For a happy & healthy pregnancy, a woman has to plan her healthcare even before her pregnancy.
Preconception counselling & Consultation:
She should meet an obstetrician before she becomes pregnant for advice regarding diet/exercise/blood & other investigations which are essential. Prenatal vitamins will be started even before pregnancy.
All this is aimed at preventing pregnancy complications Once she is pregnant, she should meet her doctor to confirm it. Here the choice of doctor & maternity centre is crucial as that would determine the standard of care she receives during her pregnancy & delivery Pregnancy is divided into 3 trimesters of three months each.
The major symptoms of early months are nausea/vomiting/variations in appetite and digestion. A pregnant lady should be able to cope with all this if she makes a few changes in her diet quality, quantity and pattern. That is –small frequent snacky foods are preferable with adequate intake of fluids.
Oily, fried, heavy creamy items are best avoided. Processed foods from over the shelf are to be avoided.
Caffeine, alcohol, smoking are all harmful to a growing fetus.
The doctor will be advising some medicines for reducing the symptoms. Sometimes the vomiting is in excess wherein the patient may even need repeated admissions!
Here a viability scan is mandatory at 6-7 Wks
An NT scan at 12-13 weeks to look for certain chromosomal aberrations is also advised.
Exercise like swimming /yoga/walking can be continued. Of course, heavy exercise like aerobics or jogging is best avoided at this stage.
This will all help her in sailing through the most difficult stage of her pregnancy with ease!
This is the happy or the green zone of pregnancy. The mother would start feeling the baby's movements slowly. Nausea/vomiting will reduce to a great extent. Appetite would improve & further diet changes can be made accordingly.
An anomaly scan is mandatory at 20 weeks which is the most detailed scan. High-risk patients may need an early anomaly scan at 18 weeks
Triple marker test/glucose challenge test will be done in this trimester to rule out fetal & maternal risks.
Exercise should continue. If she has chosen a good standard maternity centre, she should enrol for antenatal classes at this stage
All this will help her to keep her weight gain in check which should be ~0.2 -0.5 kg /week
THE LAST THREE MONTHS
This is the last lap of the marathon!
As she gets heavier, the discomfort will increase. If she has kept her diet & exercise regime in the previous months regular, she will be benefited in this month.
A growth scan will be done & repeated if required later near her delivery date.
At this stage, a birth plan should be clearly discussed with the doctor in the presence of the spouse.
Options of painless labour are available in good centres which could be epidural anaesthesia or Entonox or even injectable pain relievers during labour. Again, if she has selected a good standard maternity centre, the option of having the spouse during delivery with her for support will be available which plays a major role in a happy & safe delivery