Nine Months: 10 pregnancy questions that will have you saying ‘I'm not alone’

Forget about unsolicited advice that has you sitting on the fence. With these expert-backed opinions on Nine Months, you’ll know what’s best!

FP Staff January 04, 2018 10:00:00 IST

Pregnancy can bring so much joy. And then those little bursts of pain and exhaustion.

If you’ve been wondering about this aspect time and again, you can definitely find solace in the fact that you’re not alone. And then some more solace in knowing there’s always a way out, maybe through emotional support, advice from your doctor, or just a plain old hot water compress! There’s always a way!

Here you’ll find answers to all those doubts that give you sleepless nights.

So, cheers to all your pregnancy woes being solved right here!

  1. I’ve been experiencing excessive hair fall. How can I take care of my hair to prevent this?

If your eyes widen every time you comb your hair, at the sight of more hair on the comb with every brush, there’s no need to get alarmed. Since pregnancy results in hormonal changes, wherein the body secretes a higher amount of estrogen, your hair’s growth and resting cycles are impacted. The growth cycle is characterized by hair production while the resting phase witnesses hair fall. During pregnancy, with estrogen levels peaking, your hair’s growth phase is extended leading to a thicker and voluminous mane. However, post delivery, there is a fall in the hormonal levels. Thus, the hair’s natural growth and resting pattern bounces back into motion. When the resting phase resumes, you’ll notice all the excessive hair shedding.

In most cases, this natural hair fall process that follows delivery is exacerbated by poor nutrition and sleep, besides other factors. And, since your baby is your main concern now, you may unknowingly ignore your post-natal diet and sleep. A quick consultation with your nutritionist may help fix things.

  1. I have gained excessive weight during pregnancy. I’ve particularly noticed that while breastfeeding, my hunger pangs increase, causing me to eat. What can I do to manage my weight?

In the pregnancy checklist, weight is amongst the main factors that finds itself under the scanner. And rightly so, because any more or less kilos than the recommended limit comes with its own set of risks.

Experts generally consider a weight gain of 11kg to 12 kg as normal. Sometimes, this allowance could scale up to 13kg or more, depending on a woman’s Body Mass Index (BMI). However, any extra weight apart from the recommended limit would require extra time to shed post delivery.

A piece of good news that may sound like a great precursor to your post-delivery weight loss regime is the 6-kg drop that occurs naturally. During the delivery process itself, a mother will lose nearly 6kg, part of which comprises the baby’s weight while the rest includes the placenta and the fluids. Unfortunately, in most cases, this reduction in weight is barely able to gain full momentum as the new mother is soon expected to increase her calorie intake to help produce milk for the baby. The result? The lost 6kg get replaced by another 6kg or probably even more!

While reducing calorie intake for losing weight may seem like a lost cause when you’re a new mother, there’s an alternative even your favorite celebrities swear by – some fat-melting, mood-boosting exercise!

If you’ve undergone a normal delivery, doctors give the nod to begin exercising immediately. Walking and stretching are the ideal forms to begin with in the initial weeks. However, if you’ve delivered by Caesarean, resume exercising only when the pain has subsided, which means waiting until 7 days to 2 weeks. Again, exertion during the initial days must be kept to a minimum. Try stretching and walking. Abdominal exercises like crunches are best avoided until you’ve reached at least 6 weeks post delivery. This is important to ensure your body gets time to recover completely.

  1. I feel depressed after the delivery. Although I’m happy to see my baby, I’m unable to connect with him. Am I going through post-natal depression?

If you’ve only recently delivered, it would be incorrect to label it as depression just yet. Generally, this early period of emotional anxiety and stress is termed as post-partum blues. This is normal as your body is exhausted, hormone levels will have dipped, and the feeling of seeing your baby may have you overwhelmed. However, this low-time is expected to vanish over the next few days, as you slowly get accustomed to the routine of caring for your baby whilst having your dear ones around for support.

In a case, where you’ve been struggling with your emotions for more than 10 days, don’t hesitate to visit a counselor. Ideally, your doctor would make the perfect person to help you clear your mind and put things into perspective. In addition to this, monitoring your diet and sleep routine would make a positive difference to your mood and overall wellbeing.

If you’ve tried these methods but to no avail, your doctor will prescribe anti-depressants that need to be continued for a few months. These will make sure you regain your enthusiasm and emotional resilience, so that you can welcome this new phase in your life.

  1. I’m finding it difficult to breastfeed my baby as I have flat nipples. Please advise.

Flat nipples are not uncommon. During birth, the doctor or lactation consultant will monitor your nipples and if needed provide a breast pump to make feeding your baby easier.

Also, you need to remember that frequently trying to breastfeed your little one will accustom him to latching on to your nipple correctly. This is regardless of whether you have a retracted nipple or not. Doing this will make sure your little one knows how to feed. Continue this routine for 1 to 2 hours every day. Alternatively, you could opt for a nipple shield, which will prove useful in the case of flat nipples. Ensure you sterilize it before use.

  1. I’ve developed stretch marks around my tummy and pelvis after delivery. Is there a way to make them fade?

Stretch marks occur naturally when the skin stretches. This stretch action causes the collagen fibres to break and leave behind marks, which although initially red in colour, fade into a pale white hue. Topical creams or solutions, although heavily marketed, are seldom able to remove the marks, mainly because the condition isn’t restricted to the surface layer of the skin. But, you can ensure the skin bearing the stretch marks is well hydrated and remains supple by using creams containing active ingredients like hyaluronic acid and aloe vera.

If the stretch marks make you conscious, remember, they are completely natural and nothing to be ashamed of. Think of them as your own set of tiger stripes!

  1. How do I ensure my baby is getting enough milk? Is there anything in particular that I must eat so that he receives the right nutrition?

There are a few indicators to determine whether your baby has been receiving the right amount of milk. He will initially pass urine 2 times a day. This will progress to 5 or 6 times daily. Additionally, another sign is the frequency of stools. You’ll notice your baby has motions around 2 times daily in the early days. This frequency increases up to 2 or 3 times daily in the weeks that follow. The last significant indicator is your baby’s weight gain. Around the first 10 days, your baby will lose excessive water weight. Following this period, you will notice your baby putting on weight. The normal recommendation is 150 grams every week. So monitor whether his weight aligns with this limit.

  1. My C-section scars still hurt, although my baby is eight months old. What should I do?

Pain after a Caesarean birth varies from individual to individual. While it may last only a week for some, it may take 6 months for others. So, letting your skin heal on its own is the best route to take.

C-section scar tissue contains more scar tissue, that is, more fibrous elements than healthy skin. Which is why engaging in certain activities may aggravate the pain. However, there is no cause for alarm as internal injuries won’t occur and neither will the stitches give way. You could engage in basic exercises and pamper yourself to massages to ensure the pain subsides.

  1. Although my baby is 6 months old, I have not got my first period. How long should I wait?

Most mothers do not get their periods immediately after delivery, some probably not for a year. But since irregular ovulation is characteristic of the lactation phase, there are chances of conceiving if you fail to use contraception.

So, unless you’ve been sexually active post-pregnancy, you can patiently wait. Otherwise, a pregnancy test and consultation with your gynecologist would help you determine the cause.

  1. How do I deal with mastitis?

Mastitis affects nearly 10 percent of all pregnant women. It is a condition characterised by engorged breasts due to the lack of expression of milk. This occurs particularly in the early days after delivery when the baby doesn’t require much milk but the mother secretes more than enough – clearly, a disagreement between demand and supply.

In such a case, there are chances of infection as you become vulnerable to bacteria that could enter through the cracks in the nipples, causing pain and redness in the breasts.  If you notice these symptoms, consult your doctor immediately. Early detection can help heal the condition quickly through analgesics, antibiotics, and expression of milk. Additionally, you can use warm compresses on the affected breast and massage it before nursing to aid the milk flow.

  1. I’ve been breastfeeding for the past 6 months. How do I ensure I’m getting adequate calcium?

Post delivery, you will be prescribed double the dose of calcium you were initially consuming, for nearly 6 months. Your doctor will ensure these tablets are being supplemented by vitamin D. It’s also important that you consume dietary sources of calcium like dairy products, ragi, and green leafy vegetables to increase the mineral’s levels in your body.

Now forget about unsolicited advice that has you sitting on the fence. With these expert-backed opinions, you’ll know what’s best!

Follow Firstpost's show Nine Months — a visual how-to survival guide that brings experience, knowledge and perspective to mothers so they can follow a reliable and singular narrative on pregnancy and parenting.

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