Pregnancy and women Health

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Salmonella
Salmonella is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK, and in severe cases may cause miscarriage or premature labour. The foods most likely to be responsible for causing salmonella are raw eggs or undercooked poultry. Therefore pregnant women are advised to avoid any foods containing raw or partially cooked eggs e.g. fresh mayonnaise, mousse etc. In addition all meat, and especially poultry should be thoroughly cooked. Special care with food hygiene should be taken especially around raw and cooked meats e.g. wash hands thoroughly with soap after handling raw meat and use a separate chopping board for raw and cooked meat products. salt intake Most of us consume too much salt, which in the long term can have negative effects on blood pressure. More than two thirds of the salt in our diets comes from pre-packaged and processed foods. Limited evidence from one systematic review found no significant difference in the risk of pre-pre-eclampsia with a low salt diet compared with a normal diet.10
Sex
Because your body doesn’t change that much in the first trimester, sex can pretty much continue as it has in the past. If you’re having a normal pregnancy, sex is considered safe during all stages of pregnancy. Many expectant mothers find that their desire for sex fluctuates during certain stages in the pregnancy. Also, many women find that sex becomes uncomfortable as their bodiesget larger. Your baby is fully protected by the amniotic sac (a thin-walled bag that holds the foetus and surrounding fluid) and the strong muscles of the uterus. There’s also a thick mucus plug that seals the cervix and helps guard against infection. The penis does not come into contact with the foetus during sex. It is therefore safe to continue having sex throughout the whole of pregnancy. If you experience bleeding at any stage during pregnancy you should contact your midwife.
After the baby is born
Generally, you should wait at least 6 weeks after birth before having sex. The uterus and cervix undergo significant changes during the process of delivering a baby, and they need time to heal. During this healing phase the lining of the uterus, especially the site where the placenta was attached, is susceptible to infection. Sex, douching, tampons, and anything placed in the vagina may introduce bacteria, and cause an infection.

Sleeping
According to one study, 97 per cent of pregnant women have difficulties getting to sleep or staying asleep. It can happen at any time, say the US researchers in the Journal of Obstetric,
Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing. Problems in the study group of 127 women ranged from restlessness, wakefulness, and tiredness in the day and suddenly waking up. Sleep problems are very common during pregnancy, for all sorts of reasons. In early and late pregnancy in particular, you may need to get up in the night to use the bathroom. As you get bigger, finding a comfortable position to sleep can be difficult. Your body’s ‘thermostat’ can seem permanently set to ‘over-heat’. You may find it too hot for bedcovers, but then wake
up feeling cold. Backache can also keep you awake. A pillow under the bump can help in late pregnancy. You may also experience ‘restless leg syndrome’ which isn’t uncommon and is exactly what it sounds like: jerking or twitching of the legs, particularly when lying down. Leg cramps are also a common complaint.
Smoked meat
Some countries advise pregnant women not to eat cold meats or smoked fish because of the risk of listeria. In the UK, we don’t advise women to avoid these products because the risk is very low. The risk of listeria is much higher with soft mould-ripened cheeses (such as Brie and Camembert) or pâté, which you shouldn’t eat during pregnancy. soft cheese
Mould ripened soft cheeses, such as Brie and Camembert, may contain Listeria, which is a bacterium (germ) that can lead to pre-term birth, miscarriage, and/or flu-like symptoms. These should therefore be avoided during pregnancy. However it is fine to eat other soft cheeses such as cream cheese, ricotta or cottage cheese. If you are unsure – stick to a hard cheese.

Spicy food
It’s fine to eat spicy or hot food whilst pregnant or nursing, as long as you feel fine while you’re eating it. Although a tiny fraction of what you ingest is transferred into your milk supply, it’s unlikely that eating spicy food will affect your baby. Eating garlic may even be beneficial to breastfeeding. Two studies have shown that the infants of mothers who eat garlic tend to feed for a longer time, and many babies seem to prefer a variety of flavour in breast milk. Go by trial and error. If you suffer from heartburn after you’ve eaten a fiery curry, or your baby
seems upset or irritable, then opt for a milder diet until he or she is slightly older. Many women from parts of the world where spicy dishes are the cultural norm don’t make big
changes to their diet when they become pregnant or are nursing. The key is to stick to a healthy, varied diet, and avoid foods that make you feel uncomfortable.
Starchy food
Starchy foods including bread, rice, pasta and potatoes are carbohydrates and are satisfying, making you feel fuller for longer and providing you with energy. As they are bulky you are less likely to overeat and gain weight on starchy foods, so include one at every meal and choose a starchy food over fatty and sugary snacks wherever possible. Wholegrain versions are especially nutritious and the fibre helps to prevent constipation.

Teeth & gums
The combined effect of increased blood supply and pregnancy hormones can make your gums very soft and spongy. They may bleed when you brush your teeth, or eat something hard like an apple. Make sure you brush your teeth with a soft brush and gently use dental floss at least twice a day (after every meal if you can), paying particular attention to the area where your teeth meet your gums. NHS dental care is free during pregnancy so see your dentist regularly and make sure
he/she knows you are pregnant. Gum problems can occur throughout pregnancy, but your gums should get back to normal soon after your baby’s birth. tiredness
A variety of factors can cause tiredness during early pregnancy, including insomnia, anxiety and
poor diet. Anaemia may also develop in pregnancy if there is an insufficient intake of iron. Combat
symptoms by eating a well balanced diet and resting as and when you can.

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