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For a smooth delivery
by Manjula Ramakrishnan December 29, 2017
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During the entire period of pregnancy, it is important to have periodic medical supervision both for the health of the mother and the unborn child — the foetus in the womb. Antenatal care is therefore paramount to ensure a smooth pregnancy, a successful and stress-free delivery and also a healthy post-delivery recovery.

Burjeel Hospital in Abu Dhabi offers free antenatal classes for expectant mothers. Held every alternate Saturday from 2 to 6pm at the hospital premises, these are offered by lactation consultants, clinical dieticians, physiotherapists, yoga instructors and midwives attached to the labour room and ward. This gives holistic help to the mother-to-be in dealing with her pregnancy. Speaking to Panorama, the specialists address their specific spheres of expertise.

Breastfeeding: Lactation Consultant, Karine Poghosyan
Breastfeeding is extremely important for the brain and retinal development of the child as well as for the maternal infant bonding. It has all the nutrients for the growth and development of the child; it is easy to digest and helps in the immunological protection. It also has antibacterial and healing properties and prevents respiratory and intestinal infections and allergies.  Moreover, it prevents the child from developing inflammatory bowel disease and diabetes.
In addition, it reduces the child’s risk of developing certain childhood cancers. Breastfeeding protects the baby from a long list of illnesses and reduces the risk of Sudden Unexpected Death of an Infant (SIDS). It provides a better dental health for the newborn and helps in increasing visual acuity. Breastfeeding is beneficial to the mother as well. It aids an easier pregnancy weight loss and decreases the risk of illnesses like breast cancer, osteoporosis, postpartum haemorrhage and ovarian cancer.

Diet during pregnancy: Clinical Dietician, Archana Baju
A mother’s nutritional status is very important before conception and even after conception. During the first three months of pregnancy the foetus is most vulnerable to nutritional deficiencies. Foetal growth retardation, some congenital defects and maternal anaemia are linked to poor nutritional status during pregnancy.

Eat a variety of different foods from all food groups; Folic acid — leafy, dark green vegetables, citrus fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and fortified bread and cereals. Also, restrict foods containing too much fats and sugars.
Also, one might feel hungrier than usual, but there is no need to “eat for two” — even if one is expecting twins or triplets. In general, pregnant women need between 2,200 and 2,900 calories a day.
 
Exercise and yoga: Specialist Physiotherapist and Head of Department, Srividya Iyer and Yoga Specialist, Lokesh Hegde.
Exercising during pregnancy is essential for a healthy pregnancy as well as a healthy delivery. Exercising boosts energy, helps you sleep better, improves cardiovascular fitness and helps in controlling the maternal weight gain. At the same time, exercising during pregnancy helps in reducing subjective discomforts of pregnancy like bloating, constipation, swelling, leg cramps and fatigue. It also lowers the risk of pregnancy-related complications like pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes.

While most women can safely participate in antenatal exercise, it is important to discuss the exercise with your obstetrician. For women who get a go-ahead for exercise, it is recommended to do at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. Antenatal exercise should include cardiovascular exercises, muscle toning work-out, and pelvic floor exercises. Additionally, it is also important to focus on a few yoga exercises to increase strength and flexibility. Yoga should include breathing exercises for a smooth and relaxed labour.

Labour Room Journey: Midwife, Celine Lewis
A normal pregnancy usually lasts for 40 weeks, a total of nine months and seven days. Pre-Labor signs can start one-four weeks earlier. Typical signs include lightening — when the baby drops. Additionally, the mother might feel more cramps and back pain along with regular contractions. In some cases, the mother can get diarrhoea and blood strain vaginal discharge. There might be signs of possible false labour pain too, which is called Braxton or Hick’s Contraction.

There are two types of pain management: Non-Pharmacological, where in the pain is mitigated by mobilisation, breathing exercises, massaging the mother along with the encouragement and support of the family. Pharmacological pain management utilises Pethidine narcotic injection or Epidural Analgesia procedure to manage the pain. Epidural Analgesia procedure is done by an anaesthetist where a fine catheter is inserted into the patient’s back to administer continuous medication throughout the labour to reduce pain.

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