Articles on pregnancy

Hypertension in Pregnancy

Dr. Pallavi Vasal, Gynecologist/Obstetrician
                                                                      Hypertension is defined as high blood pressure (B.P). A person has high blood pressure when the systolic pressure (the top number in BP reading) is greater than 140mmHg and the diastolic pressure (the bottom number) is greater than 90mm Hg.Hypertension can lead to many health problems. During pregnancy severe and uncontrolled hypertension can cause complications to both mother and baby.Causes of high blood pressure in pregnancy -1. Chronic hypertension - is high blood pressure that is present before the lady is pregnant or that occurs in first 20 weeks of pregnancy.2. Gestational hypertension – is high blood pressure that occurs during the second half of pregnancy that is after 20 weeks of pregnancy.3. Pre-eclampsia - is high blood pressure after 20 weeks of pregnancy associated with proteinuria (an abnormal amount of protein in the urine) . Pre-eclampsia is a serious BP disorder which can affect all the organs of a lady.The woman can present with complaints of severe headache, swelling over face and hands, changes in vision, vomiting, pain in upper abdomen or decrease urine output.The RISK of developing pre-eclampsia are more in women who -Are pregnant for the first timeHave had pre-eclampsia in previous pregnancy or have family history of pre-eclampsia.Are 40 years or olderHave multiple pregnancy (more than 1 baby in utero)Have history of chronic hypertension, kidney disease or both.Are obese IVF conceptionHave medical conditions such as diabetes, thrombophilias or lupus.RISKS  of high BP for baby -Growth restrictionPreterm deliveryPlacental abruption that is premature detachment of placenta (afterbirth) from the wall of uterusCaesarean deliveryIntra uterine deathHence it is very important for the lady who is planning to conceive or is pregnant to keep her BP within normal limits.PRECAUTIONS TO BE TAKEN FOR HIGH BP DURING PREGNANCY - Before Pregnancy-Keep the blood pressure under control. Reduce salt intake and do physical exercise. Loose weight if overweight .Lady needs to discuss with her doctor that she wants to become pregnant so that the doctor may change the medication to one which are safe in pregnancy or change the dose of medication if she is trying to conceive. 2) During Pregnancy-Take care of your diet that is a diet which is low in salts (avoid processed foods, pickles, pappad etc) and eat food rich in vitamin C, D and antioxidants.Lifestyle modifications that is exercise regularly .Walk and practice yoga if possible and keep weight gain under control.Avoid alcohol and tobaccoGo for antenatal check ups with your obstetrician and make sure that BP and urine are examined in each checkup. If the lady is feeling unwell any time during pregnancy , consult the doctor immediately.Being proactive and taking care of herself, going for regular prenatal and antenatal check ups, the lady with hypertension can deliver a healthy baby.

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. Foodsafety.gov 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.

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.

Vegetarian Pregnancy Diet

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
What’s that on the telly? It’s an angel sent from GodGrowing in my belly…!!Like a sweet pea in a pod(Malissa  Hatcher)Even though everyone will advise you to eat for two, the average woman does not need any extra calories during the first six months of pregnancy. Your body actually becomes more efficient at extracting the required energy and nutrients from your diet when you're expecting a baby. Even in the last few months, you only need about 200 extra calories per day.Many vegetarian pregnant women worry about the effect their diet may have on their developing baby during pregnancy. However, with careful meal planning, there may be no need for concern."Vegetarian pregnancy diet can provide the mother and baby with all the proper nutrients they need," says Rachele Dependahl, RD, a dietitian at Cedars-Sinai Medical Group in Beverly Hills, Calif.These nine months may be the most challenging months of your life. With your body undergoing a number of changes, you need to be extra careful about yourself as well as your surroundings. And watching your vegetarian pregnancy diet should be on top of your top list.The Pros of  Vegetarian Pregnancy Diet -There are many positive aspects to maintaining a vegetarian diet during pregnancy. For instance, vegetarian sources of protein are easier on the kidneys. And being a vegetarian can help keep tooth decay — a common problem during pregnancy — at bay. In addition, vegetarian eating, in general, lowers the risk of the following conditions:- Obesity- Hypertension- Constipation- Heart disease- Type 2 diabetes- Cancer- GallstonesAnother plus to being a vegetarian, says Martha K. Grodrian, RD, a nutrition therapist at Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, is that "most vegetarian women eat fewer junk foods and a more nutritious diet."The Cons Vegetarian Pregnancy Diet -A vegetarian diet during pregnancy can be a healthy option, though it requires a little more effort."It may take more work and effective meal planning to follow a vegetarian diet that is healthy during pregnancy," says Grodrian. In general, the more foods a vegetarian omits from the diet, the more difficult it is to meet nutrient needs." However, dietary supplements may be able to fill the void.A lacto-ovo vegetarian (one who also eats dairy and eggs) can get all the nutrients she needs for a healthy pregnancy through diet and a multivitamin/mineral supplements. A vegan, on the other hand, who avoids all animal products, will need to take supplements of vitamin B12 and iron and might want to take calcium, zinc, and vitamin D, too.Vegetarian Pregnancy Diet - Nutritional GuidelinesNutritional guidelines for pregnant vegetarians are the same as for non-vegetarian women who are expecting. "All pregnant women need additional iron, calcium, folate, essential fatty acids such as DHA (which can be obtained in a vegetarian form), zinc, protein, and 200 to 300 calories more than pre-pregnancy," says Grodrian.Specifically, vegetarian pregnancy diet should include  the following:- Six to eleven  servings per day of bread, cereal, rice, and pasta (choosing whole grain when possible)- Four to five servings per day of vegetables. Four or more servings of fruits- Eight servings of milk and milk alternatives (one cup of cooked kidney beans as a milk alternative, for instance).- Three to four servings of beans and bean alternatives.- Two servings of omega-3 fats for DHA (found in flax-seed oil, walnuts, tofu, and omega-3 fortified eggs, among other places).- Fats, sweets, and junk food should be eaten sparinglyPregnant women should be careful to avoid the following foods:- Unpasteurized soft cheeses (such as brie, Camembert, and feta) and unpasteurized milk, because they carry the risk of listeriosis (a food-borne illness caused by bacteria).- Raw vegetable sprouts and fresh unpasteurized fruit and vegetable juices, which can contain bacteria like E. coli and salmonella.

3 Simple Ways to to Avoid Unwanted Pregnancy

Dr. Himani Gupta, Gynecologist/Obstetrician
1. Use protection - Prevention is always better than cureIndian social scenario is changing - Pre- marital, extramarital and living in relationships are on a riseAt times these relationships are casual and will lead to unwanted pregnancyAt the end of it, it is the female's body which will bear the brunt of physical discomfort of abortionThere are many myths in people's minds regarding use of regular contraceptive methods like oral contraceptive pills, condoms or Copper - TWhether a couple is married or unmarried when these regular contraceptive methods are used, unwanted pregnancy can be avoidedA consultation with the Gynaecologist for check up and to understand their correct use is a must and will allay your anxieties and concernsA word of caution here about Emergency Contraceptive Pill It is clear that these pills are for emergency situationsCouples in steady relationship should adopt regular contraceptive methodThese emergency pills have very high content of hormonesUsing them can make your next menses irregular, delayed and heavyThey should be taken ONLY on advice of a Gynaecologist2. Be alert - For early diagnosis of unwanted pregnancyAs soon as you have missed your periods, check yourself for pregnancyEasiest method is to do a urine pregnancy test done at home in a kit easily available at ChemistThe instructions to do the tests are also clearly written on packet Advanced tests for diagnosis of pregnancy can be done on your Gynaecologist 's advice like a test in blood known as Serum Beta HCG and sonography3. Timely treatment - See a Gynaecologist at earliestWhen we talk about unwanted pregnancy, it is clear that couple wants terminationGovernment of India has made guidelines to offer safe abortion to all who seek it, regardless of marital statusThere are two ways of undergoing abortion:A. Surgical D&C - This is traditional way and will require a day's time hospitalization.- If done in Govt approved MTP (Medical Termination of Pregnancy) center, it is safe B. Abortion by pills- If clinical situation is of early pregnancy and within the limit set by Govt of India, oral abortion pills  can be taken on advice of a Gynaecologist- There are no risks of anesthesia and surgical instrumentation in this method and no hospitalization is required

Pregnancy Diet

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Pregnancy is the most beautiful phase in a woman's life. It brings both emotional and physiological changes as well as it also poses extra demands on the body. In this phase the body needs extra nutrition for the developing fetus, for pregnant woman herself and also the lactation period to follow. Pregnancy Diet must be full of nutrition and healthy also.Importance of Nutrition in The Diet in PregnancyThese nutritional demands have to be met for a healthy child and mother because as the week progresses the organs and other system of the fetus start developing in mother’s womb and thus the energy used to create these systems (which actually comes from the energy and nutrients in the mother's circulation, and around the lining of the womb) also starts to increase. The table below highlights the nutrients, its importance and food sources which should be included in a women's pregnancy diet -NUTRIENTSIMPORTANCEFOOD SOURCES Protein cell growth and blood productionlean meat, fish, poultry, egg whites, beans, tofuCarbohydrates daily energy productionbreads, cereals, rice, fruits, vegetablesCalcium strong bones and teeth, muscle contraction, nerve function milk, cheese, yogurt, spinachIronred blood cell production (to prevent anemia)All green leafy vegetables e.g. spinach, methi and whole-grain cerealsVitamin A healthy skin, good eyesight, growing bonescarrots, dark leafy greens, sweet potatoesVitamin C healthy gums, teeth, and bones; assistance with iron absorption citrus fruit, broccoli, tomatoes, amla, guavasVitamin B6 red blood cell formation; effective use of protein, fat, and carbohydratespork, ham, whole-grain cereals, bananasVitamin B12 formation of red blood cells, maintaining nervous system healthmeat, fish, poultry, milk(Note: vegetarians who don't eat dairy products need supplemental B12)Vitamin D healthy bones and teeth; aids absorption of calcium fortified milk, dairy products, cereals, and breadsFolic acid blood and protein production, effective enzyme function green leafy vegetables, dark yellow fruits and vegetables, beans, peas, nutsFatbody energy stores meat, whole-milk dairy products, nuts, peanut butter, margarine, vegetable oils(Note: limit fat intake to 30% or less of your total daily calorie intakeRecommended Nutrients in The Diet in PregnancyNutrientRecommendation (Extra = Above RDA)EnergyIncrease by 300 kcal (840 kJ) per day. Certain guidelines according to trimester.1st trimester (1 to 12 weeks) - 10 kcals/day 2nd trimester (13 to 27 weeks) - 90 kcals/day 3rd trimester (27 to 40 weeks) - 200 kcals /day.ProteinsExtra 15 gms per dayThiaminIncrease in line with energy; increase by 0.1 mg per dayRiboflavinNeeded for tissue growth; extra 0.3 mg per dayNiacinRegular supplementation/diet of substance. No increase required.FolateMaintain plasma levels; extra 100 µg per dayVitamin CReplenish drained maternal stores; extra 120 mg per dayVitamin DReplenish plasma levels of vitamin 10 µg per day.CalciumNeeds no increaseIronExtra 3 mg per day neededMagnesium, zinc, and copperNormal supplementation or consumption.IodineExtra 100 µg per day.Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy- Skip aerated or caffeine based beverages like coffee, tea and colas. Too much caffeine may affect the growth of baby. A recent study said that pregnant women who consume even about a cup of coffee everyday are at a higher risk of giving birth to an underweight baby.- Avoid eating foods that have been prepared with maida.- Try and cut down on eating foods that are high in sugar content.- Sea-food that is high in mercury should be strictly avoided. Swordfish, shark and king mackerel are among these. Raw fish may contain listeria, a bacteria that can cause food poisoning. While canned seafood is considered safe, skip smoked or frozen seafood like oysters, sushi, sashimi, and smoked salmon.- Unpasteurized milk may contain listeria, which can cross the placenta and lead to infection or blood poisoning in the baby. Ensure that the milk you drink is pasteurized.- Stay away from mould-ripened cheese (cheese that has a blue vein in it) like brie or camembert. Make sure you cook raw eggs. When the eggs are cooked, see that the yolk and white are firm.- Avoid the consumption of smoking and drinking in day to day routine.Healthy Pregnancy Diet Tips:-- Have a piece of fresh fruit for a mid-morning or afternoon snack, instead of reaching for chocolates or biscuits.- By carrying a small bottle of water when you are out ensures you are well hydrated, and not tempted by sugary soft drinks.- Each week, prepare a couple of meals using beans, lentils and pulses.- Add in your diet different healthy grains, such as barley, couscous or brown rice, in order to give variety to your favorite recipes.- Choose low-fat dairy productsIt is important to note that being pregnant doesn't indicate that the mother to be has to consume food for two individuals, as she is supporting a life within her. The key to a healthy pregnancy is to consume a balanced diet with light and frequent meals throughout, and to regularly take the supplements or medicines prescribed by the doctor. One should also try, and be active, for e.g., go for walks or light swimming or do pregnancy specific yoga [under supervision].

Avoid Extra Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
When you're pregnant it is understood that you are eating for two but that does not really mean twice as much as you normally do. Its healthy to gain 10-15 kg during the course of pregnancy, but some people gain over 20-25 kgs. That's not healthy. All these extra kilos will show the most after pregnancy and will be extremely difficult to get rid of. So, we're here to tell you how you can avoid gaining extra weight during your pregnancy.Important thing to keep in mind is that exercise during pregnancy is no to lose weight. It is so that you prepare your body for the physical stress of baby weight, and birth, makes you feel & look better, and helps you regain shape faster again your pregnancy. Here are a few ways to stay fit during pregnancy. The key is doing everything in moderation:Eat right: Most women need 2500-3000 calories. Get 5 servings of fruits and vegetables. Avoid excessive sugary and fatty food- its only empty calories. So, even though pregnancy seems like a great excuse to chow down on two big double chocolate chip brownies after your meal, its only an excuse. You will pay for it in weight gain.Pre-Natal Yoga: Yoga poses are a great way to ease the discomforts of pregnancy and prepare the body for child birth. It also helps in healthy development of the fetus, reduces stress, helps calm the mind and increases awareness of the bodily changes. Practicing yoga has added benefits of helping you lose weight after delivery.Walking: As you go into pregnancy its important to reduce high impact exercise. Walking is the simplest and the easiest way to stay fit when you're pregnant. It also helps increase your endurance level resulting in easier labour pains, and is great way to rejuvenate and reduce stress. Note: Pregnancy or physical ailment is the only time we recommend walking as a great way to exercise and stay fit :)Cycling: Indoor cycling is a safe, low impact way to exercise. Check with your doctor and take the necessary precautions. At all times, keep your self hydrated with lots of water.Ensure that your exercise is not very strenuous, and don't over exert yourself. And as we mentioned earlier, do not try to lose weight during your pregnancy.

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.

Common Problems in Pregnancy and How to Tackle Them

Ms. Raminder Kaur Deshmukh, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Pregnancy doesn't treat everyone equally while some women might face severe pregnancy symptoms like nausea, backache, and constipation, others may be lucky and have a cake walk like pregnancy.Some of the common problems are:1. MORNING SICKNESSThere is no denying that nausea or morning sickness can haunt you throughout the day, so be prepared to visit restroom during the 1st trimester. It is your hormones that are creating havoc. Also, pregnancy increases sensitivity in the area of the brain which triggers nausea.HOW TO TACKLE IT:Stay in bed for few minutes after you wake up.Do not have fluids like fruit juices first thing in the morning. Start your day with biscuit or toast instead.Keep yourself hydrated throughout the day.Avoid overeating and have six small meals throughout the day.Avoid your triggers. Every pregnant woman suffering from morning sickness becomes arise to certain odors like that of onion, garlic or other fragrances. If you know to stay away from them.Ask for modification from your doctor if it becomes difficult to ignore.One can have ginger flavored candyInhale fresh air Remember not to stop eating as it will worsen the sickness.2. CONSTIPATIONBowel movement slows down during pregnancy. this happens due to increased level of progesterone in the body. Also, iron supplements taken during pregnancy can lead to constipation with fatigue, nausea, backaches,constipation would be the last thing yo want to deal with.HOW TO TACKLE IT:Increase fiber intake. ask your doctor for modification and don't reach out of laxatives on your own.Don't miss your 8 glasses of water and keep sipping other fluids also.Pick your plate with fruits and vegetables.Walk, light exercise can help to aid digestion and relieve constipation symptom.Avoid refined flour and it's products.3. HEARTBURN AND INDIGESTIONDuring pregnancy as your belly bulges out your stomach is pushed upward and this aggravates heartburn. Also going empty stomach for too long can increase acid levels and cause heartburn, indigestion and slows down your bowel movements too.HOW TO TACKLE IT:Eat small and frequent meals.Avoid spicy or fried food as that can aggravate acidity.Do not lie down for at least half an hour after your meal.Avoid tea/coffee/aerated drinks and too much of fruit juices.An occasional ice cream or cold milk can work as an antacid.