Pregnancy and birth aren’t what they used to be. We asked Dr Meenakshi Ahuja, gynaecologist, Apollo Cradle, Bengaluru to explain new and improved advice that you’ll benefit from
BY SAHANA BHANDARI
1) EXERCISE TO PREVENT DEPRESSION
Studies show that exercise during pregnancy may enhance the quality of life and well-being, improve self-image and fi tness, prevent excessive maternal weight gain, low back pain, as well as decrease the risk of depression during pregnancy and postpartum.
“Hence, we urge would-be-mums to start exercising in early pregnancy. Regular exercise in the form of antenatal classes, pregnancy yoga, pilates are also encouraged. Earlier, would-be-mums were asked to rest as much as possible while now we advise you to exercise as it releases endorphins. These are happy hormones and generate a lot of positivity. The added energy, increased stamina and improved muscles gained from exercise also helps prepare your body for labour. It also makes women more confi dent in dealing with discomfort during pregnancy and labour, thus countering depression,” Dr Ahuja explains.
“We also advise healthy weight gain during pregnancy and intake of proteins, fruits and nuts,” she adds.
2). NATURAL BIRTHING IS THE BEST
Mothers and doctors have warmed up to natural births. “Because painrelieving drugs, including epidural injections, carry serious medical risks for you and the baby, and may leave you unable to play a role in your own care and that of your baby,” says Dr Ahuja.
Natural birthing actually helps the mum find her own ways of facilitating birth. The pain of the contractions becomes a guide for the labouring woman, encouraging the baby to settle in and move down the birth canal. When the pain is entirely removed labour is likely to slow down and become less efficient.
Dr Ahuja says that recovery is quicker after natural child birth and also gives a sense of achievement to a pregnant woman. “With excellent monitoring facilities available, it is safe for doctors to encourage natural childbirth too. Pain prepares you for the demands of motherhood hence natural births are encouraged now-a-days by more and more doctors.”
3). DON’T BE AFRAID TO SPEAK UP
Very often most women feel they have no say in the care that is being provided. But you can speak up! You have the right to ask questions, to get those questions answered, and you have the right to say no. Don’t be afraid to be assertive while in the hospital. It’s easy to feel like you have lost control, that things are being done to you, but you have the right to be in control of your treatment. Also, be patient. Even with your husband, tell him exactly what you need. He can’t read your mind, and he wants something to do to help.
4). CONFIDENCE IS THE KEY TO SAILING THROUGH YOUR BIRTH
Feeling more in control, believing more strongly in your capacity to cope and understanding the childbirth techniques helps to build your confi dence.
Dr Ahuja says, “However one should remember that confidence should be built up with knowledge and wisdom about how to deal with pregnancy. Talking frankly with your doctor can put you at ease. Approaching labour with a positive attitude can help you feel less pain, avoid c-sections and feel satisfi ed with your experience. Antenatal checkups are a confidence building exercise too as they confirm baby’s health. These visits also give you a chance to ask any questions and to talk about any issues that you are unsure about. Hence confidence building is mostly the responsibility of the obstetrician and complete antenatal programme to guide the expectant mum towards her fitness, nutrition and well-being ensuring a smooth birthing process.”
“I would never advise induction on a purely arbitrary or mahurat basis. Not every induction ends with normal delivery and there should always be a medical indication for deciding that the baby is being delivered without a natural start to labour. Interfering with a natural process always leads to unnecessary interventions—including cesarean sections—that substantially increase health and safety risks for mum and baby,” she explains.
Inducing labour before 39 weeks can affect the development process of the baby as research shows, in the last weeks of pregnancy, every day counts for your baby’s development. So you should understand the reason for your induction. If your doctor says she wants to induce you, but you’re not clear on the reason, speak up. If there is no clear medical reason for your induction, you do have the right to refuse.
6). DON’T WORRY IF IT TAKES A WHILE TO BOND
Don’t feel guilty if you aren’t bonding with your baby right from the start. That’s totally okay. Parents think that they should instantly feel overwhelmed with love with their newborn and some people do feel that. But for others, these feeling grow slowly over the time as they come to know and care for their baby.
Like any other emotional relationship, developing a connection with your child can take time. The biological changes that you go through make bonding more likely, but it can still take awhile for you to begin to feel close. If it doesn’t happen in the first few weeks, be patient—it’s just part of the process of becoming attached. As you care for your new baby, you may find that your attachment grows. This relationship will have it’s own rhythms and pace of development. The timing will depend upon you and your baby; your experience of childbirth and your life circumstances have a lot to do with it as well. Remember that you’re showing love to your baby even when you don’t feel like it. When you care for your baby’s basics needs, that’s showing love. ■