Articles on birth control

All About Contraception, a Man or Women Must Know

Dr. Jyotsna Gupta, Gynecologist/Obstetrician
There are different methods of contraception, including:Long-acting reversible contraception, such as an implant, or an intra uterine deviceHormonal contraception such as contraceptive pills – “the pill”, the injection and vaginal ringsbarriers methods, such as condoms and diaphragmsFertility awarenessEmergency contraceptionpermanent contraception, such as vasectomy and tubal ligation.LONG-ACTING REVERSIBLE CONTRACEPTIONLong-acting reversible contraception (LARC) is a contraceptive that lasts for a long time. You don’t need to remember it every day or even every intrauterine device (IUD) that lasts five or more yearsan implant under the skin that lasts either three or five years.These types of contraception last longer so are more effective at preventing pregnancy because you don't have to worry about forgetting pills or a condom breaking or coming off.They are “fit and forget” contraception.HORMONAL CONTRACEPTIVES“The Pill" is one of the most popular contraceptive methods The Pill comes in two forms:combined oral contraceptive pillprogestogen-only contraceptive pillBoth are taken daily and are over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy when taken correctly.BARRIER METHODSBarrier methods stop sperm from entering the vagina. There are three main barrier methods of contraception:male condomsfemale condomsdiaphragms.Condoms protect against sexually transmissible infections (STIs) as well as unwanted pregnancy.A diaphragm (with spermicide) is inserted into a woman’s vagina before intercourse. It must always be used with spermicide.FERTILITY AWARENESSFertility awareness is recognising the signs of fertility in a woman’s menstrual cycle. It can be used to understand your own menstrual cycle, plan a pregnancy or avoid a pregnancy.Knowing when you ovulate (release an egg from your ovary). Avoiding intercourse during ovulation periods and knowing your safe days also helps in avoiding pregnancy.For a regular period of 28 days, it is considered that ovulation takes place in mid of the cycle and day 8th to 19th days are considered fertile days.  If your menstrual cycle is irregular, the success rate of this method decreases drastically.  EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTIONWe have two options for emergency contraception - the emergency contraceptive pill (ECP) or a copper IUD.Emergency contraception can be used to prevent pregnancy after you have had sex when:you haven't used protectionyour normal contraception fails e.g. condom splitsyou have missed more than one contraceptive pillyou have been vomiting or had diarrhoea while on the pillyou have been forced to have sex without contraception.WHAT IS PERMANENT CONTRACEPTION?Permanent contraception is sterilisation that permanently prevents pregnancy. The procedure for men is a vasectomy and for women it is tubal ligation.

Tips for a Safe Pregnancy and Post Pregnancy Care

Dr. Sonica Chugh, Gynecologist/Obstetrician
Carrying your baby in your womb is the most beautiful experience and a precious period that a mother can enjoy in her life time. Concern for your baby’s health, well being and one’s own health is key to have a safe and healthy pregnancy.Diet during Pregnancy:Good nutrition during pregnancy ensures your baby gets the right start. Small, frequent and healthy meals containing folate, iron, calcium, zinc and omega-3 fatty acid should be taken. Plenty of water in between the meals is good for you and your baby. You don’t need to eat for two, rather your calorie intake during first six months should be more or less the same (pre pregnancy state), while increase in only 200 calorie/day during the last three months is recommended.Working women can take nuts and fruit salads as mid meal snacks and homemade lunch instead of going out to the mall or restaurant for lunch. Road travel of any kind is safe, provided, you are careful of bumpy roads and unruly traffic. You have to be more careful if there is associated high blood pressure, diabetes or history of previous premature delivery.Exercise, Meditation and Yoga:Pregnancy is not a time to start a rigorous regime or to gain or lose weight. A normal walk of 20-30 minutes without getting exhausted will help. Deep breathing exercises in fresh air are recommended. Yoga should also be a part of your life as it relaxes and calms you and your baby throughout the pregnancy. This also relieves tension and also builds up stamina by increasing circulation which enhances immunity and health. Light kegels exercises (Pelvic floor exercises) prepare you for easy child birth and labour management. Post Pregnancy Care: First 40 days are meant for you to recuperate, gain strength and bond with your baby. Resting and eating well is important during this time. Although rest may not be easy for you and with the newborn baby as you have to feed every two hours and change diapers frequently. Your mum, mum-in-law or trained maids can be of help during this period.Breastfeed exclusively for six months. You need to have a good diet during pregnancy (calories intake would increase to 330 calories/day). Therefore immediate and fast weight reduction should not be targeted. Eating healthy food will only reduce weight sensibly.Opt for moderate intensity physical activity, walk for 25-30 minutes, do abs exercise, pelvic floor exercise and stretching without resuming high impact activity post delivery. If your delivery has been uncomplicated it will help your body regain its normal strength. Gentle body massage will also help you and your baby. Do not resume your normal working routine or a heavy gym schedule immediately after delivery.

The Unmet need for Contraception in India!

Dr. Neelam Nath Bhatia, General Physician
26th September Is World Contraceptive Day & India Needs More Awareness.We were 1 billion in 1999 and we are 1.3 billion now in 2016. Why is one billion figure is worth its might- to cause a scare or to remind us about our depleting resources like water, food, and polluted air?Also because Dev Anand made a movie around same time titled 100 Crore to remind us about our might to Fight Corruption!If a qualified doctor happens to work in a one amongst thousands of rural villages right within Delhi/ NCR ,the harsh reality of numbers stares at us. No family has less than 4- 5 children and women are married at less than 18,the official age ,they have kids one after another every year in a row,by the time they are 25 , they are anemic mothers along with malnourished kids hanging around them but not willing to go to school despite education being made free.Still, it is our duty to guide these people, being visited by Government Vans to give them advice for free.Nobody offers them a Cafeteria approach to choose.Every contraceptive does not suit all women. It cannot be robotic.Why I wrote women here? Do men share no responsibility about family planning matters? The harsh reality is Yes.There are Myths associated with Male sterilizations, though medically it is the Safest for man and his family as Abdomen is Not involved. It is No Cut Vasectomy and the man walks out of clinic as if no procedure has been done, ready to go to work the same very day ,including lifting weights etc.Compare this with keyhole surgery of tubal ligation (safest choice for a woman who has completed her family) It looks like 1 stitch operation , but without sounding scary about the surgery, local anesthesia is given and abdomen is bloated up with gas to see tubes through a machine and bands are tied on both tubes one after another. Like any abdominal surgery, there is pain afterward , the woman is advised Not to Lift heavy weights for about 2 weeks lest the bands come out and Operation is a Failure.For temporary contraception, Pills, Condoms ( protection against STDs also ) are suggested but side effects are - Condoms have 20% failure rate,pills have side effects associated with hormones ( more on that later in another article)IUCD-Intrauterine Contraceptive Device is fairly good provided it is inserted to women under hygienic conditions & she does not suffer from heavy periods.I-pill means Only Emergency pill, it is loaded with hormones and can make regular cycle as erratic.Some girls have become habitual of taking it as a routine.Similarly, OCs should Not be given for more than 6 months at a stretch.A recent introduction is an injection for 5 years. This injection is the one being given every 3 months to avoid pregnancy. It is for women who forget to take a pill every day.Injection has hormone Progesterone. The woman is loaded with a dose for 3 months instead of a low dose to be taken daily. These women tend to get an Early Menopause & other conditions related to high doses of hormones. Motivate as many women as possible for safer procedures like Laprascopic Ligation / IUCD after asking them the details about their complex problems.One Happy woman may Not Share her Experience but another unhappy woman with wrongly fitted IUCD in a Van by Inexperienced Nurse/Health Worker is going to badmouth to entire Mohalla about bad effects of IUCD/Ligations.

5 Reasons - Why Your Wife May Seem Cranky During Pregnancy and Why You Should Just Smile

Dr. Himani Gupta, Gynecologist/Obstetrician
The fact that you're here means you have been through or are currently in a similar situation. During pregnancy, your partner will change, as I'm sure most of you have already noticed by now. Coming home from work and opening that main door has become a game of potluck, you do not know what's on the other side of it. And I'm sure you have heard this from a lot of people but here it is- it's not her fault, it's the hormones! Hormones are chemicals our glands secrete into our body that get to control things, all kinds of things. When a woman becomes pregnant, these hormones go into hyper drive to create the perfect environment for the baby. And while they are at it, they also cause the following changes- Nausea and vomiting This is the earliest symptom of pregnancy. Hormonal changes of pregnancy are again responsible for it. It usually subsides by the 4th month. At times it may be prolonged due to which women will require to take medicines for many months.Word to the Husband Remember the last time you had to take an antacid as you were having nausea and vomiting as a result of eating outside? Now imagine your wife having the same feeling for a period of 2-3 months.Pain 'No pain, no gain.'  This age old saying is absolutely true for pregnancy. Whether delivery is normal or Cesarean some amount of pain will be experienced even with our newest medicines. She needs to undergo repeated blood tests, gynecological check ups, and has to get numerous vaccinations.Word to the HusbandHow many of us keep postponing health check ups, dental treatment for fear of pain?Change in Eating and Sleeping Habits When a woman gets married, she may enter a new realm of eating and cultural habits. What is eaten, the way it is cooked, eating time table, all may be entirely different from what she is used to since her birth. Add to that the increasing demands of pregnancy. She may experience craving for odd food items at times. Her sleeping habits may also change. Increasing abdominal girth makes it difficult for her to adopt a comfortable posture. Baby movements may keep her awake or wake her up frequently during sleep.All these things will overwhelm her.Word to the Husband You can start by acknowledging the fact that she still keeps smiling despite all these changes. Get her one meal per day of her choice. The way she has always liked and share it with her. Make sure you do whatever you can to get her comfortable when she wants to sleep.Weight gain As pregnancy advances she is bound to gain weight. Growing fetus, placenta, uterus and many other factors are responsible for this. During each doctor visit, first thing that will be asked of her 'Have you gained weight?' Healthy weight gain is necessary for a healthy pregnancy. Then again it comes with its own discomforts. Feeling of bloating, backache, swelling in legs, all are part of the package. Even after delivery, returning to pre-pregnancy weight may not be easily achievable for many women.Word to the Husband Empathy, sympathy and understanding will work for you. Accept the changes in her and help her do the same.Pregnancy MarksPregnancy is going to leave its tell tale signs behind. Things like loss of hair will recover, pigmentation on face will also disappear with time and treatment. But stretch marks is the main concern. With our newer skin treatments it is possible that they appear less and can be made to go away to a certain extent. But even for a short period, her appearance and way of dressing may change.Word to the HusbandInner beauty and qualities of a person matter most in journey with your life partner. Tell her that she is the most beautiful woman that has walked in to your life at every opportunity that you get.Put all this together & you’ve got someone who needs your help & support, however difficult it might be for you at times. So you’ll have to bite your lip, do a lot of agreeing & apologising, and keep telling yourself that she’s literally out of control. This is a hard time for her too. Things will get less confusing once you slowly learn to gauge her mood. Remember to always ask her what she needs.Talk to her. Be with her. Support and love her. 

Pregnancy Diet: Things You Need to Know!

Dr. M.L.Kothari, Pediatrician
Foods to eatDuring pregnancy, the goal is to be eating nutritious foods most of the time, Krieger told Live Science. To maximize prenatal nutrition, she advises emphasizing the following five food groups: fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and dairy products. When counseling pregnant women, Krieger recommends they fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables, a quarter of it with whole grains and a quarter of it with a source of lean protein, and to also have a dairy product at every meal. Fruits and vegetables: Pregnant women should focus on fruits and vegetables, particularly during the second and third trimesters, Krieger said. Get between five and 10 "tennis ball"-size servings of produce every day, she said. These colorful foods are low in calories and filled with fiber, vitamins and minerals. Lean protein: Pregnant women should include good protein sources at every meal to support the baby's growth, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, tofu, cheese, milk and nuts, Krieger said. Whole grains are an important source of energy in the diet, and they also provide fiber, iron and B-vitamins. At least half of a pregnant woman's carbohydrate choices each day should come from whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta or breads and brown rice, Krieger said. Dairy: Aim for 3 to 4 servings of dairy foods a day, Krieger suggested, such as milk, yogurt and cheese, which provide good dietary sources of calcium, protein and vitamin D. In addition to a healthy diet, pregnant women also need a daily prenatal vitamin to obtain some of the nutrients that are hard to get from foods alone, such as folic acid and iron, according to ACOG. For women who take chewable prenatal vitamins, Krieger advised checking the product labels because chewables might not have sufficient iron levels in them.Foods to avoidAlcohol: Avoid alcohol during pregnancy, Krieger advised. Alcohol in the mother's blood can pass directly to the baby through the umbilical cord. Heavy use of alcohol during pregnancy has been linked with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, a group of conditions that can include physical problems, as well as learning and behavioral difficulties in babies and children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Fish with high levels of mercury: Seafood such as swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish are high in levels of methyl mercury, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and should be avoided. Methyl mercury is a toxic chemical that can pass through the placenta and can be harmful to an unborn baby's developing brain, kidneys and nervous system. Unpasteurized food: According to the USDA, pregnant women are at high risk of getting sick from two different types of food poisoning: listeriosis, caused by the Listeriabacteria, and toxoplasmosis, an infection caused by a parasite.The CDC reports that Listeria infection may cause miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm labor, and illness or death in newborns. To avoid listeriosis, the USDA recommends forgoing the following foods during pregnancy: Unpasteurized (raw) milk and foods made from it, such as feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined cheeses, queso blanco and queso fresco. Pasteurization involves heating a product to a high temperature to kill harmful bacteria. Hot dogs, luncheon meats and cold cuts unless heated before eating to kill any bacteria. Store-bought deli salads, such as ham salad, chicken salad, tuna salad and seafood salad. Unpasteurized refrigerated meat spreads or pates.Raw meat: A mother can pass a Toxoplasma infection on to her baby, which can cause problems such as blindness and mental disability later in life, reports the CDC. To avoid toxoplasmosis, the USDA recommends avoiding the following foods during pregnancy: Rare, raw or undercooked meats and poultry. Raw fish, such as sushi, sashimi, ceviches and carpaccio.Raw and undercooked shellfish, such as clams, mussels, oysters and scallops.Some foods may increase a pregnant woman's risk for other types of food poisoning, including illness caused by salmonella and E. coli bacteria. lists these foods to avoid during pregnancy, and why they pose a threat. Raw or undercooked eggs, such as soft-cooked, runny or poached eggs. Foods containing undercooked eggs, such as raw cookie dough or cake batter, tiramisu, chocolate mousse, homemade ice cream, homemade eggnog, Hollandaise sauce. Raw or undercooked sprouts, such as alfalfa, clover. Unpasteurized juice or cider.Pregnancy diet misconceptions:Morning sickness: When a mother-to-be is experiencing morning sickness, the biggest mistake she can make is thinking that if she doesn't eat, she'll feel better, Krieger said. The exact causes of morning sickness are not known, but it may be caused by hormonal changes or lower blood sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic. It can bring on waves of nausea and vomiting in some women, especially during the first three months of pregnancy. And "it's definitely not happening only in the morning," Krieger said. "It's any time of day." It's better to eat small amounts of foods that don't have an odor, since smells can also upset the stomach, she suggested.Food cravingsIt is common for women to develop a sudden urge or a strong dislike for a food during pregnancy. Some common cravings are for sweets, salty foods, red meat or fluids, Krieger said. Often, a craving is a body's way of saying it needs a specific nutrient, such as more protein or additional liquids to quench a thirst, rather than a particular food, she said. Eating for twoWhen people say that a pregnant woman is "eating for two," it doesn't mean she needs to consume twice as much food or double her calories." A woman is not eating for two during her first trimester," Krieger said. During the first three months, Krieger tells women that their calorie needs are basically the same as they were before pregnancy, because weight gain is recommended to be between 1 and 4 pounds in this early stage of pregnancy. Krieger typically advises pregnant women to add 200 calories to their usual dietary intake during the second trimester, and to add 300 calories during their third trimester when the baby is growing quickly. Weight gain during pregnancy, "Weight gain during pregnancy often has an ebb and a flow over the nine months," Krieger said. It's hard to measure where pregnancy weight is going, she said, adding that a scale does not reveal whether the pounds are going to a woman's body fat, baby weight or fluid gains. When it comes to pregnancy weight gain, Krieger advises mothers-to-be to look at the big picture: During regular prenatal checkups, focus on that the baby is growing normally rather than worrying about the number on a scale. The total number of calories needed per day during pregnancy depends on a woman's height, her weight before becoming pregnant, and how active she is on a daily basis. In general, underweight women need more calories during pregnancy; overweight and obese women need fewer of them. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) guidelines for total weight gain during a full-term pregnancy recommend that: Underweight women, who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) below 18.5, should gain 28 to 40 lbs. (12.7 to 18 kilograms). Normal weight women, who have a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9, should gain 25 to 35 lbs. (11.3 to 15.8 kg). Overweight women, who have a BMI of 25.0 to 29.9, should gain 15 to 25 lbs. (6.8 to 11.3 kg).Obese women, who have a BMI of 30.0 and above, should gain 11 to 20 lbs. (5 to 9 kg). Rate of weight gain: The IOM guidelines suggest that pregnant women gain between 1 and 4.5 lbs. (0.45 to 2 kg) total during their first trimester of pregnancy. The guidelines recommend that underweight and normal-weight women gain, on an average, about 1 pound every week during their second and third trimesters of pregnancy, and that overweight and obese women gain about half a pound every week in their second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Twins: The IOM guidelines for pregnancy weight gain when a woman is having twins are as follows:Normal weight: 37 to 54 lbs. (16.7 to 24.5 kg). Overweight: 31 to 50 lbs. (14 to 22.6 kg). Obese: 25 to 42 lbs. (11.3 to 19 kg). This article is for informational purposes only, and is not meant to offer medical advice.

Reasons Why Pregnancy Sex Is Not Only Healthy, but Why It Might Be Even Better Than Before.

Dr. Amar Deep, Homeopath
1. An easier labor and recoveryHaving an orgasm increases the contractions in your pelvic floor, which help to strengthen the muscles you’ll need for labor and after delivery.2. Less bathroom breaksFeel like you always have to pee? Frequent trips to the bathroom, even leaking when you sneeze or laugh can happen when you’re pregnant.  Plus, as your baby gets bigger and presses on your bladder, it can be even more uncomfortable. The good news is that the same muscles that you’ll be strengthening for your labor can also help with the flow of urine.3. Complication preventionAccording to a Danish study , frequent sex may help prevent pre-eclampsia. Researchers believe it’s because of a protein found in sperm that can regulate the body’s immune system. Yet because the cause of pre-eclampsia is unknown, it’s important to keep your prenatal visits and talk to your doctor about your risk.4. Lowered blood pressureAlthough your blood pressure may be lower right after having sex, it’s only temporary so the cure isn’t sex all the time. Since high blood pressure can be serious for both you and your baby, it’s important to work with your doctor on ways to prevent or control your blood pressure.5. Better orgasmsSince your body’s nerve endings are more sensitive, your nipples and clitoris are engorged, and there’s more estrogen drawing blood flow to your pelvis, it’s usually easier to achieve orgasm and they’re also longer and stronger, women who had trouble having an orgasm prior to pregnancy may now find they no longer do.  6. Improved self-esteemWith all the changes that happen during pregnancy, it can feel that your body is no longer your own. Yet having sex can help restore your body confidence and positive feelings about yourself.7. Stress reductionAlthough pregnancy is usually a happy time, it’s normal to worry about things like work, finances and how your life will change after your baby is born. Oxytocin, the love hormone that your body releases when you have an orgasm, can help to negate some of that stress and also help you sleep better.8. Improved connectionsHaving frequent sex now will help strengthen the intimate relationship and bond you have with your partner and establish a healthy habit for the future.9. Preparation for laborIf you’re full-term or past your due date, having sex won’t put you into labor,but it can help your body prepare because semen contains prostaglandins which can help ripen the cervix.

Nutrients and Hormonal Imbalance in Men

Dr. Priyam Sharma, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Do you feel tired and irritated, suffer from a low libido and low testosterone levels, and seem to be losing hair along with your temper? Often people confuse these symptoms with signs of aging, but they can also be the cause of a hormonal imbalance in men.Though aging is a known trigger of hormonal imbalance, a poor diet, lack of exercise and an unhealthy lifestyle can also trigger hormonal imbalance. The good news is the hormones can be controlled and imbalances can be set right with a few changes to your diet. Getting the right amount of food and nutrition in the body can reverse your hormonal problem, and help you optimize your health. So, start making the following changes now.Include calcium-rich, healthy foods like milk, cheese, leafy veggies, almonds, broccoli and kale to your diet.Hormonal imbalances can cause kidney stones, fractures, and weakened bones; by increasing the intake of calcium-rich foods, you can keep all these side effects away.Increased consumption of Omega 3 fatty acids like oily fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, soybeans, tofu, winter squash and olive oil will help in maintaining the balance of the hormones in the body.Vitamin D is an essential nutrient which can help maintain a healthy balance of hormones in the system. Milk, eggs, fish and cod liver oil are rich in vitamin D. You can also get Vitamin D by standing under direct sunlight for a few minutes every day.Increase intake of small, medium and long chain fatty acids. Avocados, coconut oil, salmon and some dairy products contain essential fatty acids in abundance, which are the building blocks for male hormone production in the body.These are some safe and natural ways to balance and restore hormones in the body. The right balance of micronutrients and macronutrients will help produce optimal hormone levels, so eat up and be healthy!

10 Things to Avoid in Pregnancy

Dr. Sujoy Dasgupta, Gynecologist/Obstetrician
Pregnancy is a journey of a woman from womanhood to motherhood. Each and every pregnancy is precious and so women usually remain anxious about their lifestyle and food habits. Most of the pregnant mothers do not hesitate to sacrifice their comfort and habit, only to keep their baby safe. Here are the few tips which describes what are the common food items that must be avoided in pregnancy.  1) Some fishesFishes are integral part of most of the non-vegetarian Indian dishes. Majority of the fishes are not harmful, rather most of them (particularly fresh water fishes) are rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acid, that helps in brain development of the baby.You must take those. But remember, always take well cooked fishes. Avoid raw fishes like “Sushi” as they are likely to contain bacteria and parasites, causing stomach upset, that can lead to early labour and even damage the baby by causing premature delivery. Avoid refrigerated and smoked sea fish and other seafood as they are likely to be infected with a harmful bacteria, called listeria. Listeria infection is notorious for causing fever and infection in mother. More importantly, it can pass into the baby causing miscarriage, serious infection and even death, either before delivery or immediately after delivery.Avoid fishes containing mercury and other pollutants,particularly, big fish like shark, shellfish,  salmon, tilefish, king mackerel etc because they contain higher levels of mercury which can harm an baby’s immature nervous system. 2) Some dairy productsWhile intake of properly pasteurized and boiled milk is highly recommended, if you can tolerate it, because of high energy, carbohydrate, protein, fat and mineral content; raw milk, unpasteurized milk should be totally avoided, as they may contain harmful bacteria, particularly listeria, as mentioned earlier. Similarly, soft cheeses should not be taken in pregnancy.  3) Alcohol and smokingExcessive alcohol in pregnancy can cause ‘fetal alcohol syndrome’, characterized by abnormalities in face, heart, brain etc and evenmental retardation. These babies are likely to have growth disturbances. . Smoking can cause miscarriage and low birth weight of the baby that may even cause still birth. Passive smoking is also equally important. So, both mother and father should avoid smoking. 4) CaffeineExcessive caffeinated food can be a cause of miscarriage. Do not take more than 2 cups (or 200 mg) of coffee per day. 5) Under-cooked meat and eggsThese can cause food poisoning, as well as listeriosis. Also, there is chance of transmission of a parasite, toxoplasma, which can cause miscarriage, still birth and abnormalities in the baby (problems in heart, brain, eye, intelligence etc). Cook eggs until the yellow and white parts are firm. It’s better to avoid restaurant foods. 6) Unwashed fruits and vegetablesThese items may carry certain bacteria that can lead to stomach upset. They are also known cause of causing listeriosis, as explained above. Avoid long refrigerated vegetables and salads made in restaurant. Raw vegetable sprouts, often taken for high minerals and protein, should be avoided as they may also harbor harmful bacterias.   7. Some juicesAvoid fresh and raw juices as they may contain harmful bacteria like listeria and even toxoplasma. Choose packaged juices as they arepasteurized and are kept under refrigeration.8. Fatty FoodsWhile some fat is needed for brain growth and energy of the baby, excess fat may cause excessive weight gain that may increase the risk of high blood pressure and even diabetes, both can affect mother and baby. Mothers with excess weight are more likely to have premature delivery, problems during delivery and infection. Again repeated cooking of fatty food should be avoided, as it is more harmful to both.9. Herbal supplementsBecause their safety during pregnancy is not known, it’s best to avoid herbal supplements during pregnancy. This also includes herbal tea. . 10. DrugsDo not take any drugs without consulting your doctors, whatever problem you are having.Even avoid excessive vitamin use as excess dose of vitamin A can damage the heart, face and brain of your baby and make it mentally handicapped. Some painkillers can cause heart defects in the baby. Some antibiotics may also be unsafe.

Pregnancy and You – a Guide to Healthy Eating

Dr. Devjani Das (Ganguly), Gynecologist/Obstetrician
Pregnancy is a normal physiological journey through motherhood. In the absence of any complications, apart from some screening tests and monitoring of the general health of mother and baby, little else needs to be done in managing this condition. Majority of pregnancies are uncomplicated, and have a happy ending with the delivery of a healthy baby.It is nevertheless important to optimise a mother’s health during pregnancy, as this has a direct bearing on the baby’s health and wellbeing. This can be achieved by some simple measures, and watching what you eat is one of them. Keeping yourself hydrated with a good fluid intake, at least two litres a day, eating abundant dark green leafy vegetables, fruits, fish, red meat and milk, would help your pregnancy. Folic acid supplementation in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy helps to prevent abnormalities of brain and spinal cord.It is also important to know what foods to avoid in pregnancy.High doses of vitamin A can be harmful for the baby. Therefore vitamin A supplementation, and consuming liver and liver products in pregnancy should be avoided.Infections transmitted through food can be avoided by avoiding consumption of unpasteurised milk, soft cheese, pate, uncooked or undercooked ready meals. Raw, half-boiled, and partially cooked eggs, mayonnaise; raw or partially cooked meat and poultry should also be avoided. Prescribed and over the counter medications should only be used if benefits outweigh risks, as the safety profile of many such medicines in pregnancy, is yet to be established. Therefore watching what you choose to eat can have a significant impact on your pregnancy and its outcome. As Asian women, we are also susceptible to developing diabetes in pregnancy, therefore avoiding excess of high calorie food such as chocolates, chips, fizzy drinks, may also be helpful.So here’s wishing you a Happy Women’s Day, and a safe and happy journey through pregnancy and motherhood.

Why Pregnancy Makes You Beautiful

Dr. Rushabh Mehta, Gynecologist/Obstetrician
I'm pregnant. Why don't I feel great?Pregnancy can bring on a flood of conflicting emotions. Even though you're overjoyed by the new life growing inside you, there may be days when you're so frustrated by your body getting bigger that you can't wait for the whole thing to be over. As your breasts grow, abdomen swells, stretch marks appear and your waistline disappears, you may be wondering what's going on with your body. Women who've had the pregnancy blues often say it's hardest in the beginning when you may just look like all you've done is put on weight. It does get easier into the second trimester though, as your pregnancy progresses. With all the changes happening to your body, it's natural to sometimes wish that you had your pre-pregnancy body back. But there are plenty of pregnancy beauty bonuses that will help you to look and feel great.What pleasant surprises does pregnancy have in store?Brings out the kindness in people: the sight of a pregnant woman often makes people considerate towards you. People tend to let you jump the queue or hold doors open for you. They give up seats on trains and buses. And almost everyone smiles at you. Enjoy it while it lasts!Fast-growing fingernails: around the fourth month, your nails may start to grow faster than usual. Pregnancy hormones get the credit for this, but also the blame. Fingernails may become softer or more brittle during pregnancy, and you may notice tiny grooves forming along the base of the nail. They should return to normal within a few months after giving birth.A fabulous head of hair: during the second trimester, you might notice that your hair looks healthier and thicker. You're not actually growing more but, thanks to pregnancy hormones, you're just losing less.That celebrated "glow": also during the second trimester, you may notice that your skin looks brighter than usual. Hormones are partly responsible, but an increase in blood volume also brings more blood to the skin, giving it a radiant look.Bigger breasts: it's common to go up a cup size or two during your pregnancy. Be ready to go on a shopping spree and get new inner wears.A very happy husband: believe it or not, your husband may be loving your new shape. Men tend to see the sensuality in blossoming breasts and soft curves. The sight of your pregnant form is a constant reminder of his virility too, and we all know how important that is to men.How can I look my best during pregnancy?Whether or not you find consolation in the pregnancy perks above, there are lots of things you can do to make yourself feel better about your new body:Emphasise the positive: if your legs are gorgeous, flaunt them in skirts, dresses, tights, leggings or jeggings. Upper arms like a supermodel's? Show them off with a sleeveless top, kurta or choli. Proud of your new cleavage? Highlight it with flattering tops.Spoil yourself occasionally: treat yourself to a pedicure, a manicure, a massage, a new lipstick or some lacy underwear.Exercise: feeling fit and strong will make you feel better about the way you look and help you bounce back after the birth. Exercising outdoors will lift your spirits too. Find out which exercises are the safest and most effective in pregnancy.