Being pregnant is an exciting – and very confusing – time. So what are the key things your gynae really wants you to know? Two experts from the Mediclinic network spill the beans.
It sounds so obvious, given the health warning labels on cigarette boxes… but even though the harmful effects of smoking on unborn babies are so well-researched, many pregnant mothers still insist on having a puff. A study published in the South African Medical Journal found that 42.5% of pregnant moms surveyed admitted to smoking while pregnant. Some 8.2% of them thought (incorrectly) that it was harmless to their babies. Don’t make the same mistake.
Your beautiful ‘innie’ belly button will probably become an ‘outie’. The skin on your tummy will probably itch like crazy. You’ll probably attract twice as many mosquitoes as your partner does. Your hair and nails will probably grow much faster than normal. All these weird bodily quirks are a natural and normal part of pregnancy, so don’t be surprised – and don’t panic – if they start happening to you.
Monitor foetal movements at home, and report to the hospital immediately if you experience bleeding, discharges or draining liquid, and if you notice an absence of foetal movements. All these are signs that something could be seriously wrong. Don’t take any risks. And don’t be shy. Every gynae has a bunch of stories about pregnant mums who rushed in with a false alarm (such terrible abdominal pain that ends up just being gas). Sadly, they’ll have a similarly long list of stories of pregnant parents who noticed troubling symptoms but left it too late to act. Your gynae would far prefer to add your name to the first list.
It’s never good to eat poorly and avoid exercise – especially when you’re expecting. Most common exercises are safe during pregnancy and will help you maintain a healthy weight, giving you the energy you need (and you’ll need plenty of it!) to get your body and your baby safely to term. Roll out your yoga mat, and speak to your gynae or your GP about the exercises and meal plans that will work best for you.
During your pregnancy, many people will feel the need to give you advice – from your best friend to the cashier at the grocery store. Be careful who you listen to. Pick two or three people you trust – for example, your partner, your mother and your gynaecologist – and pay attention only to their advice. The rest can cause unnecessary anxiety.
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