You’ve heard about the nausea, and the swelling of the feet, and the food aversions, and the fatigue… But has anyone told you about what you can gain during pregnancy apart from the pounds? M&B tells you that there’s enough reason to be overjoyed
Words: Reshma Kulkami
When Rebecca Bloomwood, the protagonist of Shopaholic & Baby, talked about how her husband has got ‘suddenly keen on her cleavage’ after she got pregnant, she was listing just one of the many ‘pregnancy wows’ that women can look forward to. Yes, you read that right. Impending motherhood doesn’t just come with its woes (be it cellulite or increased weight), but also brings along a bevy of positives. Read on for more.
Pregnancy means no periods till you continue breastfeeding. This translates into freedom from PMS, dysmenorrhoea and cramps for that much time. Childbirth eliminates some of the proprostaglandin receptor sites on the uterus which cause the contractions of the uterus during menstruation and labour. This translates into reduced cramps. Fewer periods also reduce the exposure to oestrogen and progesterone, thus cutting down the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. High levels of oestrogen in a pregnant body accord protection from heart problems due to its vasculo-protective action. Further, breastfeeding raises levels of the hormone oxytocin, and lowers the risk of heart ailments, diabetes and hypertension. However, breastfeeding reduces the heightened levels of oestrogen, thus lowering the risk of oestrogen-fuelled cancers of the breast, cervix and endometrium. Having a baby cuts the risk of developing autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis, RA, Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis. During pregnancy a women’s immune system adjusts to avoid attacking the baby and this lowers the immune activity and infl ammation that causes nerve damage.
A wonderful by-product of getting pregnant is the surge in your libido. You can have sex without worrying about contraception. Your body starts looking more feminine, thanks to the soft curves. Breasts may become fuller, resulting in a tempting décolletage. During pregnancy, especially during the second trimester, increased blood flow to the pelvic region makes sex more sensitive and pleasurable. Testosterone and oestrogen produced by the foetus, along with progesterone, boosts sexual drive and gives you a greater likelihood of reaching an orgasm. The oestrogenic upsurge lends a rosy glow to the skin and accords a lustrous mane. Moreover, even though your weight might increase, you and your partner will tend to become more accepting of these physical changes, thus enhancing the psychological factor of lovemaking to a large degree.
Apart from physical benefi ts, pregnancy also brings about a bevy of psychological positive changes in a woman. To begin with, the woman starts adopting a healthy lifestyle for her baby; thus looking better than ever. This boosts her self-worth, which in turn helps her bond better with herself and her partner. Pregnancy brings about a positive attitude and makes you strong to cope with life changes without succumbing to negative thoughts and worries. A surge in progesterone acts as a tranquiliser to help reduce stress and promote calm sleep. After the first trimester, the increase in placental hormones creates a sense of well-being and whets the appetite. The accompanying rise in oestrogen makes you naturally sensitive to rejecting foods that her baby will reject. Pregnancy supercharges the prefrontal cortex of the brain, thus helping a woman become an even better multitasker. The release of oxytocin during delivery helps you become calmer and more focussed. M&B
CONTINUE THE FGF POST DELIVERY
• Keep up the healthy eating habits to retain good skin, hair and body
• Read and research to know how you can enhance your little one’s wellbeing. It helps you be engaged proactively towards the baby.
• Make time to go back to your hobbies and recreational interests. It helps lessen the stress of rearing a child.
• Take up post-natal fi tness programmes to shed the excess fl ab.
• Continue taking supplements of Iron, Calcium etc. with due advice from the doctor.
• Continue breathing exercises to keep postnatal depression at bay and have a healthier respiratory system.
• Most of all, enjoy the beautiful bond that the baby cements between you and your partner. The little life that you create together gives the best security to your relationship, as you both selfl essly strive to work towards a common goal.
Inputs from: Dr Kalpana Pathare, Ankur Maternity Home, Thane; Dr. Loveleena Nadir, Fortis La Femme; Dr Kamna Chhibber, Fortis Healthcare,; Kanchan Naikawadi, Indus Health Plus; Dr Nidhi Arora (PT), AktivOrtho; Dr Kiran Coelho, Hinduja Healthcare Surgical; Dr Anita K Mohan, Fortis Hospitals, Bengaluru; Dr Tanvi Tuteja, K.J Somaiya Medical College & Hospital; Dr Pradnya Parulekar, Bhatia Hospital, Mumbai; Dr Reenu Jain, Jaypee Hospital, Noida; Dr Anil Magdum, Sunrise Hospital, Mumbai; Dr K Shilpi Redddy, The Birthplace, Hyderabad; Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour, SCI Healthcare; Dr Neena Patwardhan, Cumballa Hill Hospital, Mumbai