Having friends is one of the best blessings of life especially friends who stay by your side in all your good and bad times. Friendship is a very flexible relationship because good friends don’t mind what you do. You can ask even the silliest question and they will never judge you. They even help guide you when you're lost and confused.
So let's say that your friend recently told you about her positive pregnancy test, and despite the fact that it was planned, you'll still find that she's tense and worried. She'll want to ask a million questions regarding pregnancy and of course asking them all to her doctor won’t really seem to be practical her at first.
Her doctor will provide her with an outline of her complete pregnancy duration, but the experiences might be missing. If you're already a mother, then you will have no problem guiding her through, but if you're yet to hit that point, you yourself will also be clueless. But don't worry, because there are a lot of sources that will provide you with complete information about the pregnancy stages and Baby Gaga is only one of them.
Read through this article, it'll give you an in depth idea to help you guide your pregnant friend. This article covers the basic points that you ought to advise your friend with so that she stays healthy and is able to give birth to a healthy baby.
7 A-Z About Pregnancy
When women are pregnant a lot of things that happen are very mysterious and confusing. It's certainly because of this reason that many questions arise regarding each stage of pregnancy. So this should be your top priority when it comes to advising your pregnant friend.
The most prominent symptom that occurs in the first month is the constant feeling of nausea and of course no menstrual cycle. Other signs of the start of the pregnancy are fatigue, feeling bloated, mood swings, swollen breast and frequent urination. Your friend doesn't have all of these symptoms, but a few of these, that's okay.
You don't have to experience all of them to have a healthy pregnancy.
In the second month of pregnancy women experiences breast tenderness, frequent urination, fatigue, heartburn and vomiting and nausea gets worse with some women. The body produces more blood in the second month so your friend’s heart beat will become fast than usual.
As the third month begins, the area around her nipple will become larger and darker than before, and if your friend has ever had acne problems, she may experience outbreaks. She should be careful about her weight that she's not too overweight or underweight. If she is, then she should probably consult with her help care provider. The symptoms of the fourth month are similar to third month with the addition of digestive problems, shortness of breath and dizziness.
The nausea usually reduces or stops completely for many women.
For the first time fetal movements are felt in the fifth month and will continue till her due date. Most of the symptoms of the fourth month carry forward into the ninth month. After the fifth month, the uterus will continue expanding and fetal movement will be more prominent. Swollen feet and legs are a common in these later months of pregnancy which eventually leads to pain in the legs.
Nearer to her due date, the cervix will start to dilate to make way for the fetus and sharp pains might be felt in her vagina. She will have a lot of trouble holding urine and urination will become more frequent. Shortness of breath and heartburn will continue. Finally, as the due date nears, the contractions will begin, and as the contractions become more frequent, your friend must head to the hospital immediately.
6 Eat a Proper Diet
Most probably your friend’s heath care provider will provide her with a proper diet plan to follow through her pregnancy. But chances are she might look forward to hearing from you as well since you are her friend. When it comes to diet, especially during pregnancy, it's very important that a woman eats a rich diet which consists of all the nutrients.
Failure to do so can lead to a malnourished fetus which can further lead to more problems. Since you're not a dietician you can't make a diet plan for her, but what you can do is to teach her the importance of basic nutrients that are required during pregnancy.
Support and encourage her to eat healthily
Folate and Folic Acid
800 micrograms of folate or folic acid a day should be taken during pregnancy because it helps prevent birth defects such as neural tube defects and serious abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord. Also, folic acid decreases the risk of preterm delivery. The best sources of folate are; fortified cereals, green vegetables, citrus fruits, dried beans and peas.
Your friend and her baby need calcium in order to help strengthen the bones and teeth. Another very important benefit of calcium is that it makes the circulatory system, the nervous system and the muscular system run smoothly. Dairy products are the best source of calcium. Apart from dairy products, calcium can be found in broccoli and kale and fruit juice or breakfast cereals that are fortified with calcium.
The purpose of Vitamin D is to help the body absorb calcium, so if there is lack of Vitamin D in the body, no matter how much calcium your friend consumes, her body will fail to absorb it. Similar to calcium, Vitamin D also helps to strengthen the baby’s bones and teeth. Vitamin D can be attained from fish such as salmon, fortified milk and orange juice.
5 Think Positively
This is common advice, but nobody ever stops to explain that a pregnant woman who's going through so much emotional, physical and mental stress can't possibly remain positive every single day. A few steps to help her stay positive are:
Positive Thinking: Negativity mainly comes due to negative thoughts. Though positive thinking requires a lot of practice, it isn’t that difficult. Each time she gets a negative thought, she should try diverting her mind towards the endless beneficial ways that event helped her learn something. The best part about positive thinking is that it continues to help even after the birth of the child.
Meditation: This is the simplest way to avoid thinking negative. Meditation helps to boost the mood and replaces negative thoughts with good and healthy ones. Moreover, meditation helps to calm and relax the mind and body. One of the ways your friend can meditate is by listening to soft and soothing music for a few minutes a day and by spending time on her own.
Keeping calm and relaxed will make her pregnancy more enjoyable
Inspirational Books: You can also ask your friend to get inspired. How? Well, by reading inspirational books and watching inspirational videos and movies. You can take your friend to attend inspirational workshops to help the combat with stressful pregnancy situations. She must add Spiritual Pregnancy by Gopika Kapoor to her reading list.
Encouragement: Encourage your friend to share her fears with you so you can help her look at the brighter side of every matter and let her know her fears are baseless. During pregnancy, women think about miscarriages due to the fear of losing their baby. So you should help her overcome those fears and feel better.
Stay Away from Negative People: This is very important to help your friend remain positive during her pregnancy and delivery. You should advise her to stay away from negative people. In order to stay positive it's vital to be among people who think and act positively. Ask her not to sit with people who whine about how painful and troublesome pregnancy.
Your friend must know that it's extremely important to think positively during pregnancy because what she thinks will ultimately affect her baby.
4 Avoid Stress
Stress can't be avoided, but it can be lessened. Stress is bad for both mental and physical health, and during pregnancy it can have serious effects on the baby as well. According to a research conducted by Columbia University in 2008, high levels of maternal cortisol may lead to shorter pregnancies and can affect the baby’s development.
Advise your friend to include stretching exercises in her routine. A few minutes of deep breathing and gentle stretching between busy days to help instill mental clarity so that thoughts can be organized. Doing all this will help your friend to be more able to tackle day-to-day problems with ease and with less stress.
One of the most common issues a woman has during pregnancy is weight gain. She'll feel bad about her clothes becoming tighter. It’s true, it can get very depressing, but it's just temporary. Once your friend has had the baby she can start dieting and join the gym as well. For many women, weight gain becomes a thing of the past after delivery. You can motivate her to look her best by helping her find new dresses that will go with her body shape.
You can be the glue that keeps her together
The next thing that really bothers pregnant women is the endless shopping list for the arriving member. You can help her complete a list of required items for a new born. You can even help her organize the nursery and house in preparation for the baby. Even if she forgets something you'll be there to arrange it for her.
The approaching due date is another stressful situation with millions of questions swimming through her mind. Encourage her to talk about it with you or to her doctor so that her misconceptions can be resolved and she'll be able to have a better idea about how her delivery will take place.
3 Preparing for Delivery
Delivery is another stressful situation taht has no exact duration. For some it's only a matter of minutes, but for some it can be a matter of hours. Labor may take place long before the expected due date, or days to weeks after. For this reason a woman must stay prepared with her hospital bag so there won't be any running around when she feels her first labor pain.
The next thing she should do is ask people questions who've already experienced delivery as well as consulting her health care provider. She should have a good idea about when a C-section is required and everything that she feels unsure of. She shouldn't hesitate to ask whatever's on her mind even if it sounds lame and silly. Don’t just rely on a pregnancy guide book or the internet because face to face expert advice is always best.
It would be a good idea to increase stamina so that she has enough strength and focus during her labor. Stamina can be increased by performing yoga. In addition to that, yoga also helps to strengthen the body as well give it more flexibility. Moreover, through yoga relaxation of the mind is achieved which is vital before and during labor. A woman who is all stressed out during her labor will have a harder time than the one who is calm and relaxed.
In some cases it is mind over matter
You should know that after delivery her days will become busier and more hectic, so she must prepare herself for certain things before their labor. To start with, she should plan a day where she relaxes and spends some quality time with the things she loves to do. It shouldn’t be something that would tire her, but rather staying indoors and relaxing with a good book, a collection of her favorite movies and songs or maybe going for a relaxing spa day.
Then she should restock her fridge so that she won’t have to worry about grocery shopping while taking care of her baby. Stocking her fridge with freezer friendly dishes will save her time from cooking for the first few days after her delivery. She should hire a maid so that she'll have assistance with household chores while she takes care of her baby, as well as getting a good amount of rest.
2 How to Recover From Labor
The body of a pregnant woman takes months to prepare for labor, so generally it'll take time to recover. Her health care expert will suggest directions for bathing and some light exercises for a speedy recovery. She'll also be asked to take precautions so she doesn't cause herself any sort of injury. Some of the basic guidelines to help a woman recover faster from labor are:
- -Drinking at least 8 – 10 glasses of water a day. This will keep her skin fresh and her blood circulation will flow at its best level helping to repair any wounds and cuts quickly.
- -Walking up and down the stairs should be avoided and she shouldn't lift any heavy objects until her doctor allows says it's safe to do so.
- -It would be better if she didn't drive too soon after delivery because it isn’t easy to make quick movements so soon after labor and wearing a safety belt is very uncomfortable.
- -She must check on her vagina. If it becomes red or swollen and goes through any other change, she must consult her health care provider as soon as possible.
Birth control is very important because she should ideally have about a two or three year’s gap between her first and second child. Though if she is breast feeding, then it will be less likely that she will conceive, but she must still consult with her doctor for the best available options of control birth.
If she is planning to breastfeed she must get an adequate amount of sleep, keep herself hydrated, and lastly, eat the required nutrients. She must avoid caffeinated drinks which can cause dehydration through loss of fluid through frequent urination, not to mention caffeine will make the baby fussy and wakeful.
1 Health Issues After Delivery
Postpartum depression and baby blues maybe quite similar in symptoms, but they differ in diagnosis and intensity. Postpartum depression is more serious and long lasting, which causes constant mood swings, anxiety, persistent sadness and guilt. It can be diagnosed even after one year after giving birth and is more common to women who have a history of depression or a family history of depression, or if she has suffered from multiple life stressors.
On the other hand, baby blues cause mothers to experience irritability, sadness, anxiety, guilt and excessive crying. The causes are usually due to the hormonal and physical changes or if the birth was unexpected, and baby blues only lasts for a week.
Breast infection, mastitis, can take place after delivery and its symptoms include; fever or chills and tender or red breast. If this happens, she must consult her doctor who will prescribe some antibiotics for her.
After the delivery she'll need time to heal
Constipation happens because her muscles will be sore, which makes bowel movements quite painful. Also, the stretching of muscles during labor can cause her to pass urine when she coughs, sneezes or laughs.
Hot and cold flashes may take place since her body will be adjusting to new hormones and the blood flow levels can create havoc on her internal thermostat. The vaginal discharge, which will be heavier than her period and will often consist if clots, will slowly fade to white or yellow and will stop within several weeks.
Gained weight will be her biggest issue after labor. Though some woman don’t gain weight even after their labor, but for the latter, they can keep themselves active by not going on complete bed rest, because this will cause further health issues like thrombosis. Light exercises, healthy eating and consuming lots of fluids will help her lose weight in no time.