Friday, 7 February 2014

Checklist of Things to be Prepared and Taken During Child Delivery

Your life is sure to undergo a major change after your child delivery. You couldn't have much time for yourself as you did before. Also, the newborn has to be welcomed to the world with utmost warmth and care. You will not find time for preparation of anything when you have got your labour pain and after the birth of the child. So, it is wise to make preparations in advance, may be a week or two before the expected date of birth. Here is a checklist of things you should prepare for your delivery (this is based on the Indian method):
  •  Take some old cotton dhothies or if you don't have one, get some good plain cotton or linen material. Wash it well in a mild detergent. Cut it into square pieces of 40 cm x 40 cm. Hem the borders. If you are giving it to the tailor for hemming, then it is good practice to get the cloth pieces washed again. Store these in small baskets or bags. This is to be used as a nappy for the just-born baby.
  • An old night dress to be worn during your delivery time. Most of the hospitals and nursing homes give a nightie during delivery these days. But it is always better to have one handy.
  • A kiosk or a flask cleaned with hot salt water.
  • Any pills that you take regularly, pain killer balms.
  • If you reside in a cold town or city, it is better get a pair of woolen clothes for the baby.
  • In our custom, the new-born baby should not wear a new dress until the 10th day or Punyavachanam (naming ceremony of the baby). So, we usually get some old dress from another baby of the household, or your friends' baby. Keep that ready too.
  • Your cosmetic kit, with minimum cosmetics in it (soap, your daily cream, comb, hair oil, bindhis).
  • A pack or two of sanitary napkins of the brand that you usually use. You may even need more than it is mentioned here, as you will bleed heavily after child birth. Do not worry. It is quite common.
  • Baby wet-wipes. This comes in handy to clean the baby after a nappy time or when the baby has puked.
  • Things that your caregiver may need.
  • Keep some change handy to tip the nurse staff at the nursing home.
  • If you have any specific religious sentiments, do not forget to take the picture of your favourite God or other holy things.
"Birthing is the most profound initiation to spirituality a woman can have."
---Robin Lim

What You Can Do to Keep Yourself Occupied During the Final Days of Pregnancy

During the final trimester, most of your thoughts will revolve around your baby, and you will actually be anticipating your child birth. Personally, I had taken leave during the final days of my pregnancy as I couldn't travel to my office at that time. Also, I was at my mother's place after Seemantham. So I had quite some time to while away. But I couldn't sit in front of the computer for long hours, nor could I do any other physical work. But I made it a point to sweep the floor clean during my final days of pregnancy, and yes, I did! It really help me to relax my pelvic muscles and make it more flexible. (I should've done it on a regular basis, but at least I did it at the end, LOL!).
We would have seen in olden day movies and photos, pictures of expecting mothers sitting with a ball of wool and knitting a sweater and a pair of socks for the to-be-born baby. However, I don't know to knit and I neither had the patience to learn it. So, to keep myself occupied, I started doing "reverse glass painting" of the portraits of Ganesha and Vithobha Krishna. I did it meticulously to make sure that I completed it before my delivery. I started count down for my delivery and was counting the number of days and scheduled my painting accordingly. It was a wonderful experience for me, as the finishing of the painting (and then framing of the portrait) and the date of my delivery coincided!!!
If you are working till the date of your delivery, well and good. But for those who had taken off from work or those who are house wives, my advice would be to keep yourself occupied, so that unwanted thoughts don't roam your minds, which could cause depression.

The Third Trimester

So, you have come to the last few months of your pregnancy. Your foetus can now be called a baby. Your baby bump grows at a quicker pace compared to the first two trimesters. You might start feeling heavier than before. Your near and dear can actually see the baby movement as your tummy shakes and bounces (slowly), which is a really exciting time for all your close ones. As the date for the baby delivery nears, your tummy tapers down, giving a sensation of pulling downwards. Do not panic. This is absolutely normal, and signals only the nearing of your delivery date. It does not mean that you have got your labour pain. Real labour pain lasts for around 20 minutes, and then disappears, and then again shows intermittently. Any other brief episode of abdomen pain may be false pain.
Some women can experience leaking of "colostrum", the pro-milk, from their breasts. Your baby bump grows rapidly and can push up against the bottom of the ribs, which can actually cause breathlessness, heaviness and also can cause sleep disturbances. By the end of the third trimester, your weight could have increased by 9 to 12 kg. By the 9th month, you can start anticipating the arrival of your little one!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The Second trimester

Months 4, 5 and 6 comprise the second trimester of pregnancy, during which time your baby bump slowly starts to show up. This trimester is said to be the best period of pregnancy sans the morning sickness which you would have experienced in your first trimester and the heaviness in the months to come. People around, and even you yourself (!), will actually "know" and "believe" that you are pregnant just by seeing you. You will really have greater physical and mental relief at this time. This is a very important period for the development of your baby's internal organs. The baby's gender can also be determined at this time. However, please be aware that sex determination is banned in India. (We Indians have other fun ways to determine the sex of the baby ;) :), which I will discuss in another post). Your little one in your womb will hit another milestone in this trimester; yes! you will start feeling your baby move in your womb some time in this trimester! This is such an exciting experience that every mother-to-be undergoes. Although others may or may not be able to feel the baby move when they touch your tummy, you will surely enjoy the butterflies in the stomach!
Your doctor might ask you to take an anomaly scan or a 4D ultrasound scan to check proper growth of the baby's organs. Some doctors may also prescribe a chromosome test to rule out presence of Down's syndrome or other abnormalities in the developing foetus. You might also find yourself swallowing quite some iron, calcium and folic acid pills as your gynae would have prescribed you the same. Enjoy your pregnancy to the fullest in your second trimester!

Monday, 25 February 2013

The First Trimester

The entire span of pregnancy is divided into three trimesters, each trimester comprising 3 months. The first trimester passes relatively quicker than the other two trimesters. It's not until the second month that we are aware of the pregnancy. So, before we actually realize that we are pregnant, the first trimester would have already come to an end. But this is the period in which you physically and emotionally prepare for the rest that is yet to come. Amenorrhea that you have been undergoing for the past 3 months might result in severe nausea and dislike for some types of food, and a craving for other types of food that you had never liked in your life time. For instance, I personally am not fond of the food that is prepared for srardham as it is mostly bland; ironically, I started loving the same food during pregnancy!! Morning sickness, irritability and drowsiness are other obvious symptoms in the first trimester. You also tend to lose some body weight at this time because of vomitings, and as your energy & nutrients are diverted to the developing foetus. A greater risk of miscarriage is said to prevail in this period; so, be positive and take very good care of yourself during this period. But do not restrict yourself from your daily activities. As for the sleeping position, you can lie down flat on your back or turn sideways in this trimester, as your bump would not have developed yet. Never sleep on your tummy. However, you can practice turning and sleeping on your left side as this is advised in the later months to come. Intercourse is also to be avoided.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Physical Changes Undergone by a Pregnant Woman

Pregnancy brings in a lot of changes in the woman's body. Hormonal changes and other internal changes are the first to happen. Physical changes also start to appear right from the second month of pregnancy.To list a few:
  • Broadening of the pelvic region
  • Darkening of the areola (the region around the nipples)
  • Growth of vaginal and body hair more than usual
  • Appearance of a black streak of hairline vertically from the umblical region to the pubic region
  • Tiredness and paleness of the face
  • Edema or swelling of the feet
  • Protuberance of the belly button
  • Absence of any kind of vaginal discharge
  • Appearance of silver lines in the tummy and breasts
  • Last but not least, your baby bump that keeps growing as your baby grows in your womb :)

Monday, 18 February 2013

Confirming Pregnancy

Pregnancy is considered to start right from the moment the sperm fertilises the egg inside the female's uterus. It is, however, diagnosed or realised much later. Amenorrhea or a missed period is the first and foremost symptom; for a girl with a 28-day menstrual cycle, if the cycles do not return even after 45 days, then tests can be done to confirm pregnancy. During amenorrhea, we tend to experience a wave of nausea quite frequently during the day, sometimes resulting in vomitings. I also experienced severe pain in the lower abdomen. In olden days, pregnancy was confirmed by checking the girl's pulse or naadi known as garbha naadi. These days, home pregnancy test kits are available. I used the Velocit Kit, a product of Dr. Reddy's lab. This is basically a urine test to detect the presence of the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone in the urine. This hCG is secreted in a pregnant woman's urine, whereas it is absent in a normal person's urine; so, if the urine test is positive for hCG, then chances are that the woman is pregnant. However, please note that this cannot be completely relied upon as certain hormonal disorders may also test positive for hCG in the urine. So, it is always best practice to consult a gynaecologist and confirm your pregnancy. This usually involves a blood test, urine gravindex test and, of course, an ultrasound scan to check the heart rate of the foetus. Now, you are ready to announce your pregnancy to your near and dear!!!

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Pregnancy test using Velocit home pregnancy kit