Things To Consider Before You Plan Your Pregnancy

Once you start thinking of expanding your family, your thoughts naturally skip ahead in time to determine the needs of your junior. Most of your planning will focus on post-pregnancy and you completely forget about the present stage. Most women do not make alterations in their current habits before they plan their pregnancy. You must understand that a properly planned pregnancy is important for you and your future baby. Some of the important things that you must consider before you plan your pregnancy are listed below:   1. Visit a Preconception:   Get a preconception checkup from your doctor or midwife before you plan your pregnancy. Your doctor will review your family medical history, your present health, medications etc. There are several medicines that you should not consume during pregnancy. Your doctor will likely recommend you multivitamins, immunization injections and will also suggest you exercises which will keep you fit and healthy during the pregnancy. You will be asked for several medical tests to determine your immunity levels. Medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma have to be controlled before you consider getting pregnant.   2. Genetic Screening:   There are several inherited conditions such as sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis etc. which have to be screened before you consider pregnancy. If you or your partner have any of these diseases, there are 25 percent chances that it will be transferred to your child. Consult a genetic counselor who will be able to guide you properly so that these genetic diseases are not transferred to your baby. Genetic carrier screening requires either blood sample or saliva of you and your partner and in most cases, this test is covered under insurance policies.   3. Folic Acid Supplements:   Folic acid supplements are crucial even at the starting stage of pregnancy. Start taking 400 micrograms (mcg) of Folic acid supplements at least a month before you plan your pregnancy. Chances of neural tube defects are lowered as much as 50-70 percent if you take proper dosage of folic acid. As your pregnancy will advance, you may have to take a higher dosage of folic acid as per the suggestions of your doctor and regular blood tests. Even if you take multivitamin tablets, ensure that it contains 400 mcg of folic acid. Another important vitamin that you must watch for is vitamin A. Make sure that your multivitamin does not contain more than 770 mcg (unless it's in the form of beta-carotene) as excess vitamin A can cause birth defects.   4. Unhealthy Habits:   It's now time to stop smoking, consuming alcohol or any other drug. Smoking can lead to premature birth, miscarriage and low birth weight in babies. The usage of these drugs can also lower your fertility. Moderate drinking (i.e. one drink per day) is fine while you are trying to conceive but do not drink when you are pregnant as a small amount of alcohol can harm the baby inside your stomach. Talk to your counselor if you are unable to quit drinking. Your counselor may prescribe you some therapy or group programs that will help you in quitting these bad habits.   5. Weight:   Low or high Body Mass Index (BMI) is likely to cause complications while you try to get pregnant. Higher BMI will cause delivery issues and low BMI will increase the probability of underweight babies. Talk to your healthcare provider and start with the proper exercises at least one month before you plan your pregnancy. Create a fitness plan and follow it properly. Include normal exercises such as cycling, walking, and weight training (if required). You may also include meditation and yoga in your daily fitness program.   6. Healthy Food:   Although you are not eating for two (you and baby) yet but start making healthy choices when it comes to food. Include whole grains, calcium-rich foods such as milk or yogurt, and proteins (beans, seeds, nuts, soy products, poultry etc.) in your day-to-day diet. Also, include fresh fruits and vegetables in your health regime as they will help you in staying fit and will put a check on your weight.   7. Oral Health:   Do not overlook your oral health when you are considering getting pregnant. There will be several hormonal shifts during the pregnancy which will make you more susceptible to gum disease. Higher estrogen and progesterone levels can cause swelling or tender gums which may bleed when you brush. Hence, check with your dentist if you need any special care during the pregnancy.   Wrapping up:   Above guideline will definitely help you in planning your pregnancy. Remember that a healthy mother is a key to a healthy baby. Plan your pregnancy at least 1-2 months before so that even the minor issues get resolved.  

Superfoods For New Moms To Increase Breast Milk

As a new mom, you are in an entirely new domain as you are dealing with 2 bodies (yours and the baby) and you are also wracked with doubts. Am I producing enough milk & is my baby still hungry are some of the questions that will create a havoc in your mind. You must remember that lactation is vital and your breast milk contains all the essential nutrients that are important for the baby’s growth and immunity. Hence, a healthy lifestyle and balanced nutrition are important for new moms. In most of the cases, a woman makes enough breast milk but owing to modern lifestyle changes, less breast milk production is gaining dominance. There are certain superfoods which are known to increase breast milk supply. These are natural supplements does not have any side-effect (unless you are allergic). Some of the superfoods are listed below: 1. Barley: It is one of the most widely consumed cereal grain which is found in bread, beverages and various cuisines in every culture. It is a great source of dietary fiber, vitamins & minerals which are required in day-to-day life. It contains beta-glucan which is a polysaccharide and is known to increase prolactin (breastfeeding hormone). Barley is also a component of beer and is still lactogenic. Hence a tall glass of Guinness may help in increasing the breast milk supply. Barley can be used in the form of flakes (in milk) and you can also add barley to soups, risotto, stew, salads etc. 2. Fennel: Fennel belongs to carrot family and is a flowering plant species. It has a rich aroma with licorice-flavored bulb and green fronds. Fennel has been used for the treatment of digestive problems and to increase breastmilk supply (galactagogue). You can use fennel as a vegetable, spice and in the form of fennel tea. The green part of fennel is used as a vegetable and the seed part is often used as a herb or spice. While consuming fennel you must not overdo as it may have side effects. It is also important to know that fennel is safe during breastfeeding but it can be dangerous during pregnancy. 3. Fenugreek: Fenugreek contains phytoestrogens which are known to increase breastmilk supply.  You may notice an increase in production within 1-2 days after you start consuming this magical herb. While consuming fenugreek, its dosage plays an important role. You can start with less than 3.5 gm per day and may slowly increase the amount until your urine and sweat smell like maple syrup. It's not always necessary that fenugreek consumption will increase the milk production. Many moms have reported no change in milk production even after consuming fenugreek for several weeks. 4. Oats: Oats have a second highest concentration of beta-glucan (after Barley) and are well-known breast milk enhancer in terms of quality and quantity. Although there is no scientific evidence on oatmeal as a milk producer, however, several lactation experts recommend an oatmeal for new moms. You can consume oats with milk or you can also prepare a cooked oatmeal with spices. Oats contain good amounts of iron and help in decreasing the cholesterol levels. 5. Brewer’s yeast: It contains high amounts of iron, protein, selenium and vitamin B. It is a nutritional supplement for breastfeeding moms, however, there have been few studies on brewer’s yeast as a lactogenic food. Brewer’s yeast has a bitter taste and it readily passes into the breast milk. You can use brewer’s yeast in baked goods such as pancakes etc. 6. Papaya: Papaya has been used as a galactagogue for centuries and is used in both raw and cooked form. Consumption of green papaya (unripe) boosts the production of oxytocin hormone which regulates the production of breast milk. Papaya is also rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Pantothenic acid, Folate and several minerals. Hence adding papaya to your postnatal diet will surely help you in increasing the breast milk production. Wrapping up: There are several other foods such as garlic, apricots, asparagus, sesame seeds, anise seeds, coriander, red beets etc. which have a potential to increase breastmilk supply. However, consult a lactation specialist before consuming anything. It is also important to understand that you must not over consume the above superfoods because they may have side effects (including a decrease in milk production).

How to overcome baby blues?

You've just had a baby. You expected to be basking in new mom bliss. You expected to be celebrating the arrival of your little one with your friends and family. But instead of celebrating, you feel like crying. You were prepared for joy and excitement, not exhaustion, anxiety, and weepiness. You may not have been expecting it, but the majority of women experience at least some symptoms of the baby blues immediately after childbirth. It is a feeling precipitated by the sudden change in hormones after delivery, stress, isolation, sleep deprivation, and fatigue. You might feel more tearful, overwhelmed, and emotionally fragile. Generally, this will start within the first couple of days after delivery, peak around one week, and taper off by the end of the second week postpartum. There’s plenty you can do to feel better, though, and get back on the road to happy motherhood Seek support Without a strong social network of family and friends, it’s easy to feel helpless and alone. When you feel like everything is on you, even a minor annoyance, like yet another poopy diaper, can quickly lead to a full-blown breakdown. Seek out someone who can say, “‘I get it.” That should be your partner, but it can also include a best friend or another family member. When you have the baby blues, these people will let you be as emotional as you want, and help facilitate the adjustment much quicker. Build a mommy network Reach out to friends or moms from your prenatal classes. Chances are they’re going through something similar or, better yet, have already overcome the challenges of the baby blues and can offer solid advice. Pursue empathetic friends, since they’re most helpful during stressful times Engage in skin to skin contact Research found that moms who engaged in six hours of skin-to-skin contact with baby in the first week reported fewer depression behaviors. What’s more, those who did skin-to-skin contact for even three hours a day reduced infant crying by 43 percent. Sleep You will notice moodiness in any healthy person if deprived of sleep. New moms are often deprived of sleep as they get little time to spend on themselves. To help lessen the baby blues effects, try to sleep when baby sleeps—the dishes and laundry can wait. Set realistic expectations Motherhood is often not how you dreamed it to be while pregnant. Once you’re home from the hospital you’ll likely feel scattered, so instead of trying to do things “just so,” focus on getting into a rhythm—even if that rhythm involves walking around like a zombie Eat healthy Healthy eating will keep you energetic to cope with every situation, it’s important for both you and your baby. A well balanced diet will help preventing baby blue at the earliest. Practice mindfulness Staying in tune with yourself through mindfulness that is awareness during a particular moment is said to reduce the likelihood of postpartum depression, read books or make a habit of writing diary as you will have lot of pleasing moments with your little one, which you would like to remember later. Practice yoga and meditation to reduce stress. Remember that you are not alone but millions of women go through the same stage including your mom, mom’s mom and so on.

Post Pregnancy Hair and Skin Care Tips

During pregnancy the hormone level becomes very high. So you see a lot of changes during and post pregnancy. Some women experience pregnancy glow during their pregnancy and after delivery as the hormone level becomes normal they have acne, pigmentation, stretch marks, puff eyes, dark circles and hair loss. But the good news is that those changes are mostly temporary and will get back to normal on its own in due course of time. Once your baby arrives, your center of attention will be your little one and you will be running short of time with barely any time left for yourself. But try to manage 10 minutes of your time to take care of your skin and hair, also hit the bed whenever your little one sleeps, because less sleep increases the post pregnancy skin and hair problem. Below are the changes you see in your hair and skin and the tips to take care of them: Hair Loss During pregnancy the hair grows due to rise in hormone, post pregnancy, the hormone levels come back to normal and the normal hair cycle is resumed. Therefore you will see shedding of hair, but this is temporary and the normal hair texture will come back in the 6th to 12th month post pregnancy. Tips Eat healthy - Ensure your diet contains food that is rich in antioxidants. The antioxidants strengthen the roots of your hair. Keep your scalp and hair clean – Wash your hair with a gentle anti-hair fall shampoo and apply conditioner to avoid breakage. Take vitamin supplements - Post pregnancy your body will need some supplements to help you get back your strength. Ensure you take your vitamins like Vitamin B and C regularly to maintain fuller hair. Get a short haircut – If you are losing a lot of hair, go for a haircut and keep it short, the shortcut will make it look fuller. Acne, Pigmentation, Dark Circles, Stretch Marks and Puffy Eyes The high levels of estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy cause acne and pigmentation. Also the change in hormone level causes dark circles and puffy eyes. The most stubborn one is the stretch marks which are caused due to the sudden contraction of the skin post birth. Tips Cleans your face - Make sure you cleanse your face with a mild cleanser twice a day. Use products with mild or natural ingredients like aloe Vera and eucalyptus. Drink enough water – Ensure that you drink 8 to 10 glasses of water and have a healthy diet, also sleep whenever your baby sleeps. This may sound odd but this is the best way to take a good rest and avoid puffy eyes. Use sunscreen and moisturizer - Use a sunscreen daily, even if you tend to stay indoors to aggravate pigmentation or new dark spots. As a daily moisturizer, use one that is specifically made for pigmented skin. As soon as you know you’re pregnant, start using a moisturizer rich in olive oil or an anti-stretch mark cream in the problem areas to focus on your belly and breasts. Post birth, if you have developed stretch marks use a reputable anti-stretch mark cream on the affected areas. One of the key measures for reducing stretch marks is a healthy diet and exercise.

Amazing Things that Only Newly Mothers Do

Being a mum is one of the best feelings in the world. The moment you realize that you are carrying a life in your womb, things start getting change, though in a positive way. From seeing two pink lines on the pregnancy kit to seeing your baby in the ultrasound machine, from feeling the first baby kick to struggling with morning sickness, from bearing the unbearable labor pain to delivering a life, being a mother comes with a ton of emotions and feelings that cannot be expressed in words. In today’s article, we will learn about some of the best feelings in the world that only a new mum can relate to. So, if you have just experienced a life-changing moment of giving birth to a baby, and enjoying your motherhood job, this article is meant for you. Best Feelings that Only Newly Mums Can Understand Double your happiness and boost your excitement levels by relating to below-mentioned motherhood emotions and feelings. You will fall in love it, we bet! So, let’s get started. Feeling a tiny fist curl around your finger when you touch your baby’s palm Being a new mum, you will be spending a lot of time with your baby. Most of the times, you will see yourself carrying the baby around your arms and that is a fact. While sleeping or playing, you will see that the baby is trying to curl her fist around your index finger. This emotional connection between the two of you indicates how strongly you are connected to each other. Breathing in the best smell in the world: sleepy baby There's no wonder how immensely beautiful is the moment of seeing your baby sleeping. But, do you know what’s more intensifying? It’s laying aside of her and breathing in the best small in the world, the smell of the sleeping baby. Congratulate, you are now authorized to feel it. Being the most tired but the happiest person Taking care of a baby is not an easy task. You will require being with the baby at most of the times. From feeding her at regular intervals of time to monitoring her activities, keeping her clothes and her self-germ free to taking care of you as well, a mother is expected to do more and more for the baby. All this will make you feel tired and lethargic but at the same time, you will actually enjoy doing this for your baby. Seeing her face and activities will make you do more and more for your baby. Realizing baby stops yelling in your arms A baby is connected to her mother not only by blood but by emotions as well. No other person, not even her father, can stop her from yelling and screaming than her mother. If a baby is asking for her mother, she will keep on yelling and screaming until she sees her mother or gets to be in her mother’s lap. This is the magic of being with mom. Wrap her up in a blanket, put her on your shoulder, pat her gently, and the yelling stops! These were some of the best things that mothers get to experience. Do let us know if you are going through the same. We would love to hear from you.