The 9 months of pregnancy are the most difficult, yet arguably the most exciting for a woman. While some blessed women sail through without complaint, most of us suffer from nausea, heartburn, indigestion, swollen limbs, bloating, weight gain, unexplained aches and pains, and so much more. My pregnancy was a tough one, and I left no stone unturned to make it as comfortable as possible. Here are my tips for expecting mothers to make their pregnancies easy, and to prepare you for the colossal change ahead.
- PICK A TRUSTED GYNAECOLOGIST THAT DOESN’T MAKE YOU WAIT TOO LONG
Your gynaecologist is your guide, mother and best friend throughout your pregnancy. There is no harm in meeting multiple gynaecologists before zeroing in on one. The doctor must be trustworthy, easily available during emergencies, have patience and be knowledgeable. If you can find one that prioritises the pregnant patients over regular ones, you can save time on waiting in endless lines too. Ask around in your network for personal experiences, to receive the best advice.
My gynaecologist is Dr. Harmeet Khurana, who practices only at Neptune Hospital in Navjiwan Vihar. I cannot praise her enough. She is everything one could ask for, in a doctor.
The distance of the hospital from your home, the facilities it offers and the friendliness and capability of the hospital staff are also important factors to keep in mind.
- ATTEND CHILD BIRTH PREPARATION/ LAMAZE CLASSES
This is more important for first time parents, but even repeat parents can benefit from brushing up their memory! I highly recommend that both parents attend these sessions, as fathers tend to be clueless when the baby arrives. These classes help make baby’s birth a reality for fathers.
My husband and I took ‘Child Birth Preparation Classes’ with Divya Deswal at Zaazen Wellness Center at the Phoenix Hospital in Delhi. This set of four 2-hour classes helped in clearing many concepts, that no book could have told us.
Many of my friends swear by Nutan Pandit’s Lamaze classes in Delhi. Lamaze is a technique of breathing and other exercises that helps to prepare you for labour.
Research online to find classes of this nature, in your city. Trust me, it is a worthy investment.
- GET YOURSELF A DOULA
A doula is a trained, non-medical person that provides guidance and support to women during and after labour. Divya Deswal, apart from being my childbirth teacher, was also my doula. Having her by my side, during an intense 18 hour labour, really helped ease the process. Doula’s do not perform any medical technique, but they massage/ ease out/ help position the woman in labour to have the most comfortable delivery, possible. They are companions and support systems.
Most urban cities in India have doulas. If you are in Delhi, you can get in touch with the Facebook group, Delhi Birth Network.
- BEGIN PRE-NATAL YOGA OR EXERCISES FROM THE 4TH MONTH
I cannot stress enough the importance of exercising during your pregnancy. Personally, I took pre-natal yoga with Diya Kapoor of Kriya by Diya from my 4th till my 8th month. The yoga stretches helped my body adjust to the sudden changes, and eased the aches and pains.
In hindsight, I would have liked to work out with a specialist trainer in addition to yoga, to avoid putting on extra weight which became harder to lose after birth.
If you do nothing else, ensure you go for daily walks to stave off pregnancy diabetes and other complications.
- GET SPECIAL PRE-NATAL MASSAGES FOR ACHES AND PAINS
Every woman’s pregnancy comes with its own unique set of problems. I developed a severe pain in my foot, that refused to leave no matter what shoes I wore. Finally, it was treated through foot reflexology and pre-natal massages at the Mamma Mia center in Fortis Hospital in Delhi.
Even if your city does not have fancy pre-natal massage centers, you will be able to find dai’s or local masseuses who are skilled in this field.
- KEEP A SCHEDULE OF IMPORTANT APPOINTMENTS
Make sure that you have a record of all your important appointments for tests, ultra sounds etc. It can be difficult to keep track of everything, but timings are sensitive in pregnancies. A fourth week appointment must happen in the fourth week itself!
I find the calendar app on my phone indispensable, so my life functions smoothly and I never forget appointments.
- READ BOOKS/ TALK TO YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS
The best way to prepare yourself for this monumental life change, is to talk to your family members and friends who have recently given birth. Advice from personal experiences is better than any book. However, keep in mind that everyone is different and each pregnancy is different. Resist the urge to compare yourself to others.
Books also help, but I preferred reading my weekly email updates from WhatToExpect.com and BabyCenter.in. The books I highly recommend, include “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” by Heidi Murkoff, and “The Contented Baby Books” by Gina Ford.
- BEGIN APPLYING THICK BODY BUTTERS/ OILS FROM THE 2ND MONTH
I don’t want to mislead you- stretch marks are genetic. If they run in your family, you will definitely get them during your pregnancy, no matter how hard you try to keep them at bay. However, you can control the intensity and appearance of the stretch marks by applying thick body butters and oils, right from the second month. My favourite product was Bio Oil, and I recommend applying it in any upward motion all over your belly, chest, thighs and bottom.
- TRY ACUPUNCTURE FOR NAUSEA AND HEARTBURN
I suffered from terrible nausea through the bulk of my pregnancy. Someone gifted me Sea Bands, which are based on the Chinese concept of applying pressure on the pulse points to stop the queasy feeling. These bands helped a little, but I wish I had known about acupuncture, which is a more concentrated and effective treatment on the same principle. In Delhi, you must consult Dr. Aadil Khan, who sits in Nizamuddin.
- BE PREPARED WITH A LIST OF POST-BIRTH SPECIALISTS
Once the baby is born, you won’t know what’s hit you! Get your act in order beforehand, by visiting and compiling a list of numbers of people that you need right after the birth. This includes the paediatrician, a lactation consultant if you plan to breastfeed, a post-natal masseuse for yourself, and a custom tummy belt maker to help the loose skin around your abdomen, get back in place faster.
- TRAVEL WHILE YOU CAN
You may feel ill, you may not have leave from work, or you may not enjoy travelling in general, but believe me, you must take at least one trip with your husband, before the baby’s arrival. The baby will become the centre of your life very soon, and your equation with your husband will definitely change. Travel while you can!
Book a stay using www.booking.com here
- TAKE SOME DIGENE TO CURE INDIGESTION
Digene is the easiest and quickest way to combat heartburn, acidity and indigestion during pregnancy. Its mild formula is safe for the baby too. However, consult your doctor before taking any medicine.
- JOIN AN ONLINE PARENTING COMMUNITY
Facebook groups or chat groups on baby websites, are the best way to connect with other parents in similar situations. You can get answers to any query, from completely genuine sources. I personally rely on Mommy A-Z on Facebook, as my go-to source, till today.
- BE CAREFUL OF WHAT YOU ARE EATING AND APPLYING ON YOURSELF
Keep a check on what you are eating, as it is extremely important to eat healthy, for yourself and your baby. Give in to cravings once in a while, but not beyond a reasonable amount. Heidi Murkoff’s “Eating Well When You’re Expecting” is a good resource to have at hand.
I suffered from a bad bout of hormonal acne during my pregnancy, but I could not take medication or apply strong products with salicylic acid in them. Consult a dermatologist if you have the same problem, and always be mindful of what you are putting into and on yourself during pregnancy.
Don’t feel like you need to invest in separate maternity clothes- Indian kurtas and tights are the most comfortable maternity clothes possible!
- SLEEP, SLEEP, SLEEP!
Ignore everything on this list if you must, but get as much as sleep as you can during pregnancy! It will become a luxury after baby’s arrival. If you find it uncomfortable to sleep with your big bump, invest in a maternity pillow to help make you more comfortable.
I hope these tips prove useful to you in this important phase of your life. If there is any advice I have missed, please leave it in the comments below for the benefit of other readers. If you like this post, please share it with someone that might need this information.
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