Be responsible during pregnancy, gift a healthy babyvdcp
Pregnancy is the most beautiful period in the life of a woman when she structures a little life in her womb to bring that into this world. She nurtures a single fertile cell, which is invisible to the naked eye, into a baby, whom you can hold, play and embrace. She transforms herself, make the fetus (the unborn child) a part of her own entity, makes blood connection to provide the baby with nutrition, water and air. Woman has the potential, the divine power to bring a life into this world. But, every power comes with a share of responsibilities and pregnancy is no exception. The baby inside the womb is dependent on mother for each and everything. It is important to understand that a healthy mother can give birth to a healthy child. The mother should be free of diseases, because if she has ailments that could affect the growth and development of the fetus. Hence, she should consult doctor and take appropriate measures starting from pre-conception till the delivery. It would be very helpful and advisable if every woman does a few simple regular tests after marriage and before conception, like hemoglobin content, blood pressure, blood glucose, body weight, Vitamin D and calcium content. These tests will be reference point to analyze the healthy progression of your pregnancy. Suppose, if you know your body weight before pregnancy than you can estimate the weight gain during the pregnancy and ascribe the weight gain of the fetus. Similarly, if you know your hemoglobin content of blood, accordingly you can take the iron tablets during pregnancy and so for the blood pressure or blood glucose your doctor can do a comparative analysis with your report during pregnancy and make a rationale advice. Pregnancy is a dynamic process where each event of fetus development is regulated in terms of function and time. For example neural tube development of the baby starts within the first week of pregnancy and finishes by 10-11 weeks. Now folic acid is an important nutrient that helps in the formation of neural tube and every pregnant woman is prescribed folic acid tablets, but if you discover your pregnancy at the end of First trimester (~ 12th week) and start taking the folic acid then it would be useless. However, we can’t blame the pregnant woman, as it is new experience for her and she unknowingly missed the golden period that might turn deleterious for the baby. Therefore, it would be very wise, if a woman after marriage or while planning for a baby should start taking folic acid supplements. This simple intervention would help your child from falling into the diseased category which every two children out of 1,000 suffering in India called ‘Spina bifida’ (a condition with orthopedic and neurological abnormalities). Another important responsibility of pregnancy is nutrition. The mother during pregnancy needs to keep herself healthy and support the health of the fetus. The diet should not only provide the required amount of protein-energy but also the vital micro-nutrients.
Micro nutrients are the most essential component for the body structuring and functioning yet are the most ignored component of our diet. The pregnant woman should eat lots of fruits, milk, chicken, meat in addition to the regular dal (pulses), bhaat (rice), sabji (vegetables).
The women should follow the two hourly eating regimes, where you eat small quantities in every two hours. This would help you in better digestion, assimilation and will never feel heavy in the belly. Maintaining healthy diet is the most vital part of the pregnancy, scientific studies have shown the ill effects of the malnutrition or under-nutrition not only affect the physical and mental health of your child but might pass on to your grandchildren as well.
Balanced nutritious food should be supplemented with pure water and clean air for healthy pregnancy. Pure water is a source of life and when consumed in the impure form can be life threatening. Water with microbial contamination leads to diseases like diarrhea, cholera and typhoid etc. It could be more harmful during pregnancy to the mother and fetus. Boiling of water can help to an extent by killing the microbial population.
However, in India in addition to the microbial load the water is polluted with heavy metals like lead, cadmium, arsenic, iron etc. Heavy metal laded water consumption during pregnancy might lead to miscarriage, pre-term spontaneous delivery, pregnancy related complications like pre-eclampsia, abnormal mental and physical development of the baby and so on. Unfortunately boiling kills the microbes but concentrates the heavy metal. Thus, the responsibilities should be taken by the Government and companies to provide heavy metal free water. Development of low cost water puriers with a capability to remove heavy metals and microbial loads should be promoted. Clean air that can vitalize the health of every human being is essential for the pregnant woman and the life within her. Air pollution is already at alarming level that kills millions of people through respiratory tract ailments. Pure oxygenated air is very vital for the growth of the fetus. After 11th week of pregnancy the fetus starts to require oxygen.
If it is not available at adequate quantity, it leads to hypoxia (shortage of oxygen in body) resulting in improper plantation, restricted growth of the fetus and conditions like preeclampsia, neuro developmental brain damage, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. We should plant more tress and try to be in greener areas, avoid high-alleviated hill stations and avoid suffocating, crowded enclosed areas. Last but not the least, never shrug the responsibility to make timely visit for your ante-natal check-ups. Never hesitate to discuss your problems or asking questions to your doctor. Take the advice of your doctor seriously; they know better they are there to help you with healthy pregnancy. Pregnancy is a blessing if we take care of it properly and understand our responsibility we can gift society and ourselves a healthy baby. So, keep yourself relaxed and enjoy the golden period and make beautiful plans to welcome your little one.
(Dr Mishra is Social Immersion Innovation Programme Fellow, DBT-BIRAC, KIIT -TBI)