Skin changes occur in pregnancy due to hormonal changes. Sometimes there are stretch marks on your stomach, breast, and buttocks. And also there might be darkening in the skin. Use of moisturizing cream daily rich in vitamin E is advised. Also rubbing skin oils on your stretch marks help in decreasing them. Start oiling from your fifth month.
Breast change clearly in pregnancy, it starts to be soft early then it increases in size and hardens by time. Nipples and areola become darker and larger. Breast milk ducts develop towards delivery. Use bras with good lifting and clean your nipples daily with warm water and clean the skin around them with skin oils to prevent stretch marks starting from the fifth month. If you think that your nipple is not visible or flat it will be difficult for the baby to feed. You can do some nipple preparation exercise, press at the base of the nipple to push it out then pull it out and around in a circular soft motion. Do it in a non painful way.
Vacation is an exciting thing, you can travel after the first trimester because nausea and fatigue would be less by that time. It is preferable if you wear loose clothes and flat shoes. It is also good to have some snacks for the trip. Please walk every 2 hours to avoid swelling up your legs. Always revise your travel plans with your doctor.
It is highly recommended that you do not smoke during pregnancy or to be around smokers. Smoking reduces the capacity of blood to carry oxygen leading to small-for-dates babies and sometimes preterm delivery.
It should be easy to wear, comfortable, putting in mind that your size will increase with time. Underwear is preferred to be from cotton.
Shoes with flat heals are better than high heals. On the contrary to the misconception that high heals results in abortion or premature labor. All what high heals does is adding extra load on the back muscles to keep the body straight and thus stressing them.
No need to stop sexual activities unless you have a history of previous abortion or premature labor. It is advised to decrease it in the first 3 month where the gestational sac is not yet stable and in the last month as the seminal fluid has elements which cause contractions and might induce premature labor. Sex should be gentle and not rough, using positions which doesn’t add pressure on the abdomen. Some women feel disgusted from having sex during pregnancy because of her hormones or nausea or discharges while on the other hand other women have a more powerful sexual drive in pregnancy.
8 hours is the best amount of sleep per day. Sleeping in the afternoon is important too. You may find it hard to lay in bed now because of your growing abdomen or your back pain or even heartburn. You can lay down on your left side as it has been proven that it increases blood flow to the baby and reduced pressure on the inferior vena cava.
Exercise allows blood to run more thus pushing more oxygen and nutrients to the baby and to the mother’s muscles. Exercise decrease nausea, back pain, mal digestion, muscle spasms and also nervousness. It increases appetite, muscular power to pelvic muscles promoting easier delivery.
Consult your doctor for advise on safe exercises.
Exercise should be regular and increase in intensity gradually.
There should be rest periods between exercises.
Stop exercising on any danger signs and consult your doctor.
Avoid exercising for long periods of time or in hot weather and always drink enough water.
Wear good cotton exercise suites and shoes.
Eat a small snack before exercise with 30 minutes and good meal after.
A pregnant woman in her third trimester should avoid doing any exercise that involves lying on her back for a long time
Exercise should be prevented in a woman with history of: Diabetes, hypertension, cardiac or chest problems, anemia, previous history of abortion or premature rupture of membranes or contractions or labor.
Outer Thigh Lift
Exercise to strengthen your outer thigh (abductor) muscles, glutes.
Lie on your left side, your head resting on your hand, your shoulders, hips, and knees in a straight line. Slowly lift your top leg straight up and slightly back as high as you can and hold for 5 seconds then lower slowly . Do 5 times then change sides
Exercise to strengthen your back.
Start on your hands and knees, with your back in a natural relaxed position. By tightening your abdomen and buttocks, push your back up into a hump, and drop your head down and hold this position for 5 seconds then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
Exercise to strengthen thighs, hip flexors, hamstrings and gluteal muscles.
Start by standing with your feet 30 cm apart and infront of a step which is around 40 cm higher. Allow your arms to hang comfortably down by your sides. Keep your back straight and step up with your left leg. Step down off the step with your right foot first and then the left foot and return to the starting position. Repeat this action, alternating the leading leg each time. Do approximately 20 to 30 total repetitions.
Exercise to strengthen your chest , shoulder, back and arm muscles.
Stand a couple of cm from the wall and Place hands on the wall, shoulder width apart. Bend your arms and lower your chest to the wall, then straighten your arms and return to the starting position, repeat 10 times
Exercise to strengthen your gluteal muscles and lower back.
Lie on your back, with your legs bent at right angles and your arms by your side, palms facing down then Lift your hips until your spine and thighs are aligned. Hold this for 5 seconds then slowly return back . Repeat 10 times.
Exercise to strengthen neck muscles.
Stand or sit in a relaxed position, with your eyes closed. Gently roll your head around, making a full circle. Repeat 5 times one way, then repeat in the opposite direction
Exercise to strengthen your back, gluteals and hamstring muscles.
Start by resting on your hands and knees, with your back flat and abdominal muscles squeezed in tightly. Extend your leg straight behind you then left it up until it levels higher than your back . Hold for 5 seconds then lower your leg and repeat 10 times on one side then changes legs and repeat.
Forward Lunge Exercise
Exercise to strengthen your thighs, hip flexors, hamstrings and gluteal muscles.
Start by standing with your feet about 20 cm apart with your toes pointed forward. Step forward with one leg and lower your body to 90 degrees at both knees then Push up and back to the starting position. Repeat 10 times then change legs.
Exercise to strengthen your leg muscles.
Stand with your feet about two feet apart and toes turned comfortably out. Slowly bend your knees, keeping your back flat. Rise slowly, concentrating on the leg muscles as you push upward. Repeat 5 times then increase to 10
Exercise to strengthen your adductor and abductor muscles, thighs and buttocks.
Start by standing with your feet comfortably apart with your toes pointed forward. Step to the side with one leg and lower your body slightly at both knees. Then Push up and back to the starting position. Repeat 10 times then change to the other side.
Exercise to strengthen your lower back.
Stand with your feet approximately 50cm apart. Then Bend slowly forward at the hips, keeping your back straight. Hold still for 5 seconds then raise your torso back to the standing position. Repeat 10 times.
Pelvic floor muscles exercise-kegel exercise: pelvic floor muscles raise and support internal pelvic organs. For the exercise the woman imagines herself wanting to stop the flow of urine coming out. There is a certain muscle that she contracts to stop urine coming out. It should be contracted and held for some seconds then left to relax. She can go on contracting, holding for 3 seconds then relaxing the muscle repeatedly. She can do it while sitting or standing. The exercise intensity should rise gradually till she masters identifying the correct muscle.
Walking is one of the best kinds of activities you can do when you’re pregnant. It will give you more energy, improve your circulation, and reduce constipation, bloating, and swelling.
Yoga and pilates
They help strengthen your muscles and makes you comfortable.
You are pregnant, you are scared to gain much weight and at the same time you want to eat enough for your baby. Nutrition is the golden rule of pregnancy. Some people don’t know what to eat to provide the best for the baby. The food that you eat is transferred to the baby through the placenta so what you eat is very important.
Food is changed to energy units called Calories; the body uses what it needs and converts the extra to fat. A woman needs about 2200 calories daily while the pregnant woman needs about 2500 calories.
Recommended weight gain
Women with normal pre pregnancy weight: 11-16 kgs gain
Rate of weight gain : 1-2 kgs first trimester, 0.5 kgs/week till the end.
Food Consists of
Proteins: build up body tissue. Found in: Meat, fish, eggs, milks, green beans, rice, and bread.
Fats: Provide the body with energy. Found in meat, fish, egg yolk, milk.
Carbohydrates: Source of energy. Found in sugar, pastry, rice, fruits.
Essential elements: Iron is necessary for making Hemoglobin which carries oxygen. Found in Vegetables, liver, meat. Zinc is necessary for making proteins and enzymes. Iodine is necessary for thyroid gland function and Fluoride is important for teeth protection. Calcium is necessary for bone formation and to prevent leg cramps in the mother. Found in dairy products and milk. Magnesium, potassium and phosphorus are important for good muscular balance.
Vitamins: They help in all body bio-chemical reactions.
Vitamin B1: Helps in digestion. Found in whole grain wheat, yeast, potato.
Vitamin A : Essential for growth. Found in milk, butter, egg yolk, and fish. Its intake should be monitored as its excess is not recommended.
Vitamin B2, B5 : Necessary for cell division. Found in milk, whole grains, and vegetables.
Vitamin B3: :Helps building neural cells. Found in whole grains, green vegetables, eggs, and fish.
Folic Acid: Helps in cell formation and well formation of the fetus neural tube. It also helps in forming red blood. (Green beans, cabbage, citrates, meat, and chicken)
Vitamin B6: Helps in digestion, deficiency lead to neural psychosis and anemia.
Vitamin C: Promotes the binding material of vessels & tissues. Found in vegetables and fruits.
Vitamin D: Helps in calcium metabolism. Found in milk, egg yolk, butter.
Vitamin E is good for preventing varicosities and stretch marks. Found in carrots, tomatoes, soybeans, corn, asparagus, oatmeal, olive oil, sunflower oil, walnut oil, peanut oil.
A typical pregnancy diet: Your Diet has to be balanced: about 20% proteins, 30% fats and 50 % carbohydrates.
Proteins -6 ounce per day: an ounce is: 30g cooked fish, poultry or lean meat or lancheaon or sausage – 1/4 cup cooked beans(lentilse or hummus or beans) – 1 egg – 15 g nuts seeds.
Grains – 6 servings per day. a serving is: 1 slice 35 g bread – ½ muffin 35 g – ½ cup 125 ml : Brown rice, white rice, pasta – 3 cups 500 ml Popcorn – 1 cup cereals – 30g crackers – half cup oatmeal
Vegetables – 2.5 cups per day: a cup is: 1 cup yellow or orange vegetables (pumpkin, carrots, yellow beans, sweet potato, red sweet pepper) – 1 cup green vegetables (tomatoes, cabbage, peppers, broccoli, cucumber, egg plant, okra, soy beans, garlic, onion, parsley) – 1 cup starchy vegetables (corn, green peas, potatoes) – 1 cup vegetable juice – 2 cups dark green leafy greens (dandelion green, collards, spinach, lettuce,spinach).
Fruits 2 cups per day: a cup is: 1 cup 100% fruit juice – ½ cup dried fruit – 1 Medium sized fruit (apple, orange, banana, pear, plum, guava, kiwi, peach, mango, grapefruit) or 3 apricots, 2 figs, 30 grapes, ½ cup parries – 1 cup chopped fruit (cantaloupe, watermelon)
Milk Products – 3 servings per day: Serving e.g. is: 1 (250 ml) cup milk or yogurt – 50 grams of cheese – 1 and half cup of icecream – 1 cup of milk shake.
Oil – 5-6 tablespoons of oil. One tablespoons is : half a tablespoon of margarine or mayaonise – 15 g nuts – 8 olives
Liquids: Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water every day.
Vitamins and minerals: it can be taken by supplements written by your doctor.
Don’t eat raw meat or eggs
Don’t eat non-washed vegetables and fruits.
Don’t drink un-pasteurized milk.
Lower your salt intake. (Make it less than one tablespoon)
Always try to choose lean meat like turkey meat.
Always choose food with enough fibers and low sugar and low fat.
Eat little meals to make sure stomach is never empty or full.
Steer clear of greasy, spicy or high fat food.
Remain upright after meal and sleeping.
Wash your hands before handling food, wash all vegetables and fruit thoroughly and cook raw meat well.
Limit your tea intake as it lowers your iron absorption.
Caffeine: Limit your caffeine intake as it is an element that does not have any vitamins or minerals or nutritional values. It is stimulating; it increases heart rate, irritability, insomnia and headaches and is diuretic. It also lowers your iron absorption.
Alcohol: it is better not to have alcohol during pregnancy as it is rapidly transferred from mother blood to the fetus through the placenta. It has many side effects which include premature labor, abortion, restricted mental and physical growth of born children and FETAL ALCOHOL SYNDORME which causes defects in heart and face development in addition to mental and physical growth restriction after birth.