AV 13th February 2016

Page 16



Preparing for motherhood

Asian Voice | 13th February 2016




Going through motherhood is probably one of the most life-changing experiences in a woman's life. A woman goes through a series of emotions, from anxiety and fear, to anticipation and excitement, for the arrival of her baby. This could also be a daunting experience for expectant mothers who are awaiting the arrival of their firstborn. They may not have the slightest idea of how to look after their unborn child, as well as their own health. Therefore, this special feature on Preparing for motherhood, will give you an insight on how to take care of yourself during, before and after your pregnancy. Reshma Trilochun

Supplements Folic acid is proven to be essential for pre conception, as well as up to 12 weeks into pregnancy. It is said that women are recommended to take folic acid for ideally three months before conceiving, as well as the first trimester of pregnancy, as it reduces the risk of the baby developing conditions such as spina bifida, which is a condition where the spine does not develop properly. You can also get your folic acid from green leafy vegetables, brown rice, granary bread, as well as breakfast cereals fortified with folic acid. However, one may not be able to get the adequate amount of folic acid only with food, therefore, it may be necessary to consume supplements as well. There are many supplements available at pharmacies and you can speak with a medical expert, such as with your GP or a pharmacist, who can guide you about the right supplement

according to your health and body.


During pregnancy, one has to make sure that they are eating the right food and avoiding consumption of food that can prove harmful for their baby. Pâté, including vegetable pâtés, as well as mould-ripened soft cheeses and soft blue-veined cheeses contain listeria bacteria that cause listeriosis. Although infection is rare with this bacterium, even a mild form of this infection in pregnancy can lead to severe illness in a

newb o r n baby, stillbirth or miscarriage. Avoid consuming brie, camembert, goats' cheese, Danish blue, gorgonzola and roquefort. Pregnant woman should also avoid raw eggs, raw meat, unpasteurised milk, liver, fish, caffeine and alcohol. It is advised

that you also avoid taking any supplements containing vitamin A, high-dose multivitamin supplements and fish liver oil supplements. According to the Food Standards Agency's eatwell plate, your daily meal should consist of a variety of food from the four main food groups; fruits and veg-

etables, starchy food, protein and dairy. However, one must bear in mind that not everyone requires the same diet. What may suitable for someone else’s body and wellbeing may not be appropriate for yourself. So do ensure that you speak to a medical professional who will help you with your dietary requirements.


Exercise is important prior to conceiving, as well as during the pregnancy

Dad friendly facilities

Let’s not neglect the fathers when we speak of motherhood and babies. Fathers support and comfort their wives during this life-changing period, who would go the extra mile to take care of the baby while the mother recuperates after childbirth. However, many fathers may find it difficult to do the basic necessities in public, such as changing the nappies of their baby in public, as not many safe and hygienic changing facilities are available where men can change their babies. The Dad Network, the UK’s most pioneering fatherhood support has launched a campaign for more dad-friendly baby changing facilities. The founder of The Dad Network, Al Ferguson said, “Society is going through a cultural shift seeing more and more dads take active, hands on roles in parenting and public facilities need to reflect this.” Inspired by Hollywood star Ashton Kutcher, who campaigned

However, that does not mean you engage in extreme sports during your pregnancy; that will be harmful for yourself and your baby. Exercising helps you by giving you the strength to carry the weight you gain during the pregnancy; it prepares you for the physical demands of labour and birth, as well as helps getting back in shape after childbirth easier. It also improves your mood, reducing the feelings of anxiety and depression. Exercise gives you an energy boost, as well as helps you to sleep better. It may also reduce your risk of getting some pregnancy complications. While pregnant, once should choose low-impact exercises, such as walking,

in 2015 in the US for dadfriendly baby changing facilities, The Dad Network has created a webpage for dads to list and locate “Dad Friendly Facilities” in the UK. The webpage allows them to upload the name and address, along with a photograph of the place that has the changing facilities, with information whether it is an appropriate place to change nappies or not. Al Ferguson further stated, “We feel that in order for real change to hit the UK, we need to be highlighting both the dad friendly and unfriendly facilities in the hope that businesses will recognise the importance of this issue.”

cycling on am exercise bike, or swimming. These exercises work your lungs and heart without straining your joints. Swimming is ideal during pregnancy as the water makes you feel lighter, and it also eases the swelling is your ankles and feet. Swimming can be carried on right up to your delivery date. Going to Pilates and yoga classes can also help build your strength and make you suppler. Yoga also keeps you toned and relaxed during pregnancy. However, you have to ensure that the Pilates or yoga instructor is qualified to teach pregnant women. During pregnancy, steer clear of rigorous sports and exercise regimes that involve falls or jolts. Avoid mountain biking, skiing, waterskiing and horse riding.

What not to do

When try for a baby, you have to make sure to avoid binge drinking and smoking. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, smokers take longer to conceive. They also suggested that smoking makes a woman's eggs more prone