FAQ : Pregnancy, Birth, Child-Care

When I found out I was pregnant, I started my search to find the best doctors in the area for me. I was very lucky to have found my amazing doctors, who I could openly talk to and ask questions. However, like so many of you, I had another full time doctor, that was available for all my questions. You guessed that right, it was the almighty ‘Google’. I researched quite a lot for all sorts of questions around pregnancy, child birth and postpartum. I would go through multiple blog posts and try to find an answer that fit my need the most. While it was great to see so many websites and blogs that contained volumes of answers, it was time consuming and frustrating (esp. during the early and later stages of pregnancy) to have to parse through all the information out there. I wanted a central place where women or men could go to have their common questions answered. So I thought why not do that for you guys and make your journey a bit easier. I have done the research so that hopefully you don’t have to do much.

Note : the following responses are based on my personal experiences only. You should consult your doctor for any medical advice. 
  1. Is is safe to workout when trying to conceive? Can I workout during pregnancy?
    • Yes, if you have been active all your life, then there’s no need to stop working out when trying to conceive or during pregnancy. You may not want to start something drastic like joining crossfit or running a marathon but staying active is recommended. You should also remember that, during pregnancy, there are a lot of hormonal changes. You may feel tired, nauseous and fatigued and as a result may not have the same amount of energy to exercise (at all). I want you to know, that it’s ok if you cannot workout. Don’t pressure yourself into being the ‘super fit’ pregnant woman/mom. If you can continue to exercise, great, if not, focus on what you eat. Walking daily (30-45 min) is one of the best exercises during pregnancy and postpartum. Listen to your body and do what feels right to you!
  2. Can I drink alcohol during pregnancy?
    • Simple answer, just don’t. My perspective is that if you’ve committed to bringing a happy, healthy baby into this world, do what you can to not introduce anything ‘risky’ to your pregnancy. You can never know a 100% the health of the baby but at least you can do your part to keeping the pregnancy healthy and safe. Different parts of the world has different believes when it comes to alcohol and there are ‘recommendations’ and ‘suggested limits’ but I’d rather just avoid the temptation all together.
  3. Can I drink coffee during pregnancy?
    • Similar to alcohol, if I can do without coffee that would probably be the best. I particularly don’t care much for coffee mostly because it gets me super hyper, jittery and I get palpitations so….safe to say I didn’t care much when I couldn’t drink coffee. Now, wine on the other hand…honestly, I missed it quite a bit but it wasn’t an essential for me 🙂
  4. Is it safe (ok) to have sex during pregnancy? Can you have sex during pregnancy
    • Yes! It is completely natural and safe to have sex during pregnancy. The baby in its mother’s womb is protected by the amniotic fluid and having sex will not impact the baby. The baby will not get poked (lol). However, if you have complications with the pregnancy then your doctor may advise against it. Have that conversation with your doctor. Especially, have this conversation with each other (spouse) to see what they are feeling about this particular matter. It is also normal to have as much of a sexual drive during and throughout the pregnancy and postpartum. Those hormones I tell you, so unpredictable but if the concern is safety, you’re in the safe zone! Just do what feels right and comfortable.
  5. Is eating Fenugreek during pregnancy bad?
    • There are a few misconceptions about eating Fenugreek during pregnancy. Yes, fenugreek is considered as a ‘uterine stimulant’ and it can/has been used to aid and induce labor during late stages of pregnancy. However, that is a medical dosage fenugreek and not what is used in general cooking for meals. In some cultures, Fenugreek is used in everyday cooking and I can see how that can arise some hesitation. Everything in moderation is ok but if you don’t feel comfortable consuming it, you can avoid it. Although, keep in mind that if you do go to Indian restaurants, you probably should check about Fenugreek usage in their food :). On the other hand, Fenugreek is considered very good for postpartum, especially to help with milk supply. You will notice that almost all of the lactation supplements contain fenugreek as the key ingredient.
  6. How do I start by baby registry? What do I need for a newborn?
    • Baby registry can be as easy as you want to make it or as complicated and time consuming if you wish to go that route. Each and every day there are new innovative products coming out in the market and it’s quite tempting to want to get your hands on them. However, sometimes simple is best, esp. during the newborn stage. All baby needs is to be fed, changed and put to sleep and a couple of onsies, diaper, wipes and burp towels :). For detailed baby registry visit Baby Shower Gift Registry.
  7. When can I start my baby on solid food? What kind of food do I start with?
    • Doctors recommend starting solid food after baby turns 6 months. If the baby is teething you can start giving teething wafers that readily available in the market. The melt as soon as you bite them so there’s no risk of chocking. However, always advised to be with your child when they are eating. In some cultures, babies get weaned into eating ‘solids’ between 4-6 months. Moong daal is what we started our LO on, it was the consistency of chicken stock. We then tried, pureed sweet potatoes, mashed avocado, rice and lentil puree, etc. for 2-3 months. It takes anywhere from 1-2 weeks for a flavor profile to be built so if you baby refuses a particular food on Day 1, don’t give up. We have not introduced spicy food to her but she has had food with spices i.e. everything we eat she now eats. That just makes everyone’s life easier. Some people try baby led weaning, if you have done your research and feel comfortable with it, def give it a try. It is so much easier than having to prep pureed food 🙂
  8. What are some good books to read for pregnancy?
    • The 2 books that we read were Cherish the First Six Weeks and Dude You’re Gonna be a DAD! I highly recommend Cherish the First Six Weeks because I didn’t read the other one 😉 My husband said he liked the second one. The first is a real good one if you know that you want to have a more structured and disciplined life (that’s the best way I could put it). I enjoy my sleep and sanity and while we didn’t necessarily practice the suggestions of this book within the first six weeks, we started after my daughter was 4 months old. It was a game changer! Since then she has been on a routine minus the growth spurt and sleep regression. More on these two topics on my next post.
  9. When should I start sleep training? What method should I use?
    • I don’t think there’s a right answer for this. In my experience, it all depends on when you think you are ready and your baby is ready. Definitely don’t recommend doing anything drastic until the baby is at least 4 months old. Sleep training is really difficult, emotionally on the parent. You end up feeling guilty and crying and giving up. But you just gotta push through it. I’ll repeat this again, I love my sanity and if getting enough sleep and being well rested will keep me sane then I will do anything for it. So, we tried sleep training when she was 6 months old then again after she was 10 months old because of sleep regression (which is ugh so tiring). We also did not necessarily follow any method. I’ll right more on sleep training in a longer post 🙂
  10. What are some good websites to reference for pregnancy, child birth, breastfeeding, parenting, etc.
    • I really liked KellyMom.com because it really covers everything under the sun. However, this should only be used as a reference and not as the Bible ;). Each child is different and everyone has a different journey so I would say you are the best judge for your needs as well as your child’s needs. Go with your instincts, you’ll learn to trust each other (your partner) more this way.
  11. When do babies have growth spurts?
    • Most commonly, growth spurts occur during the first 7-10 days, 2-3 weeks, 4-6 weeks, 3 months, 4 months, 6 months and 9 months. Again, it depends on your child and note that they don’t last for 2 weeks or months. You will notice that your baby wants to either nurse more, is extra cranky or crying excessively, these are signs of growth spurt. This is the timing of growth spurt. Also note that during toddler years as your baby continues their brain and other developments they will have growth spurts mostly resulting in sleep regression.
  12. How long does growth spurt last?
    • Growth spurt can last anywhere from 2-3 days to a week. I have personally witnessed this with my daughter through each of her growth spurts. It is frustrating and testing times for sure. The good thing is that you know it is only temporary but until it lasts you will have to sleep a little less and plan your days accordingly 😉

Planning Your Pregnancy!

Happy New Year, my ladies and gents!

It’s the New Year and I know a lot of us are thinking about new beginnings whether it be on the fitness, mental, spiritual or life :). Making a big change in our lives is always nerve wrecking and we’re never sure if it’s the right thing or the right time. How can one even decide when the right time is to bring another human being into this world? Now that is a loaded question and only YOU know the right time. You and your partner should’ve probably already talking about this for a while now and you know this year might just be the right year for it! Some quick tips before I start on how to plan on getting pregnant:

What are the things to consider before getting pregnant?

TIPS:

  1. Being married for certain number of years does not determine your readiness for baby. This is a collaborative exercise and you and your partner need to feel ready emotionally, physically and yes financially.
  2. Do not listen to what others have to say, esp. my Desi Community people. First comes: “when are you getting married?”, then “when’s the baby you’ve been married for almost a year now” and next when’s the second baby. Does it ever end? Listen to YOURSELF.
  3. You will get anxious by the thought of it but think one little step at a time. You don’t have to think about birthing (trust me, this isn’t even the hardest part, oops) or sending them to college just yet. Again, listen to yourself and find out what the anxiety is about. Talk to your partner and talk to yourself on preparing yourself for this.

Just how do you plan, where do you start (besides the obvious), what are some pregnancy checklists? Let’s get started, shall we?

Health: assuming that you have made a decision on getting pregnant this year; the first and foremost thing to ensure is that you are healthy to have a baby. You may have heard; healthy mom equals healthy baby (considering everything goes well). Here are things to do:

A. Health is the number one priority for you when you plan to have a baby. Find a gynecologist and set up an appointment to get a physical, view your iron levels, any other blood work, etc. Your partners should also get a physical done along with blood work to get all the bases cleared. Now, I’m not a doctor so please use discretion when following any advice on this blog post. Take the right prenatal vitamins that works for you. I personally took the NatureMade. I also have heard great things about Rainbow. Take prenatal at least 3 months in advance of trying.

B. Physical health and fitness go hand in hand. No, you do not have to be an athlete or someone with a six-pack.. However, it is highly advisable to be physically active whether you do yoga, walk/run everyday for 30-45 min, or do other sports. Being involved in physical activities before and throughout the pregnancy will help you stay fit and also happy. It releases a chemical known as endorphins and it triggers positive feeling in the body. You want to stay positive throughout your pregnancy as they say the baby senses everything from the momma (no pressure) 🙂 However, if you are trying to lose weight, I highly encourage you to do so before trying because you can end up putting on a lot of weight during pregnancy and also after and the cycle will continue. Being in your best shape before pregnancy will help you get back into shape quicker too, just my experience. See my “What to eat and types of workout during pregnancy” post (coming soon).

C. Mental health plays a big part in the whole process. Keeping yourself calm (yet being yourself), composed and aware of your feelings will help you throughout the pregnancy journey (just life in general too!). I highly recommend doing at least a 10 min meditation (guided or self) to connect with yourself and your emotions. I personally used Headspace. Going back to staying positive meditation will definitely help you with that effort. You’ll thank me later 🙂

D. Financial planning is one of those topics that I know is really important but I am no expert on it. It should be understood that with an addition to your family your expenses are also going to increase. You should also think about whether you want to wait. It also depends on where and how you decide to spend your money towards your little one. For example, decorating baby room with the most high-end furnitures and carpets, etc. If you can afford it, great, if not, then don’t go crazy! Babies literally do not care about what’s in their surrounding and the older they grow the messier everything will get 🙂 So be wise and spend wisely.

Last but not the least, download an app that will help you keep track of your ovulation cycle. As crazy as it sounds, you will need to monitor the days that have ‘higher chances’ at you being pregnant and schedule your sessions with your partner accordingly! I used the Glow Cycle & Fertility Tracker and we followed it religiously. However, some people feel that it takes the excitement out of the whole thing and puts pressure on people. Do whatever works for you.

I’m sure there are a million other considerations you can search on the web. Just like with marriage, you will know when you’re ready to have a baby. I cannot emphasize this enough: use your judgment with the things you read on the internet. Not everything that is found on the web is true or even applies to you and your life. And remember, don’t be a hypochondriac!

Happy beginnings to those who are trying this year!

XO, Naya