The decision to have a child is an exciting one. Its really true and well noticeable that by the time you find positive results you may be pregnant for four weeks. Its difficult for the doctors to pin point the exact moment when the sperm meets the egg, to keep them your health status progression they consider the first date of the last menstrual cycle plus nine months and seven days to calculate the due date. Even if you don’t plan to conceive, the body changes in constitution and physiological grounds for preparing the first home for your baby.
Changes in Mother and Foetus during Pregnancy :
When the egg gets fertilised, it passes the fallopian tube and burrow in the uterine wall to make its home for next nine months. Just at the time of fertilisation the sex of the child is determined though it may be visible only in later months. The embryo forms placenta which provides food and oxygen and amniotic sac that cushions it. After the egg is fertilised typical symptoms like mood swings, bloating and cramps may or may not be felt. In the first three months the most important and prime nutrient a mother need is folic acid to prevent birth defects of brain and spine.
During the second month the mother may feel typical symptoms like morning sickness and nausea. Heart forms and pumps blood heart to the other developing organs. Arms and leg buds are now growing to full fleged limbs while fingers and toes seperates into individual digits. During so many growth activities the mother is left exhausted and some women may even have trouble sleeping as side effect. As uterus expands it puts more pressure on the bladder and lead to frequent urination. Nearly 75% of pregnant woman experience morning sickness. These unusual symptoms may slowly reduce by second or third month. Beside morning sickness, food cravings may be felt for particular food stuffs like pickle, ice creams etc. You may also desire for foods you usually didn’t like. The breasts becomes tender, nipples and areola is darker and swollen as they are in the preparatory stages of lactation. An ultra sound can be a confirmatory test at the second month. During month three, the embryo gets transformed into foetus. Genetic devolopments take place later during this month. The baby may be able to move his or her limbs but the expected mother won’t be able to feel them during this period. Bone development, knees, ankles and elbows are formed. Teeth are developed under the baby’s gums. By the end of third month the baby may have a full time growth inside which may leave the mother sleepy. Blood sugar and pressure becomes low this time. Digestion will be slow for utilising the nutrients effectively, may leave the mother bloated. Dizziness may occur due to action of progesterone which increases the blood flow to the baby but the return flow decreases. By the end of month three, the symptoms like tender breast and nausea will decrease slowly, a small bulge will be seen in the lower abdomen.
The months from 4-6 is comfortable time for the mother. In the fourth month eye brows, eye lashes and a downy layer of hair called lanugo covers the baby which usually sheds before birth. Ears move backwards and hearing ability comes. Vocal cord develops, back bone and neck becomes erect. Ladies during fourth month experience milky odourless vaginal discharge which protects the birth canal from infection. Some others may experience side effects like tooth sensitivity, bleeding gums and congestion of nasal passage due to the pregnancy hormones. As uterus grows, the supporting ligaments strech and may lead to abdominal ligament pain in one or both sides of lower abdomen. Rest in a comfortable position and massage gently the abdomen in circular motion to relieve such pains. In the month 5, rapid growth takes place this month. as you enter half way of your pregnancy. Arms and legs are proportional to the body, baby would be able to kick and stretch its body. A protective layer covering the body of the baby called Vernix caseosa is seen which helps to protect it from amniotic fluid. Development of fingerprints take place. Testicles descends and if she is a girl, uterus fully forms and eggs develop in ovaries. Moms experience great hunger this time but remember moderation is the key. Also they may complaint of back pains due to the additional weight which tends to shift the center of gravity pulling the lower back forwards. Leg cramps especially at night may be felt. Eyes are still fused and shut but he or she can perceive light and darkness. Also the little one develops sense of touch. The mother can experience foetal movements from this month onwards.
During 6 month your baby’s skin will become less transparent and heart beat can be heard even with a stethoscope. As the ligaments in the legs loosens, oedema or swelling in the ankle and the foot is seen. Skin discolouration like linea nigra, a sharp blue black line running from the Pubic bone to the belly buttton and some times till the xyphoid sternum is seen. Some ladies may develop black pigmentation on face called malasma or mask of pregnancy. Stretch marks (reddish or purplish) may be seen over belly, buttocks and thighs which slowly turns into silvery white stretch marks and gradually fades with time.
In the seventh month the uterus swells pushing the abdomen forwards which inturn protrudes the naval button. Blood vessels in legs develop. Nostrils starts opening, eyes open and become more perceptive. Hearing ability fully develops and your little one can hear you well. A major side effect which most of the ladies experience is haemorroids or vericose vein in rectal wall due to increased flow of blood to the pelvic canal. To ease from such problem, one should drink adequate water and take fibre rich food.
During 8th month the uterus will practice contractions. The five sense organs resposes to stimuli. Your little bunny will be fully engaged in kicks and jabs and pokes which you can experience most of the day time. White fat deposits takes place under the skin which makes the baby’s skin smooth and opaque. The brain matter develops grooves and tissue mass increases. The baby will tend to reorganise its positioning in a head down way for easy passage during delivery. Most ladies usually experience heart burn, tender breasts and fatigue during this month. Some ladies may experience vericose vein in the legs too. Increased swelling in hands and feet may be seen. Most of the mothers also experience sciatica, a sharp pain radiating from buttocks to legs due to foetus pressure on sciatic nerve. Mild massage and streching exercises can ease the pain. .
By the end of 36 weeks or nine months the eyes open, he or she will act more like a baby, the movements can be well felt. expansion in weight and brain power is seen. His or her own immune system develops. Testicles drop from the abdomen to the scrotum. Moms may experience difficulty in sleeping in this period due to heart burn, leg cramps and a gigantic belly which keeps her awake all night.
Do’s during Pregnancy :
- Food : Take a balanced diet rich in vegetables legumes, yogurt, milk, whole grain, fruits, high fiber, tender coconut water etc. Take iron and calcium rich food. Foods like beet root, carrot contains natural folic acid essential for development of brain and spine. Eat in portions and small meals.
- Drink plenty of water
- Sleep 8-10 hours daily at night. If unable to sleep at night try taking a banana or a glass of milk with dinner as it contians sleep hormone. Sleeping on left is considered healthy especially during the last trimester.
- To avoid leg cramps stretch your legs for sometime before going to bed. Take enough water and calcium rich food.
- Always wear comfortable shoes with low heals.
- Always wear safety belt while travelling.
- Regular walking should be routine at least for 15 – 20 minutes daily.
- For back pain application and massage with oils like Sivappu kukkil thylam with mild stretching exercise is helpful.
- During the last trimester kegel exercise is beneficial for normal delivery. It can be done any where – sitting or standing position. Tighten the muscles around the vagina and contract it for 5 – 10 seconds. Relax and repeat the same for 10 times.
- To compensate or relieve morning sickness and nausea Mathulai manapagu, a siddha medicine is very helpful.
- Routine follow up and check up.
Dont’s during Pregnancy :
- Food : Avoid sugar, caffeine, junk food, processed foods, additive spices and MSG’s. Limit the intake of fat, sugar and salt. Avoid raw and under cooked meat and sea foods. Raw meat is a source of Toxoplasmosis and bacteria like salmonella which can cause still birth, miscarriage and brain damage. Certain fishes have tendency to concentrate methyl mercury which is harmful for the brain. Examples of such contaminated fishes are Shark and Tuna
- Avoid smoking and alchohol as it may lead to preterm birth, birth defects or spontaneous abortion
- Avoid strenous exercise outdoors on hot summer days as increased body temperature may affect the featus.
- Avoid hot water bath and electric blankets
- Avoid exposure to X rays and mobile radiations
- Avoid lying flat especially in the third trimester. Try to sleep in night time but if sleep is not sufficient at night, one can take small naps in the morning.
- Avoid taking heavy food. Also avoid too much of spicy, acidic and chocolaty foods.
Being a mother is a true blessing of God. Good Ante natal care can gift a healthy immune baby with long life and good mental power. Hope this article guides our readers and make them understand that life is equally precious inside the womb. Stay Fit and Keep healthy.