Ten tips on health and emotional support for mums-to-be

Burning questions for mums-to-be in the UAE answered

Ten tips on health and emotional support for mums-to-be

Elite Babies & Tots (www.elitebabiesandtots.com) guest speaker, Laura Anne Cole, a registered midwife at HealthBay Polyclinic, talks routine.

How can I get better sleep?
Sleeping when pregnant, especially in the late stages can be uncomfortable. Try to find positions or pillows that support your back and growing belly. Sleep whenever you are tired if you are able to, and nap during the day if you find the time. Have a relaxing bath and soothing music as part of your evening routine. To ease morning sickness (which can happen at night, too) eat frequently, little and often throughout the day. Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids and avoid foods with strong flavours. Some people may find ginger effective at relieving nausea, for example ginger tea or biscuits. Keep these beside your bed and have a small bite before you get up.

What kind of routine should I try to get into before the baby comes?
There are no set routines to stick to before the baby comes. Just continue with your usual daily routine and keep yourself relaxed and calm before the baby arrives. Every baby is different so your baby will not settle into a routine early on, so don’t panic ahead of time.

What kind of foods should I be eating?
Try to keep a healthy and varied diet with plenty of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and wash them thoroughly. Make sure all food is cooked well, especially meat. Avoid unpasteurised foods and fish high in mercury, like tuna.

Is there anything I should or shouldn’t be doing at certain stages of the pregnancy?
It is generally safe to continue with your daily routine and usual exercise regime throughout your pregnancy – unless your obstetrician has advised you otherwise – dependent on your individual circumstances. Avoid doing any highimpact exercise, but gentle activity such as yoga or swimming is beneficial during pregnancy. Of course, smoking and drinking is not advised during pregnancy. Discuss travelling with your midwife or obstetrician as sometimes air travel is not advised depending on the stage of your pregnancy or any specific pregnancy complications. Some areas of the world are also not advised for visits during
pregnancy due to virus’ and the need for specific vaccines.

What about if things don’t go to plan – what support is there for miscarriages?
There are midwives who can support you emotionally if your pregnancy does not go to plan, either in the clinic or the comfort of your own home. They can point you in the direction of support groups and psychologists if you need further assistance as well.

Also, health-wise, what do I do in that situation?
Your obstetrician will ensure all is well with your health following a miscarriage and will be able to counsel you on how soon you can try and get pregnant again if this is something you wish to do.

What about emotional support during and after pregnancy?
The midwives at HealthBay are always available to support you if you are feeling depressed and emotional after pregnancy. We offer home visits and a baby clinic where you can come and discuss any concerns confidentially. They will be able to discuss with you the signs and symptoms and how to differentiate between normal baby blues and postnatal depression. They will inform you of support groups available and psychologists. Peer support groups and meet ups are arranged regularly and are a great way to share any concerns.

How emotional will I be?
This varies greatly from person to person and we are unable to predict how you will feel – one day you may feel completely well and happy, and the next you may be a little upset. There are a lot of hormonal changes during and after pregnancy that are likely to affect your mood. It is important that you do not feel afraid to seek help and ask for advice if you aren’t feeling yourself. Sometimes just speaking to your partner or friend can help if you need someone to confide in.

How common is postnatal depression?
Perinatal mental health problems affect between ten and 20 percent of women during pregnancy and throughout the first year after having a baby. It is difficult to get accurate statisitics due to often unreported cases where women are too afraid to ask for help. The most important thing is to ask for help and support if you feel you need it.

What will I need support wise that I might not have thought of before getting pregnant?
Often in the UAE new families are here as expats without a large support network of our close family and friends. In our home countries we have our extended family to help care for the baby and offer general support. But here partners often have to return to full time work soon after the birth, therefore the first few weeks after you take your baby home can be quite daunting as you adjust to your new routine. HealthBay midwives and Elite Babies & Tots are able to come to your home and help you as often as you need and help you to adjust to new family life.

Always consult your doctor before making any change to your routine during pregnancy.

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