"Pregnancy is a kind of miracle. Especially so in that it proves that a man and woman can conspire to force God to create a new soul."- Robert Anton Wilson

“It is not until you become a mother that your judgment slowly turns to compassion and understanding” – Erma Bombeck

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Knocked Up : Keeping Myself and Our Baby Healthy




After I have learned that I am indeed pregnant, I told and promised myself to take an extra precaution to have a healthy baby.

Here are the basic things/activities I usually do to keep us both healthy:


1. Nutrition and Supplements

I am not a big fan of meat (especially fatty pork) but I really have to eat it because I need to have a balance diet for every meal to keep myself and the baby healthy. There’s no problem about vegetables, sea foods and fruits because I love to eat them everyday. Good thing, my Sweetie can cook good and healthy food for me. Now that I am on my 5th month, I eat a lot more than before. Like I can eat 2-3 servings of rice. But, the doctor said it's normal because I am eating for two now.

During my first trimester, I had food cravings like ice cream, fruits, something really sweet, pizza and pasta. But I always keep in mind to eat nutritious food that will contribute to our baby's growth and development; I don't want him/her to be malnourished or having birth defects later on... (I hope and pray not) I was told by my mom and paternal aunt not to eat too much or control the amount of my food intake (especially carbo, salty, sweet and fatty foods) if I want to have a normal delivery for my baby. Otherwise, I'll be having my caesarian cut to expect on April (geeezzz! I hate it!).


2. Pre-natal Health Care

It is very essential to have a pre-natal check up once we confirmed that we are pregnant. So after my pregnancy check-up, my Sweetheart and I discussed about which hospital am I going, for my monthly check up. I am so proud of him as he would like to be present for every monthly check-up. He starts exercising his responsible fatherhood and I am glad that I have chosen the right guy and father to my baby.

My 1st pre-natal check up was October 19, 2009 (a month after my pregnancy test cum check-up). I weighed 62.8 kilos, my blood pressure was normal (118/71). November 16 was my follow-up check up and my weight was 65.1 kilos already (wow! I gained weight). Blood pressure was 103/64... not bad.

On my first and second month consultations, I was ultrasound to see if the baby's healthy and to find the exact weeks and length. I glanced at my Sweetheart and he looked happy, while the doctor was pointing at the monitor explaining that the baby is in good health.

I have a monthly urine exam and I am glad to have a normal results. My three (3) blood tests were all negative. Those were for HIV/AIDS, syphilis, and hepatitis B tests which were all taken at the same day on October 19, 2009.

My OBgynecologist is Dr. Wanchai (he's a Thai) and the hospital is Nawaminthra. We decided to choose this hospital because it is just 5-10 minutes away from our home, more accessible both by vehicle or walk. It is necessary to choose a hospital nearby so anytime unexpected happened to us, pregnant moms; we can just arrive easily at the nearby hospital and be treated immediately. Well, of course, it is difficult to find a good hospital near us to meet our standards. Because, we also need to consider the budget, cleanliness or sanitation and services. I am glad that the hospital we have chosen meets them all. The location is near, hospital bill/check-up charges, laboratories exams, medicines are really cheap as compare to others, cleanliness/sanitation is excellent, and services are really great. Plus, the doctor and some other nurses can speak english. Isn't it wonderful? I strongly believe so!


3. Iron and other supplements

I was advised by my attending physician to take one multivitamins and one folic acid after meal every morning. The supplements are superb and I have no allergies taking those medicines. I used to take calcium lactate tablet and iron capsule each day on my first pregnancy but I found out that it is just the same nutrients as what I am taking now.

Iron is good for pregnant women. About 30 mg of iron every day is essential. Why? Because iron is needed to make hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying component of red blood cells. Red blood cells circulate throughout the body to deliver oxygen to all its cells.

Without enough iron, the body can't make enough red blood cells and the body's tissues and organs won't get the oxygen they need to function well. So it's especially important for pregnant women to get enough iron in their daily diets — for themselves and their growing babies.

Iron can be found in various kinds of food like red meat, eggs, salmon, tofu, dark green leafy vegetables and many more.


4. Fluids

I am drinking more liquid intake than before as I frequently urinate, thirsty at times and to avoid urinary tract infection (UTI). I need 8-10 glasses of water everyday. Plus I have to drink soya milk twice a day. I also like fresh fruit juices. I am fond of drinking black soya bean milk is good for the body, a good source of calcium and protein. Calcium is needed to make the bones and teeth strong. Especially now the baby is also getting calcium from me. Drinking enough water everyday can help prevent constipation and dehydration.


5. Exercise

Likewise, it is a must to have a daily simple and easy exercises. There's no excuse for pregnant woman like me to ignore the importance of daily exercise. Walking exercise is a common activity of most preggy mom because it is costless, easy to do, and inevitable. Of course, I can't just sit down, sleep or stay in bed long time. It is not healthy and when I tried not to move, I experienced leg cramps, muscle pain all over my body, back pain, dizziness and headache. Walking or simple, easy and safe exercises will not cause harmful effects to my body. Infact, exercises is good for the heart, mind and body (that applies to people from all walks of life).

I usually go out every morning and/or in the afternoon just to walk around. It is great that the supermarket and the wet market are just 5 minutes walking distance away from home. It helps because if I wanted something to eat at lunch, all I need to do is buy stuff there, go home and cook it.

Sometimes, if I feel to really move to the groove, I would play my RnB dance hits (to the tune of right round, poker face, don't cha, my humps, etc) via mp3 or my laptop then, I am ready to dance and perform a basic routine exercises (leg, arms, head, hips, shoulders, rotation, etc).

I also considered light household chores as one way of exercising. Like, instead of machine wash, use my hands to wash our soiled clothes. It is fun, easy, and clean exercise. By hand washing, clothes are cleaner, smells good, colored clothes are protected, delicate clothes are prioritized, white clothes are really white hahaha and cost efficient.

Exercising during pregnancy has been shown to be extremely beneficial. Regular exercise can help:

* prevent excess weight gain
* reduce pregnancy related problems, like back pain, swelling, and constipation
* improve sleep
* increase energy
* improve outlook
* prepare for labor
* lessen recovery time

Low-impact, moderate-intensity exercise activities (such as walking and swimming) are great choices. Of course, not all pregnant women can opt to have an exercise like what I am doing. It depends if the pregnancy is not delicate, then, it is good to follow what I am doing. But if not, doctor's advice is still the best. S/He might advice or provide some exercises designed for delicate pregnancy.


6. Sleep and Rest

It is very, very, very important to have enough sleep and rest. I cannot just do the household chores all day and all night. But, they said too much of something is bad as well. So we must remember not to sleep long time too because we need to balance between rest/sleep time and exercise time. In my own experiences, as my tummy becomes bigger, I find it hard to sleep comfortably. So what am I doing to make me sleep soundly? First, I tried to take a shower at night, it feels really good to sleep neat and clean. Second, I will relax myself and clear my thoughts. Third, I will choose the very comfortable position. Lying on either right or left side with my knees bent is likely to be the most comfortable position in pregnancy.

Now that I am 5 months and 2 weeks pregnant, I can feel the baby is moving inside me whenever I tried to sleep. Sometimes, I feel so jumpy because I don't expect the time when the baby moves around inside me. It make me smile and happy, knowing that my baby is healthy as I could feel his/her move. Sleeping with soft music (love songs, instrumental and classical with minimal volume) is good to make your mind at peace and your baby inside too.


7. Some things to AVOID during pregnancy

Alcohol and Nicotine

I must be responsible for what I eat, drink or anything that I will put in my stomach that will harm our baby. Good news! I don't drink and smoke ever since. I mean I know how to smoke and I know what the alcohol tastes like... but, they are not my game. I am aware but I simply don't try them to be part of my life and it is a CHOICE. I wanna have a healthy life style so that I have a long life. Thanks to God, I am not sickly too. I don't need to take any life time medications everyday. It is one benefit of eating a balanced diet (vegetables, fruits, sea foods and meat-once in awhile).

Recreational/Illegal drugs

I don't use and I hate drugs (marijuana, shabu, cocaine, heroine, etc.) because any of them can damage the brain and internal organs. In pregnancy, this is really a no no because the baby might have a birth defects or health problem.

Caffeine

I am a bit guilty of this, as I am a coffee drinker. I love Starbucks a lot! But now, I sacrificed this habit of drinking brewed or dark coffee rich in caffeine for my baby. The doctor said, I can drink coffee but I must limit it to one cup a day. Same goes with the tea, colas and other soft drinks with caffeine. If I am craving for a coffee, I choose the decaffeinated ones, limited to one cup and must not be everyday. I gave up drinking cola and soft drinks.

Food Borne Illnesses

Although eating plenty of healthy foods during pregnancy is good for the baby, I also need to avoid food-borne illnesses, such as listeriosis and toxoplasmosis, which can be life-threatening to an unborn baby and may cause birth defects or miscarriage. This is very scary!

Fish and shellfish can be an extremely healthy part of pregnancy diet (they contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and are high in protein and low in saturated fat), I should avoid eating:

* shark
* swordfish
* king mackerel
* tilefish
* tuna steak

These types of fish may contain high levels of mercury, which can cause damage to the developing brain of a fetus. When eating seafood, limit the food intake and should not be everyday. Most importantly, we must know the advisory about "red tide" because if not, both the mother and the baby will die. When choosing a shellfish, I would pick those shells that are moving and those clumped shells because they are good quality of shellfish.

From the moment, I have learned about my pregnancy, I started thinking not only for own good and safety but, primarily my little one's. I love myself, I love my sweetheart, I love my baby, I love my family and I love being pregnant!




references:

image and other info borrowed from this site
http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_newborn/pregnancy/preg_health.html#
http://www.babycenter.com/

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