Pregnancy and women Health

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Not only are you providing your baby with vitamins and minerals, but you will also be replacing those lost during pregnancy so it is important to continue eating a diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals. Many women choose to continue taking a one-a-day multivitamin and mineral supplement that is suitable for breastfeeding in order to boost their diet and for peace of mind that they are supplying the baby with very thing they need. It is particularly important to eat plenty of calcium rich foods whilst breastfeeding as your requirements increase by an extra 500mg per day (equivalent to needing an extra pint of milk every day). Also try to continue eating oily fish once each week (such as salmon, trout, sardines etc), and/or choose foods that have added omega-3 such as some types of milk or eggs. The government health department in all four UK countries also recommend that all pregnant and breastfeeding women should take a daily supplement containing 10 mcg of vitamin D to ensure the mother’s requirements are met and to build adequate foetal stores for early infancy.

Getting back into shape after the baby is born.

Most women are keen to get back into shape after pregnancy and once again wear their normal jeans and other clothes. However giving birth is an exhausting experience and the following weeks of sleepless nights will take their toll on even the most energetic of women. Therefore, it’s essential to balance maintaining energy levels and the stamina to keep going with any attempts to lose weight. If you are breastfeeding, restricting your food intake will restrict the baby’s food intake, so be patient, now is not the time to diet. It is as important to eat a healthy balanced diet and to keep well hydrated as it was during the pregnancy. he best way to approach getting back into shape is to take it slowly, starting with some gentle exercise, such as a short daily walk combined with a healthy balanced diet that is low in fat with a mix of protein, carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables. Don’t forget the importance of pelvic floor exercise for sexual health and to avoid urinary incontinence. If you are unsure ask your midwife or health visitor about these. Low-fat, high-fibre foods and healthy snacks such as fresh fruit will stave off hunger. If you have had a caesarean section you should follow advice from your midwife and avoid abdominal exercise for the first six weeks afterwards. At your 6-week check, your GP will tell you if it is okay to resume normal activities such as swimming, aerobics etc. All of the high-risk foods that were off limits during pregnancy can now make a welcome return to your diet such as soft and blue cheeses, soft boiled eggs, liver etc as the baby is no longer at risk and your immune system will be returning to normal. You can choose to eat peanuts or foods containing peanuts (such as peanut butter) when breastfeeding as part of a healthy balanced diet, unless you are allergic to peanuts or your health professional advises not to. If you are breast feeding alcohol and caffeine still needs to be limited, and if you are not breastfeeding, don’t forget that after 9 months of abstinence you will probably be very susceptible to the effects of alcohol and caffeine. If you are tired and lacking sleep, eating little and often will help to keep energy levels up. And if  rinds offer to help, it is a great idea to ask them to bring round a freshly cooked meal that you can simply re-heat, or pop into the freezer for another day.  

A to Z of pregnancy.

Now that you are pregnant you are sure to have lots of questions about the journey to motherhood. This A-Z of pregnancy provides all of the important answers for mums-to-be. It covers everything from flatulence and weight gain to cravings and vitamin supplements. a is for alcohol There is no agreed safe intake of alcohol during pregnancy. Women who are pregnant should avoid drinking alcohol, however those who chose to drink before and during pregnancy, should drink no more than 1 to 2 units of alcohol onceor twice a week. A unit is half a pint of standard strength beer, lager or cider, or a pub measure of spirit. A glass of wine is about two units and alcopops areabout 1.5 units.amniocentesis Amniocentesis is one of several diagnostic tests that can be carried out during pregnancy. It is used to detect chromosome abnormalities in the unborn child that may cause Down syndrome or other congenital problems. in amniocentesis, a sample of the amniotic fluid that surrounds the foetus is removed and analysed. This test is performed from week 15 of pregnancy onwards.

Anaemia is characterised by a low level of a substance called haemoglobin in red blood cells.During pregnancy anaemia is quite common because the demands for iron change. Routine blood tests are carried out during pregnancy to check if women need iron supplements. It is important that pregnant women eat an iron-rich diet as the production of red blood cells increases for its transport to the foetus and placenta. Iron rich foods include red meats, fortified breakfast cereals,
dried fruits, pulses and bread.
A substance which counteracts stomach acidity that is used as a treatment for heartburn in pregnant women. Heartburn occurs as a result of increased abdominal pressure, relaxation of the gastro-oesophageal sphincter due to pregnancy hormones and altered gastrointestinal function.2 Symptoms are often exacerbated by lying down, or by certain foods, particularly those that are spicy, fatty, fizzy or acidic. Symptoms will often be less severe with small frequent meals and snacks rather than larger meals. Also avoid eating just before bedtime and spicy or fatty foods and try to limit the use of antacids. antenatal care Antenatal care means ‘care before birth’. Antenatal care aims
to monitor and promote the wellbeing of a mother and her developing baby. Midwives and doctors provide information, dvice and reassurance as well as monitoring, screening and treatment where necessary.
Aspirin is generally not considered safe to take during pregnancy as regular use may cause problems for both you and your baby. If you are taking aspirin before pregnancy for a specific medical condition then you should speak to your GP or midwife as early as possible for advice on whether this should continue. Complications include miscarriage, effects on fetal growth, bleeding problems for you or the baby and heart or lung related problems in a newborn baby. However, there are certain situations where a doctor may advise a low dose of aspirin during pregnancy. Remember to always follow your doctor’s advice.

Back pain
Back pain experienced by pregnant women is caused by the ligaments between the pelvic bones softening and joints loosening in preparation for the baby’s passage through the pelvis. This movement can cause considerable discomfort on either side of the lower back, often with walking, and especially when going up and down stairs. During the second trimester, the uterus becomes heavier and changes the woman’s centre of gravity. Gradually – and perhaps without being aware of it – women begin to adjust their posture and the way in which they move. These compensations can result in back pain, strain or other injury. The separation of the muscles along the front of
the abdomen during pregnancy may also contribute to back pain during pregnancy. These two parallel sheets of muscles run from the rib cage to the pubic bone. As the uterus expands, they sometimes separate along the centre seam, which can make back pain worse. Careful lifting and carrying during pregnancy are important to prevent injury.

Birth weight
Average birth weight is 3.4kg or 7.5lbs.
The sensation of bloating occurs during pregnancy because of hormones that slow your digestion and the pressure of your growing uterus on your stomach and intestines. Eating plenty of fibre and drinking adequate amounts of fluid may help to alleviate this.

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