Pregnancy Care Guide
Preconception check up
How to get pregnant
Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy
Foetal Develpoment
First Trimester
Second Trimester
Third Trimester
Changes in the woman
Check Ups and Tests
Blood Tests
Urine Tests
Tests on the Uterus
Diet and foods for the pregnant
Essential Nutrients
Recommended Daily Diet for the Expectant Woman
Tips for Healthy Eating
Wholesome Eating During the Trimesters
Exercises during pregnancy
Antenatal care
Complications during Pregnancy
Causes of repeated abortions and miscarriage
High Risk pregnancy
Twins and multiple pregnancies
Gestational diabetes
Pregnancy induced hypertension
Bleeding during pregnancy
Preterm or premature labour
Ectopic pregnancy
Rhesus Factor

Antenatal care

To ensure good health of your child, you should know that the care starts even before the child is born. In simple words, it means that every pregnant woman must take good care of herself. For your benefit, certain important points are emphasised here:
Medical Check-up: As soon as you think you are pregnant, get yourself registered at the earliest in an antenatal clinic (ANC) in the nearby hospital/dispensary/health centre/sub-centre. Attend this clinic as advised by the health worker. During these visits, you will be examined thoroughly by the health worker, your height, weight and blood pressure will be taken and certain necessary investigations will also be carried out.

Exercise: Exercise is no less important than fresh air for keeping the body healthy. The routine daily chores of household work can also serve the purpose of providing exercise to the body, as do exercises devised specifically for the purpose. But of course the expectant mother should not lift heavy loads, nor should she attempt anything which will cause excessive fatigue or require too much exertion.

Rest and Sleep: The pregnant woman gets tired comparatively more easily, especially in the first and the last tri­mesters (three month periods of pregnancy). She should provide for sufficient rest in her daily routine. Normally it would be advisable for her to rest daily for eight hours at night and at least two hours in the day time. As the time for delivery draws near, she needs longer periods of rest. She should increase the daily periods of rest to at least 10 hours at night and at least four hours in the day time, making up a total of 14 to 16 hours of rest in every 24 hours. The expectant mother must form the habit of sleeping with her feet resting at slightly higher levels than the rest of the body. On no account should she sleep with the knees bent, nor sit with the legs folded under her as in a, kneeling position. Such positions are likely to obstruct the circulation of blood in the lower regions of the legs, causing those parts to swell.

Diet: Compared to your pre-pregnancy stage, you require at least 50% more food during pregnancy. This is because of a rapidly growing baby inside your uterus. Remember if you eat well, the baby inside eats well and will be born with a good birth weight.
Increase your food intake by at least 50%. Do include lots of green, leafy vegetables (e.g., spinach, methi) for iron; fresh seasonal fruits for vitamins; jaggery for energy and gram ,peas and pulses for proteins-the body building nutrients-in your diet. If possible, take at least 2 glasses of milk and 1-2 eggs every day.
You should also remember that costly food items are not always more nutritious.

Vaccines: You must take injections of Tetanus Toxoid (T.T.) during pregnancy. If it is your first pregnancy, take 2 injections of T.T. with a gap of 4-6 weeks between them. These injections can be taken anytime during pregnancy and are very essential to protect you and your new-born against a deadly disease called Tetanus.
If it is your second pregnancy and it has occurred within 3 years of the first pregnancy, you need to take only one injection of T.T. provided you had taken 2 injections of T.T. in the first pregnancy. If not, you need to take 2 injections.

Medicines: Don't forget to take Folifer (Iron and Folic Acid) tablets. These tablets taken one per day after meals will prevent occurrence of anaemia in pregnancy. Anaemia means that haemoglobin in your blood is low. Iron tablets can cause constipation in some women and can also make the stools black. Do not worry about it. You may need to change the type of iron tablets if constipation persists. Consult the health worker.
If you already suffer from Anaemia, you will require two tablets every day taken 12 hours apart. With this, take care of your diet as advised.
Don't take any medicines unless prescribed by a good, qualified doctor. Similarly, don't get investigations like X-ray and Ultra sound done on your own. All these can be harmful!

Smoking: The babies born to women who are given to smoking are generally smaller in size and lighter in weight. Their deliveries too are generally not easy, and in a large number of cases, the pregnancies end in miscarriages. Even if pregnancies are successfully carried to term, the babies are generally vulnerable to bacterial infections and respiratory diseases. The nicotine from the tobacco can find its way to the foetus, which would induce malformation of certain organs, or defects in the hearts of the babies. Such babies start having chest pains in the very first year of their lives. Women who smoke are subject, in the long run, to haemorrhages during pregnancy.

Drinking:  A baby developing in the womb of a woman who drinks may be defective in one way or another. Defects of heart muscles, fingers, toes, and even faces are commonly observed in such babies. The nose is flattened, the jaws lack their normal contours, the nervous system does not function well, and stammering or stuttering is likely to mar the speech of the child when it grows up.

Travel: There is no reason why a pregnant woman should not travel. But of course certain precautions must be taken. In particular, she should arrange to have enough space to get up and walk about for some time every two hours. It would be advisable for her to avoid travelling by air as far as possible.

Clothing and Footwear: The expectant mother should wear clothes that allow her to move freely without inconve­nience. The breasts must be supported by a well-fitting brassiere ('bra'). Only flat-soled shoes or chappals must be worn, as high-heeled ones make it difficult to keep one's balance.

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