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28 Jun 2022, Edition - 2541, Tuesday

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The Incredible Journey named Pregnancy

Dr. Sasithra Dhamodharan


“A mother’s joy begins when new life is stirring inside… When a tiny heartbeat is heard for the very first time and a playful kick reminds her that she is never alone.”

Pregnancy brings new meaning to life. It adds an indelible mark to the bond named marriage. The feeling of carrying a little soul within oneself is just magnificent. It is a period of immense joy coupled with excitement and fascination. But too many unanswered queries, misguiding myths, old wives’ tales and superstitions make this simple yet complex physiology a stressful journey.

This article on the myths and facts of pregnancy is intended to create awareness for expectant mothers.

Morning sickness means more hair on the baby?

Nope. It is due to effect of the pregnancy hormone named HCG. The high hormonal secretion in spurts in the first few weeks of pregnancy is the reason behind morning and evening sicknesses.

Pregnancy brings in lots of craving for pickles, ice creams and chalk pieces?

Not all women crave pickles and ice cream. But food cravings indicate the body’s needs. Craving for pickles means craving for salt, which indicates mineral deficiency, specifically sodium which may be lost in vomiting. Ice cream, sweet breads and pasta during pregnancy cause the body to produce serotonin, which makes the woman feel good. Craving for chalk pieces, mud or ash means pica, which is an indicator of iron deficiency.

Papaya and pineapple should be avoided during pregnancy?

Poor creations of Nature. They are actually rich sources of Vitamin A, C and iron, and are absolutely safe in pregnancy.

Saffron adds to the colour of the baby?

Instead it adds to the purse of the shopkeeper!Saffron is a herb that imparts colour to the food only and not to the baby!

Eating dates, blueberries and iron tablets tend to darken the hue of the new-born?

The colour of the new-born is genetically determined and not by any of these poor creations of Nature!

In pregnancy, one should eat for two?

The accepted weight gain in pregnancy is 10-12 kg throughout the nine-month span, or two kg/month. More food means more calories and more weight gain, which may add to the risk of diabetes and hypertension during pregnancy. So,don’t eat for two. Instead eat for one, and probably an additional 20% of balanced diet in split format as four or five small meals a day.

A strict no to chocolates and coffee in pregnancy?

Recent studies have proven that caffeine in moderation is absolutely safe and prevents the risk of pre-eclampsia (high BP in pregnancy). So,go ahead with your Toblerones and Coffee Days during pregnancy.

Air travel is not advised in pregnancy?

Travel, especially by air, during pregnancy is safe unless otherwise specified by the obstetrician.But, travel in the ninth month or close to due is definitely not advisable, for the fear of ending in an emergency or unplanned delivery.

Sleep only on the left side while pregnant?

Your posture during sleep has got nothing to do with the umbilical cord or its entanglement.Feel free to sleep the old way you like, unless your BP has shot up or your doctor has advised so. For, a long night’s sleep brings in more health than the posture during sleep. And the chances of a full night’s sleep will be very slim after the arrival of the little angel.

Sex during pregnancy can cause miscarriage?

Many miscarriages take place due to the abnormal development of the baby.Developing baby is well protected by amniotic fluid and its covering bags, and more so by the strong muscles of the uterus.Sex during pregnancy is permissible, provided the woman feels comfortable.

Exercise and walking can advance labour pains?

These are the healthy ways and means to stay active during pregnancy. They help burn the extra calories and move the stiff joints and muscles.

And remember… studies have proven that active moms give birth to active and intelligent babies.So, Get, Set, Go!

Eating or working during eclipse hours can cause birth defects?

Eclipse has no negative role on the mom or the child. The same precautions for protection of eyes for anybody holds good in pregnancy too. So, remember to wear goggles while walking out during eclipse hours.

Beautiful pictures of babies in the bedroom results in delivery of beautiful babies?

All babies are born beautiful, aren’t they?Anyways, anything that keeps the pregnant woman happy, relaxed and peaceful is always welcome. Be it soothing music, a nice portrait, an enlightening book or an appealing walk. So, take adequate time to marvel at the little wonders of life.

Marks and striae on the tummy tells the sex of the baby?

Pigmentation and marks on the tummy, face and neck are hormone related. And never gender related.

Painting or dyeing the hair during pregnancy may cause birthmarks?

Birthmarks (nevus) are caused by pigmentation in the baby’s skin. Or it can be an abnormal collection of blood vessels. While some birthmarks disappear as the child grows, few remain the same and need surgical correction. But remember, dyes are unsafe with or without pregnancy, though paints or dyes never cause nevi.

Severity of labour pains and Caesarean sections run in families?

Pain perception is never genetic. It is individual based and mindset biased. Pain perception varies within the same individual even, in two different pregnancies. And labour pain relief in the form of ‘Epidural Analgesia’ is a real boon to every woman in labour, that helps reduce the Caesarean section rates too.

With multitudes of queries bombarding the young pregnant woman, this article is intended to give reassurance and help clear her doubts to enable her hold the little angel in her arms calmly.

Giving birth should be one’s greatest achievement and never the greatest fear.

Wishing every pregnant woman a very happy 280 days!

The author of the column is Dr. Sasithra Dhamodharan, Gynaecologist, Savidha Medical Center and Hospital.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the author’s own

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