Pregnancy is by far one of the most amazing experiences that women might go through in her lifetime. Pregnancy care from the start aims at ensuring healthy pregnancy throughout to decrease the risks and increase the chances of safe and healthy delivery. Carefully managing emotions like stress and anxiety, apart from keeping yourself happy and relaxed, can certainly boost chances of your baby’s healthy development in body and brain.
Prenatal care is very essential to spot any health problems very, so getting regular check-ups with your doctor, clarifying any concerns, discomforts or queries directly with your doctors & specialists directly helps you to put all your doubts to rest and feel less anxious. Parentlane provides complete 9 months pregnancy care with doctors & specialists available to help you throughout pregnancy on tab of a button right on your mobile. You can also plan your hospital delivery, pre-book best pregnancy package and get the best deals with 0% EMI options right here.
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In earlier times, may be about 100 years ago, childbirth had its risk, both on baby and would be mom's life. But now with advancement in medical field, the delivery procedures reduce the risks drastically and increase the chances of safe delivery.
Childbirth is when pregnancy ends. The baby leaves the uterus either by coming out through the vagina or by caesarean. The delivery procedure chosen by the doctor depends on how the labor progresses and health of would be mother and baby during delivery time.
Types of pregnancy delivery procedures
In this procedure, the baby is delivered through the vagina. The advantage in this procedure is recovery is quick and the stay in the hospital is about 1-2 days. On the other side, as you go into labour, pain may last for short or long duration. The doctor may give you medicines to ease the pain.
Inspite of prolonged labor, if the baby's head is not moving down the birth canal or the baby's heart beat is getting irregular, the doctor may go for an assisted vaginal delivery procedure. For first time moms, the chances of having an assisted vaginal delivery is 1 in 3 women.
Assisted Vaginal Delivery are of many types
Caesarean or C-section is a surgical procedure wherein an incision is made in the mother’s abdomen to take out the baby. The advantage of caesarean procedure is there is less risk of pain during birth and injury to the vagina. On the other hand, caesarean calls for prolonged hospital stays, there is pain in the surgical incision site and needs more post pregnancy care. Hence recovery time is longer after this procedure.
If vaginal delivery is not possible, the doctor may go for Caesarean(C-section) under the following conditions:
Be it vaginal delivery or caesarean, the aim of both procedures is to deliver the baby safely, keeping in mind mom and baby's health a priority.
There are 3 trimesters during pregnancy. The first trimester is the most critical period of your pregnancy as your baby’s major organs and nervous system have begun to form.
The second trimester is when you will feel and look more pregnant. Your growing baby will be moving and kicking and with morning sickness almost gone, this phase is comfortable, enjoyable and best of all the three trimesters.
The third trimester is the last phase of your pregnancy. You are getting ready for the birth of your little one.
First Trimester of Pregnancy
The first trimester of pregnancy starts from the 1st day of your last period to week 12 of pregnancy. During this phase, your baby grows rapidly. Your baby’s heartbeat is heard by 6 weeks and by the time the trimester ends, baby’s organs, bones and muscles are formed.
Prenatal Appointments During First Trimester of Pregnancy
Your doctor will record your overall health which includes gynaecological, mental and medical history. If you are on any current medications, that also will be recorded. Your spouse health and medical details will also be recorded. Next, your doctor will do a check-up which includes your height, weight and a pelvic exam. She will prescribe a series of tests-blood, urine, sugar and pap smear.
During each trimester, you may experience varied physiological, hormonal, emotional changes. It is better to address any concerns you have with your doctor who can guide you the best and help you feel less worried during pregnancy.
During the first trimester, you may experience morning sickness, headache, constipation and tiredness. Morning sickness is very common and includes nausea, vomiting and usually begins by 6th week of pregnancy. By taking rest, drinking plenty of water, eating small meals and taking your vitamins you can prevent as well as manage morning sickness and other first trimester symptoms. The good news is morning sickness is temporary and by the time you are in your second trimester the symptoms lessen or disappear.
Maintaining a healthy diet and having folic acid supplements timely is very important in this trimester.
Second Trimester of Pregnancy
The second trimester of pregnancy starts from week 13 to 28. This is the most comfortable trimester as morning sickness symptoms starts to fade off and you feel more energetic
Prenatal Appointments During Second Trimester of Pregnancy
Your check-up includes monitoring weight, blood pressure, listening to the baby’s heartbeat and feeling any fetal movement. Your doctor will prescribe series of tests which includes checking blood count, iron level and gestational diabetes
During the second trimester, you may experience less or no discomfort of the symptoms you experienced during first trimester. You may experience leg cramps and heartburn symptoms.
Now your abdomen begins to look pregnant. You can feel your baby’s movement. There will be surge in appetite resulting in weight gain
Third Trimester Pregnancy
The third trimester starts from week 28 till you give birth to your little one. Though emotions like fear, worry about baby’s birth and care is common but you are excited that your baby will arrive soon
Prenatal Appointments During Third Trimester of Pregnancy
Besides the routine check-up which includes weight, blood pressure, your doctor will monitor fetal heartbeat and check with you if you are experiencing any contractions or bleeding (if any). The baby’s position is also checked now.
You may experience constipation, indigestion, heartburn, leg cramps and swelling of ankles or feet. The need to urinate is high now because of the growing pressure on the bladder. Your baby is growing in size and weight. Any concerns about labor or delivery should be discussed with your doctor to ease your anxiety during your doctor appointments.
Pregnancy is now considered full term at 39 weeks.
After this period, it can be anytime and you are anxious if any labor contraction happened is real or a false alarm.
Contractions are like strong menstrual cramps where your uterus is tightening. They move in a wave like motion from the top of the uterus to the front of your lower abdomen. You may think you are in labor because of the contractions but they could be false alarms. So what are the signs to look for before you call your doctor to get admitted for delivery?
Your contractions come frequently. Start monitoring the contractions. If you experience each contraction in 5 minutes time and each contraction lasts for 30 to 70 seconds, they are labor contractions.
Other signs to look for are your lower back is hurting badly or if you notice vaginal discharge has blood. In case the flow is heavy like it happens in a normal period, call your doctor without any delay. Finally, if the water is broken, you may go into labor within 24 hours. Check in at the hospital so that your doctor can examine your and baby’s health and help with delivering the baby.
In India, a good hospital will charge anything from 60k to 2 lakhs for delivery expenses. To ease this financial burden, having the maternity expenses covered by investing in a good health insurance policy is a wise decision and can begin well in advance, 3 to 4 years before getting pregnant
What does maternity insurance cover?
Health insurance policies that cover pregnancy and maternity expenses cover the following:
• Medical expenses incurred prior to 30 days of hospitalization, delivery and childbirth
• Medical expenses incurred after childbirth up to 60 days
• Covers room charges, doctors and nurse’s fees
• Many plans cover baby’s medical expenses starting from day 1 to 3 months after birth
What to keep in mind
Most insurance companies do not offer maternity insurance if you are already pregnant. In such situations, pregnancy is considered as a pre-existing condition and not part of the policy cover. Hence, it’s very important to decide well in advance on a suitable maternity insurance plan covered in the Health Insurance Plan well so that you and your child get the best possible medical treatment.
It’s ideal to start saving for maternity expenses early on. These expenses include pre-natal, post-natal as well as delivery charges. Setting aside a fixed amount from your salary every month would be a great way to build the required fund to meet the future expenses. This will help both you and your spouse to ease the financial stress as you expect your bundle of joy.
Be it normal delivery or caesarean, your doctor decides what is best for you and your baby based on how labor progresses. However, you can increase your chances of normal delivery which will help you to recover quickly after delivery by following certain routines and guidelines provided by your doctor.
During pregnancy, aim at eating healthy by including plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits in your diet. Keep yourself well hydrated. Work towards a healthy weight gain otherwise it can reduce the chances of normal delivery. While in delivery, you need to hold your breath from time to time. Incorporate breathing techniques and meditation during pregnancy to facilitate chances of normal delivery. Most importantly, avoid stress. Anxiety and worry is common during pregnancy, refrain from listening to conversations that can cause you this discomfort. Rather become aware of what happens during these 9 months and delivery process. This will clear your doubts and will help you look forward to delivery with a clear positive frame of mind.
Please remember, this journey towards embracing parenthood is special and full of excitement. Be happy and with support from your spouse, work towards being as positive as possible throughout this journey.
You can follow one or more of the below mentioned tips to increase your chances of normal delivery.
Be aware of your natural hormones that facilitates normal delivery
Oxytocin is the hormone responsible for labor to occur while adrenaline, stress hormone is the hormone that inhibits oxytocin levels. Hence it’s very important to stay as relaxed as possible so that oxytocin levels don’t fall and paves way for normal delivery to happen.
Relaxation techniques to be practised well in advance
Practising deep breathing, massage and meditation during pregnancy helps in improving your mental well-being. If you are a first time mom, concerns and anxiety about pregnancy and birth is a common phenomenon and in such situations relaxing techniques when done helps not only to calm you but will be beneficial when you are experiencing contractions or in labour.
Breech baby: Try few turning techniques
In case your baby is in breech position which means the baby’s bottom is down, not head first then your doctor may try turning the baby’s head downwards by pushing with his hands from outside. This technique is called ECV (External Cephalic Version).
Keep mobile and remain active
While in early stages of labor try to be mobile by walking, staying upright. This helps in reducing in the length of the first stage of the labor phase.
Avoid Epidural as far as possible
Epidural is injecting a local anaesthetic into the space around the spinal nerves in the lower back to create numbness to relieve you from labor pain. Though effective as a pain relief method, it increases your chance of going for c-section as it makes pushing more difficult.
There is nothing to panic if you experience any of the labor signs listed below. Many women miss noticing these signs. Awareness and taking necessary action is the key here. If you think labor has begun, be it day or night, call your doctor and explain the symptoms. Your doctor will guide you what needs to be done.
Some of the early signs of labor pain include:
• Changes in vaginal discharge
The vaginal discharge is now more, thick and pinkish. This is a sign that labor is soon to happen.
• Contractions are stronger and frequent
During early labor, contractions are similar to menstrual cramps. With each contraction the muscles in the uterus are tightening to push the baby out. As contractions continue, you will feel the intensity of pain building up.
• Water breaking
If your water breaks, ie, the amniotic fluid sac that surrounds the baby, labor soon follows.
• Energy levels
You may either experience higher energy levels or feel exhausted.
• Back Pain
As muscles are stretching and joints are loosening you will experience aches in your lower back. There is nothing to worry about as your pelvis is expanding for the baby to come out. Just try to get some rest.
• Baby drops lower into the pelvis
This is called lightening where the baby drops into the pelvis. Now you will experience ease in breathing with this drop while on the other hand there is more pressure felt in the bladder area.
As you are in the midst of your third trimester, it is important to know on what things need to be packed in the maternity bag to avoid the last-minute hassles. Your pregnancy hospital bag should include the following items:
Hospital Bag List for Soon to be Mom before Pregnancy Delivery
• Hospital file which includes all your test reports, scan reports and other medical history details.
• Insurance documents.
• Dressing gown
• Body oil
• Ipods, Phones, chargers, earphones and books to relax
Hospital Bag List for the New Mom after Pregnancy Delivery
• Toothbrush and toothpaste
• Hair clips and ties
• A bag to keep the used clothes
• Night dresses which includes one which has a front opening one to breastfeed
• Heavy duty maternity pads that take care of the excessive bleeding after childbirth
• Underwear and bras which includes nursing bra too.
• Comfortable clothes
• Packing snacks. Consult with your doctor.
Hospital Bag List for the Baby, Your Bundle of Joy Post Delivery
• Baby wear
Once the bag is ready with all the essentials keep it handy, either close to the door or in the car. So when it’s time to go to the hospital you are ready with all the stuff which will be needed there.
There is no definite time period which will determine your stay in the hospital after giving birth to your little one. Its depended on many factors like Your health, Your baby’s health and type of delivery.
If normal vaginal delivery, you can be discharged in 1-2 days. Again the doctor will examine your and baby’s health and then decide.
If c-section, the stay time will be more compared to vaginal delivery. This is decided on how the c-section procedure went. Here also the doctor will examine both your and baby’s health before giving a yes to go home.
If you experience heavy bleeding, fluctuations in blood pressure or the baby’s birth weight is low, your stay in the hospital gets extended. Be it a day, a few days or longer in the hospital, what counts the most, your and baby’s health has to be fine before you leave for home.
Normal bleeding begins immediately after childbirth. This is irrespective of whether you had a normal delivery or cesarean. However, if the flow has not slowed down and includes large clots of blood even after 3 to 4 days post delivery, your doctor will monitor your health for few more days.
Blood pressure is not only monitored during pregnancy but even post pregnancy. This condition is called postpartum preeclampsia where blood pressure is above 140/90. Other symptoms of this condition are swelling and protein in the urine. This is a condition that requires close monitoring and the symptoms usually go away as your blood pressure stabilizes, which may require you to stay in the hospital for some more time.
Low birth weight or preterm babies are usually kept under observation in the NICU. (New-born Intensive Care Unit). This is a temperature-controlled incubator. The new born is fed through a special tube or IV line. If the baby is not having any other complications, he/she can gain weight and get healthier soon. This unit in the hospital has doctors/nurses who aim at giving the best possible care and attention to your little one.
While most of the pregnancies go smoothly without complications, at times complications do happen during pregnancy.
Besides complications happening during pregnancy, labor complications may also occur. Labor may not progress as expected at times. This can be due to slow dilations of the cervix, stress, a large baby or multiple deliveries. Another complication could be the baby is in distress. Here, the baby may not be getting sufficient oxygen, would have passed meconium( stool) in the amniotic fluid or would be mom is having high blood pressure. Keeping in mind your and baby’s well-being, the doctor will decide whether to wait for normal delivery or immediately go for caesarean.
What factors increase the risk of complications during pregnancy?
The pre-existing medical conditions of the pregnant woman like Diabetes, High blood pressure, Cancer, Epilepsy, Anaemia or Any infection does play a role in increasing complications during pregnancy.
Other factors include Age of the pregnant women specially above 35 years of age and habits like smoking, drinking alcohol, drugs. History of miscarriage, preterm birth or carrying twins or multiples does complicate pregnancy care and needs close monitoring.
The most common pregnancy complications experienced during pregnancy are
This condition happens during pregnancy when blood sugar levels go up. Your doctor will monitor the sugar levels, suggest changes in diet and if the levels are high, may prescribe medicines too. This condition usually resolves after pregnancy.
Preeclampsia, a high blood pressure condition during pregnancy puts both would be mom and baby’s health at risk. It can be serious. Hence, doctors will be monitoring the blood pressure regularly and putting you on medication till the baby matures enough to be delivered. This may require you to get hospitalized. If the condition worsens, the baby will be delivered sooner (preterm birth) in many cases.
If labor begins before the 37th week of pregnancy, it’s called preterm labor. In such situations the doctor will prescribe medicines that will delay labor and advise you bed rest.
Miscarriage is loss of pregnancy in the first 20 weeks. Unfortunately, in most cases miscarriage can’t be prevented.
Anemia is a health condition where the number of red blood cells are less than the normal count. This makes you feel weak and fatigued. The doctor will prescribe iron and folic acid supplements to be taken during the pregnancy period.
Any bacterial, parasitic or viral infection can complicate pregnancy. For example, a urinary tract infection, a yeast infection, influenza etc needs immediate medical intervention and treatment. Avoid any delay.
Just like Pregnancy care is crucial, post pregnancy care is equally important for the next 6 weeks after delivery. This period is called the Postpartum period where you bond with your little one, adjust to the new role as a parent and above all healing time for you after delivery.
For a smooth transition, you can try the following
Get plenty of rest
This may seem easier said than done. The key here is to sleep when your baby sleeps.
Please remember it’s a healing time for you. Help from your spouse, parents, other family members and friends will help you recover quickly and get the much needed rest.
Nutritious healthy diet
Have a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, proteins, grains. Also take care of the fluid requirements.
Your mental well being takes on even more importance now because many women experience mood swings (baby blues) after giving birth due to changes in hormonal levels. This is very natural but too much to handle at times. You may experience
Support from spouse and other family members, friends and speaking to your doctor will help you go through this temporary phase.
Having a baby changes your and your spouse’s life. It’s about 40 weeks of pregnancy that is filled with challenges, happiness, excitement and other emotions. During this period, you should aim at having a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have so that you are healthy throughout the pregnancy journey.
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