretch Marks

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When your body gains weight to accommodate the baby, your skin tends to stretch. It is only normal and it is usually back to normal post delivery. Some stretch marks are also formed due to change in hormonal levels. These reddish lines (depending upon skin tone) are caused when the dermis is stretched tearing off the elastin fibers present in the skin. These marks usually heal themselves and fade out, sometimes leaving a pale mark behind.


Treating Stretch Marks

In earlier times, mothers dint worry about these stretch marks and were usually treated by home remedies. In today’s world, mothers are highly beauty conscious and there are various treatments available to treat stretch marks. Laser treatment, Retin A and surgical methods are used these days to treat stretch marks.

However, there are other common methods used to deal with stretch marks:

  • Massage the affected area with mild lotions, olive oil, and creams
  • Regular exercise to rejuvenate your skin and toning your muscles
  • Diet – sufficient intake of fruits rich in Vitamin C (fresh fruits and greens) and Vitamin E (carrots, tomatoes, oats, hazelnut)

Home Remedies

Massaging with olive oil helps reduce stretch marks. Mix natural aromatic herbs like lemon grass, mint, and thyme with olive oil and apply on the affected area.

Apply sandalwood paste on the stretch marks as it contains elements that cool your skin.

Aloe Vera is an effective solution in preventing stretch marks. Women can start applying Aloe Vera during their pregnancy to avoid getting stretch marks.

Tulsi (Holy Basil) is another wonderful remedy used in treating stretch marks and tissue defects.

 



FITNESS


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