Third Trimester

Third trimester starts about 28 weeks and lasts until birth

Ask anything about third trimester

The 6 most uncomfortable third trimester Symptoms

The 6 most uncomfortable third-trimester symptoms   Here’s what you need to know about the third trimester -   A pregnant woman goes through the third trimester during 28 to 42 weeks of pregnancy. This being the last stage of a woman's pregnancy, there is anticipation, anxiety, and expectation to introduce the baby into the world. It is a time for excitement with thoughts of childbirth and looking at your baby for the first time. It can also be emotionally challenging. During the third trimester, your baby grows and you can feel the movements. In addition to this, you also feel discomfort, heartburn, shortness of breath, discomfort and you keep putting on additional weight as your stomach gets bigger.   6 signs of third-trimester pain and symptoms: A pregnant woman who is in the third trimester experiences 6 common signs and symptoms.  They include the following: Heartburn and reflux: The pregnant women can feel heartburn and Reflux as a result of the growth of the baby which fills up space in the mother's womb and the area of the abdominal cavity. The expansion puts pressure on the other surrounding organs. This prevents the normal intake of food as the stomach gets pushed up to the esophagus. How to deal with it? Take less amount of food and consume smaller meals as your stomach is unable to store much food. This minimizes the bloating and prevents heartburn. Food which is spicy and drinks which are acidic should be avoided throughout the pregnancy as it causes acid reflux.     Consuming caffeine on a regular basis causes heartburn and reflux. It is a bad habit to lie down immediately after eating as the food that you consumed will flow backward. If you feel the need to lie down, then place cushions or pillows at your back and prop yourself up. Consume neutral and basic foods. Drink milk and yogurt which soothes the stomach and minimizes the burning sensation.   When should you approach your doctor? If you find that the heartburn and reflux have not reduced even after taking all the precautions, then it is time for you to visit and consult your doctor.   2. Frequent urination: During your third trimester of pregnancy, you will feel the need to constantly keep running to the bathroom and relieve yourself of the urine. During pregnancy, there is an increase in the fluids and the functioning of your kidneys.   How to deal with it? It is a normal symptom of pregnancy and there is not much you can do about it. Avoid drinking too many fluids and thus you can prevent going to the bathroom to urinate as many times as possible. However, it is also important to stay hydrated as otherwise, it could cause dizziness, headache, and untimely contractions.   When should you approach your doctor? If you experience anything other than the normal and it gives you a cause for concern, then it is vital that you approach your doctor. Such circumstances include frequent visits to the bathroom unlike any other day of your pregnancy, or pain or burning sensation in your urinary organs, expansion of blood in the urine, and other unusual symptoms.   3. Back pain: The pregnancy during the third trimester protrudes your womb even more which in turn lays pressure on your backbone. There is also an increase in the levels of progesterone which makes your tissues, muscles, and joints to relax and leave space for the uterus to expand. Your pelvic area also becomes flexible and prepares the way for delivery through the birth canal. Other reasons for back pain include improper posture during pregnancy, extra weight, leaning or sleeping on one side, or trying to lift certain objects. How to deal with it? Avoid all strenuous activities that cause back pain. Maintain a good posture and wear a support belt just below your stomach so that the weight of the pregnancy is taken away from your back and hip area. When you are sitting down make sure to keep pillows behind your back so as to listen to the pressure and reduce back pain. A good warm bath or a heating pad would do you good in relieving the back pain. Avoid high heels at all times during pregnancy.   When should you approach your doctor? If you experience unbearable back pain and you believe that it is not due to any of the above reasons, or if you experience continuous unrelenting pain, deep, sharp and shooting pain that prevents you from walking or sitting properly, then it is important that you approach a doctor immediately.   4. Excessive hunger: Pregnancy during the third trimester can make you feel like eating every few hours. It is normal for you to feel excessive hunger and it is an indication that your body needs more energy, food, and nutrients as you are now eating not only for yourself but also for your baby who is constantly growing and developing.   How to deal with it? It is important to eat a good meal rich in nutrients and protein. Consume foods rich in fiber as it keeps you feeling full,  prevent the constant craving, as well as regulate the bowel movements.   When should you approach your doctor? If you find that you are unable to control your hunger and a steady weight gain every week of the third-trimester pregnancy stage, then you should approach your doctor.   5. Insomnia: It is quite normal for a pregnant woman to feel anxious, expectant and to worry over her baby and the delivery, which makes her suffer from insomnia during the third trimester of pregnancy. They have difficulty in sleeping and keep awake most of the night.   How to deal with it? You can solve the problem of insomnia through sleep therapy, changing your sleeping position, freeing your body of tight and uncomfortable clothes, avoid drinking a lot of water before going to bed. You can also try and eat small light meals at regular intervals during the day.   When should you approach your doctor? If you find that none of the above remedies are curing you of insomnia and you find it very difficult to have a few hours of sleep, or if you find that you are constantly waking up throughout the night, then it is time to approach your doctor.   6. Breast pain: During the third-trimester pregnancy stage, you will feel that your breasts are sore and painful.  This is a result of your breast growing in size and getting ready for the feeding of milk to your newborn baby.   How to deal with it? Do regular breast massages so as to prevent the formation of lumps and hardening in the breast tissue. Buy yourself new, comfortable and perfect fitting cotton bras.   Read  to know what experienced mums say about the third trimester and how to get comfortable with it:   Lessen the pressure and aches around your stomach and waist by maintaining a straight back or arch inward slightly, this will give your baby some space to stretch, arch and move about freely within your womb. Relax and do not tense up when your baby is moving and kicking, as it will make you feel uncomfortable and painful. Wear comfortable and good shoes that make it easier to walk with all that extra weight and make use of a foam roller to ease the back pain. Do not keep your body stiff in a particular position, keep changing it every 20 minutes.   Other symptoms during the third trimester:   Apart from the above, there are various other symptoms that a pregnant woman experiences during her third trimester of pregnancy. This includes the following:   Hot flashes and chills: Pregnant women generally feel excessive heat and sweat a lot, while at other times they feel quite chilled to the bone even under normal temperature. Dizziness, vomiting, and nausea: Pregnant women will feel these symptoms due to the pressure exerted by the growing baby,  which leads to poor circulation of blood and nutrients within the mother's body. Leg cramps: The excess weight will put pressure on the legs which cause leg cramps and prevents the proper blood flow to the legs, lesser minerals and electrolytes to the legs. Pain in the pelvis and cervix: During the third trimester, the pregnant woman experiences sharp pain in the pelvis, cervix and abdomen area. This is caused due to the strain on the ligament between the uterus and the groin. Braxton Hicks contractions: The Braxton Hicks contractions are also known as ‘false labor contractions’. It feels like as if a pregnant woman is going into labor. However, they are not painful and it is triggered by an excess of activity either from your baby or by you. Bleeding gums and toothache: Pregnant women during the third-trimester experiences increased the flow of blood to the tooth and gums which causes swelling, bleeding and inflammation. Now that you know the common symptoms that are experienced by a pregnant woman during the third trimester, and the ways to deal with it, you can relax without worries and get ready for your baby’s arrival into the world! Featured Image Source

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10 Homemade pregnancy drinks to keep you healthy and hydrated throughout

Water- During pregnancy, your body needs more water to cope with the demands of your changing body. Water is essential for healthy blood cells and to keep your body hydrated. Water is also a key component of breastmilk, and essential for good lactation. Coconut water- A natural isotonic beverage, coconut water helps prevent dehydration. It also relieves exhaustion by replenishing the natural salts lost by the body when you sweat. It is an extremely healthy option for quenching your thirst when pregnant. Limeade (nimbu pani)- The eternal favourite! Nimbu pani keeps you hydrated and provides vitamin C that helps your body to absorb iron more effectively. You can sip nimbu pani during the day or with your meal. And, if you're struggling with morning sickness nimbu pani with some mint (pudina), crushed ginger (adrak) and even chaat masala can be a welcome alternatives. Fresh fruit juices- Fresh juices from sweet lime (musambi), oranges (santara), pineapple (ananas), musk melon (kharbuja), and watermelons (tarbooj) are great for hot weather. If you have them fresh, these juices are packed with all the nutrients that fruits bring. If you buy juices from a store, make sure they have the label ‘100 per cent juice’ on them. Otherwise the drink might contain more sugar and artificial flavours than real fruits. Milk based drinks- Milk products are high in calcium, protein and Vitamin B-12. During the summer, chilled skimmed milk, lassi and buttermilk (chhaach) are a great way to keep cool and stay hydrated. Milkshakes or fruit smoothies made with some milk, curd, ice and fruit are packed with minerals and nutrients. All these are great as a healthy snack in between meals.  Traditional home-made drinks- Jal jeera, aam panna and fruit sherbets have a special place in most homes. Apart from providing various nutrients, these healthy drinks are believed to cool, hydrate as well as help cope with morning sickness. Home-made vegetable juices- If you're having trouble getting enough veggies in your diet, try drinking your vegetables instead. In the heat of summer when you are looking for something other than water to quench your thirst, you can have cold vegetable juices. These will be refreshing and provide you with nutrients. Fruit mocktails- Fruit mocktails are a great alternative when you're at a party, holiday, pub or social gathering and looking for a non-alcoholic drink. Fruit mocktails help you get some of the nutrients you and your baby need. Plus, you save money, because non-alcoholic drinks cost less and there are no arguments about who's driving back home. Water with frozen fruits- Make a plain glass of water more refreshing by adding frozen fruit such as orange (santra), lemon (nimbu), kiwi, peach (aadu), apricot (khubani) and plum (aloo bukhara) instead of ice cubes. The frozen fruit looks colourful floating about in the clear water and it chills your drink, giving it a hint of fruity flavour. Do make sure you use filtered water and fruits washed with filtered water. Ice tea- In the heat, iced tea might be more welcome than a cup of hot chai. Slices of lemon added to iced tea can also provide some relief from morning sickness. But iced tea does contain caffeine so you will need to count it in your daily allowance. Find out more about how much caffeine is safe during pregnancy.

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Lack of fetal movement in third trimester: Why not to worry

Feeling your baby move is one of the highlights of pregnancy, and this movement changes throughout your nine months. The first signs of movement during your second trimester feel like flutters. By the third trimester, you are feeling kicks and punches, some of which you can even see from the outside. Although movement can slow down as the pregnancy ends, a lack of fetal movement can also signal a problem. Movement can slow down as you get closer to your due date for one simple reason: the baby is running out of room to move. While he used to be flipping and rolling in your womb, he simply does not have the space to do that anymore. Ideally, your baby has moved himself to the head-down position and will stay there in preparation for delivery. Less movement, then, can be a natural progression of the pregnancy. Many doctors encourage their patients to do kick counts every day to keep track of the baby's movement. You can perform kick counts throughout the pregnancy, all the way through your last trimester. Kick counting will inform you of any lack of movement right away. The general rule for kick counts is feeling 10 movements--kicks, jabs, rolls--within a two-hour period. If you feel anything less than that, call your doctor. If you're busy and moving around yourself, you might not notice the baby moving--but that doesn't mean he isn't. Set aside time every day during your last trimester to focus on your baby's movement. Lie on your left side and feel for kicks. Drinking a glass of cold drink or juice with some sugar in it can encourage movement and wake up your sleeping baby.  

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Are you having some strange dreams? Here's why?

Managing sleep during pregnancy can be extremely tough. You have to get up to pee, you’re tossing and turning on the bed, and you can' find a comfortable sleeping position.Now to add to all this, heart-pounding and vivid dreams make things even more difficult and stressful. But there are various reasons for this: Particularly in the third trimester women complain of vivid dreams. The medical reasons for this are: 1. Hormonal changes- When pregnant, your body produces more progesterone and estrogen. These hormonal changes impact how your brain processes information and emotions, which can disrupt sleep. Because of similar hormonal shifts, PMS has a similar affect on your ability to sleep. (source) 2. Changes in REM cycle- As your pregnancy progresses, the amount of deep sleep you get decreases and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep increases. According to Dr. Sears, REM cycle affects your dreams because: This state of sleep encourages more dreams, because your brain is more active. Since you’re more aware of your environment and arouse from sleep more easily during REM cycles, you’re more likely to remember your dreams. 3. Stress- You’ve got a lot on your mind, mama! Stress is a natural part of pregnancy as you adjust to so many new changes, but it can lead to insomnia and interrupted sleep. Studies show that daily stress can affect our ability to get a good night’s sleep and that people who feel stressed report more frequent dreams. 4. Heightened emotions of pregnancy- There are a lot of reasons your emotions are heightened during pregnancy—after all, you’re bringing a new life into this world! Even if you’re not stressed or fearful, excitement can send your mind spinning in a million different directions. And research proves that lack of sleep compromises our brain’s ability to regulate emotions. Since dreams help us work through our emotions, you’re more likely to have more dreams when you feel overwhelmed.  Pregnancy Dreams Decoded Now that you know why your pregnancy dreams are more vivid, you’re probably wondering what those dreams mean. Does a positive pregnancy test dream really mean you’re pregnant? If you dream you’re having a girl, is that really predictive of the baby’s sex? Is there any truth to common interpretations of pregnancy dreams? Dreams about conceiving If you’re dreaming about being pregnant or conceiving, but haven’t yet gotten your BFP, it could be your mind’s way of clueing you in. (Though there are no studies to support this theory!) A dream about conceiving could also symbolize a new project or phase in your life that you’re thinking of starting. Dreams about the sex of the baby In one study, women were more likely to correctly guess their baby’s gender if the prediction was based on psychological criteria (feelings or dreams), as opposed to old wives’ tales (lack of morning sickness or belly shape, for example). Dreams about the baby’s sex aren’t foolproof—they can be influenced by social and cultural factors—but there could be some accuracy to them. Dreams about labor Dreams about being in labor could mean you’re anxious or worried about giving birth. It could also mean that you’re ready for changes in your life, or are actually on the verge of giving birth. A dream about labor could also symbolize bringing a new project to fruition. Dreams about something happening to the baby Pregnancy dreams can be a result of heightened emotions, so it makes sense that you may dream about something happening to the baby, both in utero and after birth. Pregnant women’s nightmares often involved miscarriages or still births, Dr. Sheldon Roth, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School and a dream expert, told NBC. “People use dreams as a way of problem solving and adapting to new circumstances. These parents are simply using their dreams to mentally sort out a huge life change.” Dreams about forgetting the baby The same sleep researcher found that expectant and new mothers commonly have dreams about forgetting or losing the baby, because new memories are organized and stored during sleep.These dreams don’t indicate anything about your ability to parent, they’re just a sign that your brain is still connecting all of the dots. Dreams about you or the baby as an animal “Animals almost invariably represent instincts when we meet them in dreams,” Jungian analyst Barbara Hannah told Psychology Today. Dreaming of your baby as an animal reflects your instinctual role as mama bear, and dreaming of yourself as an animal reflects your protective instincts. Dreams about love affairs with an ex or another partner These types of dreams don’t mean you have any desire or intention to be unfaithful. Much more likely, they’re a sign that you fear how your relationship with your partner may change once the baby is born. These dreams could also be about feeling uncomfortable with your expanding body during pregnancy and wanting to still feel desirable. So What Do These Dreams REALLY Mean? Dreams are our mind’s way of working through fears and anxiety. Some say bits and pieces of dreams can be attributed to intuition or can even feel transcendent, but that doesn’t mean the scarier dreams are foreboding premonitions.However, what you can take care of is listed here: You Should Avoid: Stimulants such as caffeine, chocolate, or tea too close to bedtime Violent movies and TV shows Exposure to any screens within two hours of bedtime (The blue light is too stimulating) Heated discussions close to bedtime Exercise within a few hours of going to sleep Eating a large meal within three hours of bedtime You should try: Taking a bath Spraying your pillow with lavender mist Meditating Light stretching Content Source Feature Image Source  

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Maternity fashion: How to dress for your trimester

When it comes to dressing during pregnancy, comfort and style are key. But what feels right in week 9 may feel downright wrong by week 14. And what perfectly flatters your curves during the second trimester may become rather indecent by the tail end of your pregnancy. First Trimester Mum's the word The challenge: Keeping your pregnancy under wraps. Many people don't want to divulge their growing secret until at least the second trimester. What to do: Go into your closet and put aside anything that's too tight or clingy. Stick with silhouettes that flow over belly, hips, and thighs that can camouflage the few pounds you may gain in the first months. Wear soft knits, A-line skirts, Empire-waisted tops and frocks, wrap shirts and dresses. Another great piece for the first trimester: a "blouson" style top – that is, one that has a fitted waistband at the bottom but some roominess above the band. The fabric falls loosely over your belly while the fitted waistband keeps the look more tailored, less muumuu. Throw on a pair of boot-cut stretch jeans for a comfortable, pulled-together look. Not ready for maternity wear The challenge: Most maternity clothes have too much fabric for your barely there bump, but you've grown enough in other places that your pre-pregnancy clothes just don't fit. What to do: Stretch your wardrobe with a couple of key additions. Buy one of those stretchy bands (i.e., a Belly Band) that you can place at the top of your jeans, over the waistband that will no longer button or zip. The band will keep your pants up, and no one will know they're unbuttoned. In a pinch, you can also use a rubber band looped over the button and through the buttonhole to do the same thing, minus the smoothing effect of the band. Stock up on layering tanks. Wear them under tops that no longer button all the way. Throw one or two on under an oversize cardigan or blazer. The dumpy dilemma The challenge: You're worried about looking like you've simply let yourself go. No cute bump yet, just an overall thickening. What to do: Steer clear of too tight, loaded-with-Lycra clothes. While these curve- hugging tops will show off your bump later, right now you'll feel too much like a sausage in a tight casing. Avoid tops that are too billowy and tent-like, as well. Look for ones that flow gracefully over the extra pounds beneath while still having a bit of shape. Tunics are a great choice.  While fitted across the shoulders and arms, a tunic flows gracefully across the middle, disguising extra weight. An exception to the anti-cling rule: tank tops and other garments with built-in shaping panels, which can help smooth out the sudden pooch or contain your growing breasts. Top these tanks with a body-skimming top or cardigan made of a smooth jersey fabric. Second Trimester On a budget The challenge: You feel like every few weeks you're a new size and don't want to blow your budget on new clothes every month. What to do: Invest in a few items that will grow with you. Look for pieces that have details like ruching, tie-backs, buttons or gathering at the sides, and wraps, which will all let you adjust your clothing as your body grows and changes. What's more, they will let you flatteringly flaunt your bump, which usually pops out during this time. Busting out The challenge: Your boobs are busting out all over. What to do: If you haven't already, now's the time to invest in a few great bras. While you may choose to go for bigger sizes of your favorite bra, you might want to consider the comfort and expandability of maternity or nursing bras. Most women find that not only do their cups runneth over, but their band size (the circumference around your back) will grow too. Besides moving up a band size (or two), you can also find inexpensive bra extenders at most lingerie stores. From work to weekend The challenge: You need a few workhorse items that will go from work to weekend without sacrificing comfort. What to do: Embrace the wrap dress. Or rather, let the wrap dress – in a sleek solid color or a color-blocked pattern – embrace your curves. You'll look perfectly pulled together for the office and be comfortable and stylish for running weekend errands.  As your bump gets bigger and higher, simply change where you place the tie, eventually making the frock into an Empire-waisted garment, giving much-needed definition between bosom and belly. Another faithful, versatile item to choose: a pair of dark denim maternity boot-cut jeans with the stretchy fabric built right into the waistband. The cut and color will flatter you throughout the entire pregnancy and work for almost any work or social situation. Third Trimester Laboring through the last months The challenge: You feel huge and uncomfortable. Buttons, zippers, and even waistbands are increasingly torturous. What to do: Try an Empire-waisted maxi dress – an ankle-length flowing knit dress that you can wear even after the baby has arrived. Added benefit: it's so easy – throw it on and you're good to go! Pair a tunic in a comfy knit fabric over maternity leggings. You'll feel comfy and stylish. A case of the doldrums The challenge: You've embraced the monochromatic look (blacks, grays, etc.) because it's slimming and easy – but you want to add a bit more oomph to your look. What to do: Match your accessories to the bravado of your bump! As your belly grows, swap out the demure studs for a bigger, bolder earring. Add a scarf that has a bold, funky pattern. Don't be afraid to add a little drama to your look – have fun dressing around your belly! Try an animal-print bag, a thick stack of skinny gold bracelets, or a bright chunky necklace and matching cocktail ring. The homestretch The challenge: You're getting bored with your clothes, but it's the last leg of your pregnancy and you don't want to buy more. What to do: Give your wardrobe a boost with something you can wear later and that will punch up any outfit you're currently sick of: shoes! Whether you choose a ballet-style flat or a mule with a sliver of a kitten heel, you'll slip in and step out in style and comfort. Plus, no laces or buckles mean no bending over your burgeoning belly. Look for a pair in a fabulous animal print or bold color to snap you out of your wardrobe woes. Choose shoes that have a slightly pointy toe instead of a rounded one, which can make your legs look shorter. Feature Image Source  

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Fetal Movements: is your baby kicking?

Nothing reassures you more about the baby growing in your womb than the first kick. These tiny movements keep you guessing about what the baby would be doing at that time. Was what you felt actually a kick or just gas bubbles coursing through your body. Every pregnant woman waits for that moment when they would feel the first kick of their babies. When would I feel my baby kick? Most women feel their baby kick between week 18 and week 22, though some may report feeling it as early as week 13. Usually, second-timers feel it earlier as they know a kick when they feel a kick. Another reason why they might feel the kicks earlier is that their abdominal muscles are laxer. Further, thinner mothers also tend to feel a baby kick earlier as they lack the fat to cushion the movements. Actually, a first-time mother-to-be might have already felt the baby move but was unable to recognize the movement. Does this mean that the baby moves only at the time I feel the kick? No. The baby moves all the time in the amniotic fluid. But, because it is very small, one may not feel its movements. As the baby grows and becomes stronger, it is able to make more distinguishable movements and these are the ones you feel. What do the baby kicks feel like? Most mothers-to-be define the first movements of their babies as gas bubbles, butterflies flying or soft flutters. Medically, this is known as quickening. It would take some time for the quickening to graduate to firmer movements. Is it true that I would feel the baby moving less as my pregnancy progresses? Not exactly. There would definitely be down times when the baby is sleeping or resting and you might not feel any movements. However, the bigger the baby gets, the lesser the space it has to move and the more you should feel its movements. Once you have determined a pattern and understood their sleep cycle, you would be able to predict their movements and rest time. How often should I feel the baby kick? Before week 28, there is no need as such to record baby movement. At times, up to three days may pass between movements. Once you cross the 28th-week mark, you need to keep a watch on fetal movements. Your doctor would give you a rough estimate of how much movement you should feel. A healthy baby kicks around a lot. Apart from their sleep time, if you notice the baby’s activity levels reducing or weakened movements, talk to your doctor. Pregnancy is a beautiful time for any mother-to-be, therefore, sit back, relax and enjoy yours to the fullest. Featured Image Source  

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Effective tips to prevent preterm labor

Along with the joy of pregnancy, a first-time mother also experiences anxiety and fear about labor and delivery. She wants her pregnancy to be smooth and uneventful. She is scared that something might go wrong during her pregnancy and her baby might be harmed. At times, a mother is unable to carry her baby for the entire nine months and has a delivery before the full term. A baby who gets delivered before the 37th week is termed as a preterm baby. A preterm baby may or may not be completely developed and are at a high risk of various diseases and infections. Although the causes of preterm labor are not exactly known, experts point to a number of factors can trigger preterm labor- Smoking, alcohol and drug use: Short interval between pregnancies Uterine and vaginal infections Pregnancy complications Structural anomalies of the uterus and/or cervix Gum infections Stress levels Occupational factors Carrying multiples Maternal age A previous preterm birth If you were preterm yourself Although, many of the above factors are beyond a mother’s control, there are still a few precautionary measures that can be taken to prevent preterm labor – Eat healthy – A healthy diet goes a long way in ensuring that you have a healthy baby. Consume foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, calcium and vitamin C, in order to provide your growing baby all the essential nutrients and build his/her immune system. Avoid alcohol – Consuming alcohol during pregnancy has often been linked to preterm labor so quit drinking for the sake of your baby. Alcohol may also harm your baby’s growth adversely. Say no to smoking – Mothers who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to go into preterm labor and their babies are more likely to have low birth weight. Stop smoking immediately to ensure the well-being of your baby. Exercise and yoga – Staying active, exercising regularly and practicing prenatal yoga not only ensures a smooth delivery but also helps to improve the chances of carrying your baby full term. Take prenatal vitamins – Vitamin deficiency is one of the main factors responsible for preterm labor. Make sure that you take all your prenatal vitamins timely. Keep an eye on your weight – Maintain a healthy weight as prescribed by your doctor. Adding too many kilos can lead to gestational diabetes and this might lead to early labor. Being underweight may also be a cause of preterm labor. Stay hydrated – Drink enough water to keep your body hydrated, simple it helps to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Maintain adequate gap between two pregnancies- If you’re planning another baby, ensure that you conceive after a minimum of 18 months after your first baby is born. If the mother’s body is weak, the chances of a preterm labor are higher. Do not hold on to urine – Urinate whenever you have the urge to. Holding on to urine can not only lead to urinary tract infections but also put unnecessary pressure on the bladder and lead to preterm labor. Get adequate rest – Getting adequate rest is of utmost importance in ensuring that you have an uneventful pregnancy and are able to carry your baby to the full term. Maintain good oral health – This might sound surprizing but good oral health goes a long way in ensuring that you carry your baby to the full term. Keep flu at bay – Research has shown that women who catch a flu often are more likely to go into preterm labor. Make sure that you are vaccinated against the flu and are getting enough rest even if you get it. Featured Image Source

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Abdominal pain during pregnancy

Abdominal pain during pregnancy can happen quite often and can become very uncomfortable at times. But how do you decide what pain is acceptable and when it indicates something more serious? Here’s everything you need to know about abdominal pain during pregnancy.   Is abdominal pain during pregnancy normal? Abdominal pain is a common occurrence during pregnancy and is normal in a healthy pregnancy. Carrying a baby puts pressure on your muscles, joints, veins. As your baby grows, the uterus tilts to the right which causes pain in the right side. The ligaments on both sides of your body grow to accommodate your growing baby so you may feel pain on both sides of the stomach. Having sex may sometimes trigger abdominal pain and cramping, especially during the third trimester. It might be a good idea to keep the sex soft at this time.   How to deal with normal abdominal pain during pregnancy? Getting some rest is the best way to deal with the cramps. Other methods include sitting down with your feet up, lying on the side opposite to the one which hurts, taking a warm bath, and using a hot water bottle or a heated wheat bag on the area which hurts. When can abdominal pain mean something more? Abdominal pain can be an indicator of something more under the following circumstances.   Abdominal pain unrelated to pregnancy This could be gas, bloating, UTI, kidney stones or even appendicitis. You should contact your doctor if the pain is accompanied by pain or burning when you pee, spotting or bleeding, vomiting, unusual vaginal discharge, tenderness and pain, chills and fever.   Abdominal pain during an early miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy If abdominal pain is accompanied by bleeding in your first trimester it could be an early miscarriage. You may also have painful cramping and dark, watery blood if you have an ectopic pregnancy in your first trimester. In either case, it’s best to go to the doctor immediately.   Abdominal pain during a late miscarriage Abdominal pain in the second trimester is usually nothing to worry about. In rare cases, it may indicate a late miscarriage only if it’s accompanied by bleeding. It usually occurs between 12 and 24 weeks.   Abdominal pain in the third trimester Severe abdominal pain in the third trimester could be an indicator of premature labour. In this case, you would feel pain in your pelvic or lower tummy area, backache, mild tummy cramps and diarrhoea. You may even have your water breaking, and regular contractions, or uterus tightening. This may happen between 24 weeks and 37 weeks of pregnancy and your doctor should be consulted immediately.    

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7 Strategies to make labour easier

Labour is the hardest physical task that a woman experiences. Since a normal delivery takes less time to heal and doesn’t leave any visible scars on a woman’s body, most women aim to deliver vaginally. In order to do so, the mother needs to prepare her body accordingly. Although labour is a long and painful task, there are some things that you can definitely do to make it easier and smoother for you. 1. Do Squats Daily Squats is the most beneficial exercise for every woman looking forward to delivery close to their due date. Due to its role in facilitating smoother deliveries, squats are considered to be the best exercise for easy labour. The best way to do squats is using a medicine ball, keeping it between the lower back and the wall and rotating the toes and knees as wide apart as possible. It is recommended to do 15 squats daily in this position for expecting mothers to have a great delivery experience. 2. Practice Yoga After consulting your gynecologist, practice yoga during pregnancy regularly. Not only does it help to relax the body and make it flexible but also improves your breathing and prepares the body for labour. Various yoga asanas help to make the pelvic muscles more flexible to ease labour. It helps to get rid of stress and also provides relief from the aches and pains of pregnancy. Women who practice yoga during pregnancy suffer from fewer health problems. 3. Sleep Adequately and Regularly Among all the tips on how to make labour easier and faster, this is the easiest to follow and is the most effective. As discussed earlier, such a stressful and important event like labour requires calmness from the mother’s end. Only a well and adequately rested person can adapt to such a scenario seamlessly. An expecting mother should sleep at least seven hours or more every day for a faster and smoother labour experience. The sleeping experience should be enhanced with soft, skin-friendly pillows and recliner beds for the comfort of the mother and the child. 4. Massage Regular massage of the stomach along with perineal massage towards the end of the pregnancy helps to decrease discomfort and relax the muscles of the stomach and the vagina. Perineal massage helps to stretch the tissues of the vagina and this reduces the chances of vaginal tearing during birth. Massage also helps to increase the blood circulation in the perineal tissues and this in turn speeds up the process of healing after childbirth. Massaging of the thighs may also be done during labour to release tension between the contractions and to encourage the labour to progress. 5. Practice Breathing Techniques Labour is an extremely painful experience for any woman. Breathing helps the woman in labour to adapt to the pain better and also helps in relaxing her. Breathing also helps in setting rhythmic contractions and helping the woman to push better and more efficiently. Breathing also ensures that the body has enough oxygen and the mother does not pass out due to the astronomical labour pain and cramps due to her contractions. 6. Take a Childbirth Class Pregnancy is a mentally and physically taxing period for expecting parents where there is a lot of new things to be learnt and a lot of responsibilities to be understood as well as the do’s and don’ts of parenting. Hence, it is always good to be prepared for the moment of childbirth well in advance to make sure everything goes perfectly and according to plan. A childbirth class also relieves pressure that can be faced by dealing with the unknown and helps the partners be prepared for everything from the water-breaking to the cutting of the umbilical cord. A childbirth class can also be beneficial in providing easy labour tips to make the whole process simpler and faster. 7. Stay Upright during Labour Rather than lying down and trying to push, it is considered to be better to stay upright on the bed and push. This is because gravity plays to the advantage of the mother and child as the child’s head pressing against the cervix due to gravity helps it in dilating faster and more easily. A variety of positions can also be tried out, like kneeling, squatting and standing to see what gives the best results during labour. Movement of the body also helps widen the pelvis helping the baby’s head to pass through easily. Hope the above strategies help to make your labour shorter and easier!   Content Source Featured Image Source

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7 reasons why you can't get sleep at night

One of the best things you can do to manage insomnia while you’re pregnant is to have a good sleep routine. Begin by trying to go to bed at the same time every night. Start your routine with something relaxing to help you unwind.  Avoid screen time at least an hour before bed. Blue light from the TV, your mobile phone, or tablet can have an impact on your body’s circadian rhythm. Try reading a book instead. Taking a soothing bath might also make you sleepy. Just be careful that the temperature isn’t too hot — that can be dangerous for your developing baby. This is especially true during early pregnancy. Being pregnant is the best phase of your life, this is the common term everyone says, but no one tells you about the challenges. There are also a lot of sleepless nights that a woman has to face. As, the reasons can vary as per your body but the most common ones are discussed below: Frequent visit to the bathroom: Holding a life inside you is not easy. As you eat you eat for two, similarly as you drink your water intake also increases. The more you drink the more you want to pee. Your bathroom visits can make you stay up during nights. Indigestion: The hormones play a major role in here, increase in hormones can lead to indigestion. Avoid eating spicy food and opting for a healthy diet can be of help here. On the other hand, avoid eating two hours before going to bed can be of help. Baby’s movement: Baby’s like to move in the womb when mothers are lying still. Movement in the rib cage is uncomfortable for mothers and can make you stay up for all time.   Even if you are not able to sleep after adequate efforts, see your doctor and get help rightaway. Feature Image Source

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25 Foods to increase your breast milk: How your body produces nature's perfect baby food

After you become a mother, all you are worried about is your baby's food. That is, breast milk. Some women are lucky, while some struggle to produce the right amount of breast milk. But thankfully, there are certain foods that increase breast milk and enhance lactation. Breast milk contains all the prime nutrients required for an overall growth and brain development of a newborn. Here is a list of the top 25 foods that you must include in your diet to increase breast milk and also keep you healthy. 1. Oatmeal: Oats are easy to prepare as a meal. 2. Fennel Seeds: Fennel seeds boost the quantity of your breast milk. 3. Fenugreek Seeds: Fenugreek seeds are known for boosting breast milk supply. 4. Unripe Papayas: Unripe Papayas are part of the South Asian cuisine. 5. Spinach And Beet Leaves: Spinach and beet leaves contain iron, calcium and folic acid. 6. Garlic: Garlic is considered the best food to increase breast milk, as it is well-known for boosting lactation in nursing mothers. 7. Black Sesame Seeds: Black Sesame seeds are a rich source of calcium and believed to increase milk supply. 8. Carrots: A glass of carrot juice with breakfast or lunch will work wonders in lactation. 9. Water And Juices: Drinking water and juices is supposed to boost lactation. It increases the total milk volume per feed. 10. Barley: Barley not only boosts lactation, it also keeps you hydrated. 11. Asparagus: Asparagus is considered a must-have food for nursing mothers. 12. Brown Rice: Brown rice enhances breast milk production. It has hormone stimulants which boost lactation. It also gives nursing moms the extra energy that is required post delivery.  It also helps increase the appetite so as to enable the mother to eat nutritious food. 13. Apricots: During and post pregnancy, there are hormonal imbalance that takes place in your body. Dried apricots have certain chemicals which balance out the hormone levels in your body. 14. Salmon: Salmon is a great source of EFA (Essential Fatty acids) and Omega-3. 15. Cumin Seeds: Cumin seeds boost milk supply. Make sure you have them in moderation though. 16. Basil Leaves: Basil leaves are a great source of anti-oxidants.   17. Dill Leaves: Dill leaves look like a bunch of fine, dark green, silky hair. They have a distinct odor. 18. Bottle Gourd: Bottle gourd is generally not a preferred vegetable, but is high on nutrition. 19. Sweet Potato: Sweet potato is a major source of potassium. It has energy producing carbohydrate which is needed to fight the fatigue. 20. Almonds: Almonds are rich in Omega-3 and Vitamin E. 21. Chickpea: Chickpea is a protein snack and lactation booster for nursing mommies. 22. Drumstick: Drumstick has high iron and calcium content. 23. Poppy Seeds (Khuskhus): It is very important for nursing mothers to relax completely during lactation. Poppy seeds have sedative properties that help you relax and calm down. 24. Cow Milk: Cow milk has calcium and EFA. It promotes lactation. In fact, by consuming cow milk during lactation, you will help your child avoid developing an allergy to cow milk. 25. Oils And Fats: It is recommended to keep fats and oils in your diet to a minimum, post pregnancy. All the above foods have been traditionally used to improve milk flow in new moms. However, while some have scientific backing the others don’t. Consume the foods in limited quantities, and note the side-effects, if any. Also, go for organic products as the pesticide residue in the foods and herbs can increase the lead content in your milk. Feature Image Source

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Is it safe to have sex in the third trimester of pregnancy?

During pregnancy, your doctor aks you to abstain from sex for the first trimester. But, you must also know that you can get intimate with your partner without any fear during the Third Trimester. Let's answer some questions that you may have regarding this: Is sex during the third trimester safe? If you are having a normal, healthy pregnancy without any complications, sex is totally safe right up until the day of delivery. Men may worry that it may be putting the baby at risk, but you should inform your partner that he is nowhere near close to doing so, using descriptive measurements if need be. Is sex during the third trimester safe for you? Not only is sex during the third trimester safe, it’s healthy too! Women often experience a heightened sex drive during late pregnancy. Finding a comfortable position can be a bit difficult, but some experimenting and positional creativity should do the trick.  Are there any times when sex during the third trimester is not safe? Although third trimester sex is perfectly healthy most of the time, there are a few instances in which you should avoid having sex. Bleeding or spotting after sex: Women who notice bleeding or spotting after sex should probably avoid intercourse, at least until you talk to your healthcare provider to determine the cause. Placenta previa: This is a pregnancy complication in which the placenta either partially or totally covers the cervix. Women who have been diagnosed with placenta previa should probably avoid having vaginal sex, as it could cause a more serious issue. Once your water has broken: Women should avoid having sex after their water breaks, as a baby is no longer protected from possible infections. The bottom line Though it may seem uncomfortable, or your partner may have reservations, sex during the third trimester is a totally normal and healthy activity to engage in, and can help bring you and your partner closer as you prepare for your new one's arrival!      Feature Image Source  

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Third trimester sleep: A distant memory

Most women, who have been through pregnancy, find it troublesome to sleep during some stage of their pregnancy term. A good night’s sleep gradually becomes a distant memory as the mother moves closer to the date of delivery. Here is a guide on what to expect in terms of sleep during the third trimester of pregnancy. Trouble being Comfortable As you move closer to the end of your pregnancy term, getting sleep becomes a hazy memory. The baby bump just gets bigger and by the third trimester it’s big enough to not let you lie on the bed comfortably. Try sleeping on your left side with pillow fit between your knees and behind your back. If this doesn’t help, settle in a comfortable chair. When you are due by four to six weeks, you will realise that the best sleep that you get is when you sit up. Pressure on the Bladder Do you remember having spent more time in the bathroom than outside during the first trimester? Well, that phase will be back by the time you are approaching or are already in your last trimester. This time, however, it is the baby that is putting pressure on your bladder. To cut the number of trips you make to the loo, you may reduce the number of fluids you take, especially in the late afternoon so you can have a peaceful sleep at night. Heartburn When you are in the third trimester of pregnancy, you are likely to experience heartburn, leg cramps, snoring, restless leg syndrome and the baby’s kicking and squirming at night. Several studies have shown that pregnant women in their last trimester experience only few periods of deep sleep and are more likely to wake up in the middle of the night than they did before. It is during the third trimester that a pregnant woman’s sleep pattern takes a nose dive. Tips Once you have crossed the 28th week, it is advisable that you sleep on either side. Avoid lying flat on your back when you are beyond 28 weeks or in labour as the pressure of the womb that is carrying the baby, the amniotic acid and placenta may add strain on blood veins and block blood circulation to your brain and heart.  This may also lead to a decline in the blood pressure and thereby cause you to be dizzy apart from causing other negative impact on the baby and its heart pulse. Content Source  

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Fetal Heartbeat: When will you first hear it?

The best feeling in the world is hearing your baby’s heartbeat for the first time. As exciting as it can be, this is also a time that makes new parents most anxious. Here is everything that you need to know about your baby’s heartbeat and the different options that you have to monitor it. When will I first hear the baby’s heartbeat? Your baby’s heart begins to beat at about 6 weeks of age. It is when you go for your first ultrasound that you actually hear and even see your baby’s heartbeat for the first time. That happens at about 8 weeks into your pregnancy if you choose to have the ultrasound test early. The best way to hear your baby’sheartbeat is to get a Doppler ultrasound which is recommended when you are 10 to 12 weeks into your pregnancy. Factors that affect when you will hear the baby’s heartbeat There are several factors that affect when you will be able to hear the baby’s heartbeat clearly such as: The position of the baby- in case your baby is positioned with the back against the back of the mother, the heartbeat will be harder to hear and may be heard clearly after the fetus develops a little more. The amount of amniotic fluid:  if the amniotic fluid in the womb is more, then chances are that the heartbeat will be fainter in the first few sessions. The weight of the mother: In case the mother is overweight, chances are that the heartbeat is harder to hear. How to hear the baby’s heartbeat? The best option to hear the baby’s heartbeat is to have a Doppler ultrasound performed by an expert. This machine uses sound waves that are passed into the skin and the tissues. When there is any movement, they bounce back and give replay the recording along with an image so that you can not only hear but also see your baby’s heartbeat. There are at-home Doppler devices available that moms may choose. However, these machines are not accurate and can cause unwanted anxiety in mothers about the baby’s heartbeat. It can also make you miss some important warning signs about your baby’s health. The unmonitored exposure to these sound waves can also be extremely harmful for the mother and the baby. So, make sure you take an appointment with your caregiver to monitor your baby’s heartbeat.

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How can you tell when your baby has dropped?

At first glance, the phrase “when your baby drops” is possibly alarming, especially to a woman expecting her first ever baby. Who’s going to drop your baby? How could that be a good thing? What can I do to stop this from happening? After all, once you reach the last month of pregnancy, people may ask you whether or not your baby has dropped. This article will answer all of the questions you have about your baby dropping, as well as how it affects your pregnancy and impending labor.   What does baby dropping exactly mean? No one is predicting that your baby will fall out of you, nor that they will be dropped on the floor after they’re born. When your baby drops it means their head has come down into your pelvis, still safely tucked behind your cervix and inside the protective amniotic sack. When will my baby drop? This typically happens around 2 to 4 weeks before your baby will be born, although since due dates are so arbitrary, this can really mean any time after 36 weeks of pregnancy. By this stage of pregnancy, your baby fills your uterus, and there isn’t much room for them to move around anymore. Your baby’s head moving into your pelvis is a good sign that your baby and your body are getting ready for labor, but don’t grab your hospital bag yet! Labor could still be weeks, even an entire month away from the time you feel your baby drops, so wait for more certain signs of labor before getting too excited. What does it feel like when baby drops? How can I tell? There are many symptoms that can accompany your baby dropping. It won’t be a sudden thing, most likely, but more gradual over the course of a few weeks or days as your baby slips further into your pelvis to get ready for labor. This process, also called “lightening”, aids in stretching your pelvic floor muscles so that when labor does begin your body is more prepared to guide your baby out with the gentle squeeze of your uterine muscle contractions.   Content source Featured image source

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Eating well in your third trimester: 37-40 weeks

Some women do not prefer eating at all at this stage but there are women who face the first stage for very long period; so, they need snacks and drinks from time to time. Here are few tips that can help you through. Eating Healthy With Your Baby In The First Two Weeks Once the baby is born, it’s not over yet. You still need to continue to have healthy food to recover and to breastfeed your baby. However you cannot cook alone; so, take help of your relatives or cook and keep it in your fridge. You can use it for a week and eat in batches. If you don’t have enough support or you are living just with your husband then you may want to hire a cook and a maid. Let them look after the kitchen till you recover and are able to do the household works. Some also prefer to order food from reputed restaurants. So, think about it and choose an option appropriate for you. Breakfast As always keep your breakfast simple yet healthy. Prefer a bowl of milk with cereal like cornflakes or sandwiches with lots of veggies. Salads are also good to start but make sure to have a glass of milk for energy. Keeping your breakfast simple will help you a lot by saving time and energy. Lunch Soups can be a good idea to go for. Beetroot is rich in folate, magnesium, potassium. Avoid adding cream or yogurt while preparing beetroot juice and freeze it so that you have it in batches. You need beetroot, carrot, celery, potato, onion, olive oil, vegetable stock, bay leaves, etc. to prepare this. Once you peel the beetroot grate it or process it and cut carrot into small pieces. Add celery and potato pieces and blitz it. Heat some olive oil in a saucepan and stir in some chopped onion. Once it turn light brown add vegetables, stock and bay leaves. Boil and cover the lid. Let it boil over low flame for 25 minutes and then blend it to smooth liquid using food processor. If you add cream or yogurt then do not store it. Snack Try having fruity flapjacks in the evening as oats present in it is rich in fibre. It can be stored in the freezer for few days. You will need sunflower margarine, demerara sugar, golden syrup, porridge oats and chopped dates. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C and heat margarine and sugar till they melt completely. Stir in the golden syrup, oats, dates and mix the ingredients well. Take a greased baking tin and press into it and bake for 12 to 15 minutes until it turns golden brown. Remove and keep it aside to cool down. Cut the flapjacks and leave it to cool down. You can also have fresh fruit juice, smoothies like mango smoothie, tomato apple juice, baked banana chips, etc. Dinner Have you ever tried ragu sauce before? On freezing it, ragu sauce will can be stay for a couple of days. Have it with pasta, lasagne sheets and cheese sausage. You need lean minced beef, finely chopped onion, crushed garlic clove, smoked bacon pieces, chopped tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, red wine and oregano. Take the beef in a non-stick pan and heat it; keep stirring while breaking up this mixture. Add chopped onion, bacon, garlic and heat it to fry. Keep stirring and cooking till onions turn soft. Chop the sundried tomatoes and add them to the pan along with chopped canned tomatoes, herbs and some wine. Let this boil for some time and then reduce the flame. Cover the lid and leave it for 35 to 40 minutes and then stir well. Alcohol in the wine you added will cook off slowly. Take it out and let it cool down before you have it. This was easy to prepare this; similarly, you can try many simple yet healthy recipes to get nutrients from the food.   Feature Image Source  

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Last -minute To-Dos before Delivery

hoNow that your baby is about to arrive any day, you need to make some last-minute arrangements so that you don't panic- Buy some nursing bras and nursing gowns The first thing that you’ll need after your baby is born include nursing bras and nursing gowns to aid you in breastfeeding your little one. Buy at least 2-3 comfortable nursing bras and some nursing gowns so that you are all set to nurse your baby. Pack your hospital bag Pack your hospital bag around the 32nd week of pregnancy. You would need baby clothes, toiletries, bottle, formula, diapers, diaper rash cream, maternity clothes, sanitary pads, comfortable cotton underwear, towel, toiletries, baby blanket and a baby towel during your stay in the hospital. Collect breastfeeding essentials While nursing, you might also experience some leaking so you need to have some breast pads handy. At times, your might be away or are unable to produce milk, so a breast pump would be handy in such a scenario. If your nipples hurt, you can soothe using a hot compress and by applying some ghee on them. Keep some homemade ghee in a small bottle near your bedside. Gather baby essentials Before you welcome your baby, buy some baby clothes along with mittens, socks and cap, according to the weather and buy some baby toiletries and other baby essentials such as diapers, nappies, and a car seat. Waterproof your bed Since babies have no control over their urine, expect a wet bed every once in a while. The best way to prevent your mattress from getting spoilt is by putting a plastic sheet on your mattress. Make space for baby stuff Now that you have a lot of baby stuff to keep, you will need to make space for your little one’s clothes and toiletries. Empty out at least 2 shelves so that you can arrange your baby’s essentials there. Baby proof your home Make your home safe for your baby. Remove all sharp objects and put all tiny objects away. Tiny objects can be taken in the mouth by babies and lead to choking. If your baby is going to sleep with you, ensure that your bed is safe, else install bed guards on all four sides. If your baby is going to sleep in a cot or a separate room, install appropriate baby monitors. Clean your house The immune system of babies is underdeveloped and so they are more prone to catch infections. Clean up all the clutter and dirt from your house to give your child a clean house and fresh air to breathe. Make sure all carpets, draperies and bed sheets are clean. This will minimise the risk of infections for your baby. Hire a house help Once your baby is born, you won’t be able to do anything more than looking after your baby and your health, so hire some help to assist with the household chores. Choose a hospital After the 32nd week, be prepared to rush to the hospital anytime, so you must choose a hospital beforehand and it would be better if it is near your house. Finalise a paediatrician Your baby’s well-being will be your top priority once your baby is born, so do some research and find out the best paediatrician near your house. Pre-wash your baby’s clothes Since baby skin is very delicate and can get rashes easily, pre-wash all your baby’s clothes to get rid of any allergens that might be present. Contact your insurance provider If you’re going to be claiming a maternity cover, contact your insurance provider and understand the entire procedure. Gather all the required documents and keep them with your hospital bag.  Sleep, relax and have fun While you await your baby’s arrival, you must know that your life is going to change completely once he/she is there. So, have fun, meet with friends, sleep as much as you can, read books, watch movies, spend time at the spa and indulge in some “me time” since you’re not going to get time for all these later! Develop a Birth Plan Discuss with your doctor about your prefered birth plan and the people you would need around you to support you. Talk to your doctor about pain management methods and any other concerns you might have about baby care after birth.  Inform your employer You need to inform your employer about your tentative delivery date and maternity leave and handover or delegate your work to others while you're going to be on leave.  Featured Image Source

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7 Signs of labor: Know what to expect

Pre-labour, or, the early signs of labour include… Mood swings In the day or two before you go into labour, you may notice heightened anxiety, mood swings, weepiness, or a general sense of impatience. (This may be hard to distinguish from the usual 9-months-pregnant impatience, we know.) It can also manifest in extreme nesting. These may all be early signs of labour; your whole body is getting ready for the main event. Cramps One of the first signs of labour is actually a familiar feeling: the pain that comes with menstrual cramps. If you’re starting to feel those diffuse discomfort and pain in the abdomen, it may be a sign that active labour is just a few hours away. Intense lower back pain Along with those seemingly familiar cramps is intense lower back pain. Sure, the final weeks of carrying around a giant human (and its liquid sustenance sac) make your back permanently sore, but this is different level of pain. And for people who experience it, it usually starts at the same time as the cramps. Spotting Another sign that your baby might be ready to start the process of shimmying down the birth canal is light spotting or slightly brown or pink discharge. This happens because the cervix is shortening and the tissue is thinning to prepare for your baby’s exit from the womb. (You may have heard the term “bloody show”? This is it.) You may even be so lucky as to pass a “mucus plug,” which is just what it sounds like, and which was blocking the opening of the cervix to protect against infection. Once that plug comes off, it’s a clear sign that the baby is ready to come out. (Don’t confuse light spotting or brown discharge with actual bleeding — if you see a flow if blood, that’s something you need to call your doctor about.) Upset stomach A few hours before labour begins, you may also feel some digestive discomfort, and even have diarrhea. This upset stomach is your body’s (clever) way of preparing you for delivery (by evacuating anything that might get in the way). Water breaking Contrary to what movies tell us, this rarely occurs to women as a sudden deluge while they’re standing in the supermarket; the vast majority of women experience labour without their water ever breaking at home or in a public place. (It usually happens when you’re already at the hospital.) But, for the women who do experience some version of the rupturing of the membranes before they get to the hospital, this can be a trickle of clear liquid. (Some women wake up thinking they’ve wet the bed!) If you experience any form of water breaking, call your doctor. Because this is a sign that the amniotic sac has ruptured, you may be more susceptible to infection after it happens; depending on your medical history and pregnancy, your doctor may want to see you, or ask you to come to the hospital, after this happens. Regular contractions Finally, probably the clearest sign that you’re in labour is regular contractions. You’ll know you’re experiencing contractions because they escalate. Over time, these signs of labour will get stronger (read: more painful), and they will become more frequent. If you notice there’s a pattern, you’re definitely in labour. Advice varies on what stage of process requires you to be at the hospital (or seen by a midwife or other birthing support professional), so seek advice from your doctor or midwife about how close your contractions should be when you make that call (and get moving). You’ve probably heard about the fakeout called Braxton Hicks contractions. These are not signs of labour — they are thought to be part of the way the body is preparing for labour. The main difference between Braxton Hicks and “real” labour contractions is that Braxton Hicks are not as painful; they are not steady, consistent, and escalating; and finally, they occur mainly around your belly (it looks/feels almost like the area around your belly tightens) rather than an overall sensation around your abdomen. But most important to remember: Braxton Hicks contractions go away eventually, they don’t get worse. Feature Image Source

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