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August 26, 2009

Yoga-first trimester

Early pregnancy can be a pretty nerve-racking cause everyone's telling you what to do and worse still, what not to do. Some helpful things I've heard regarding unwanted advice during pregnancy:
  • It's about them and not about you.
  • It's just practice for being a parent, you'll be getting plenty of unsolicited advice from here on in!
Back to yoga, I've been sifting through the advice for the useful bits and here's what I've come up with.

In the first trimester you'll likely be feeling pretty gross and exercise won't be the top of your agenda. So if you don't want to, don't do it. You really can afford to rest now and make up for it later when you feel stronger.

If you've been doing yoga for a long time and you aren't feeling too gross then you won't need to adjust your yoga routine much in the first few months. My teacher advised me to go easy on squats. If you've been doing back bends and headstands for a long time you may feel strong enough to continue. Breath of fire or bundha's (locks) in the abdomen area are no good for pregnant women. Of course mulabundha, which is a lock of the base chakra, is the same as what we call pelvic floor exercises, so this one is great.

There are some general things pregnant women ought to know about exercise:
  • Be careful about over heating, this can be quite dangerous
  • Stay hydrated, your body is making all sorts of new fluid (amniotic fluid, new blood, the embryo itself is still fluid) so don't let yourself dry out
  • Your body is making a new hormone called relaxin, which allows your body to open for birth. Relaxin also makes you more flexible so you have to be extra careful not to overstretch
  • Lying on your back may be uncomfortable, but as long as it's comfortable it's not dangerous
  • You may be experiencing both low blood pressure and low blood sugar. Be careful standing or sitting up quickly. If you feel dizzy sit straight down.
I personally felt uncomfortable with positions on my stomach (like cobra) just because of the nausea. If anything makes you feel sick, just don't do it.

August 18, 2009

Foods to avoid in pregnancy

I'm not too strict about this. Recent research shows that the stress and guilt women feel about drinking alcohol whilst pregnant has MORE effect on the unborn child than the alcohol itself. So chill out and enjoy your food. This is the most important thing.

However it is sensible to avoid certain foods where possible. Avoid anything that is too potent, sharp, pungent, hot or strong. Foods or herbs that cause uterine contractions, have a laxative effect or promote bleed should all be avoided.

I'm about to give you a big list of foods to avoid, but I want to start by saying it doesn't really matter. These foods are mostly fine in moderation. Turmeric in culinary quantities ( a pinch in a family meal) isn't a worry, but medicinal quantities (such as 1/2 teaspoon three times a day) is not such a good idea. My dad's rosemary potatoes are still on the menu but rosemary essential oil is not going in my bath.

I'm not trying to suggest that the foods on this list will cause you to miscarry, that is not the case at all. Actually it's more subtle, for example some of these foods will aggravate the baby and others may increase your pregnancy symptoms.

If you are early in pregnancy you may want to take more care to avoid foods on this list but once your pregnancy is well established you should be able to take them in food quantities, but still avoid medicinal quantities. Especially avoid the if your pregnancy is fragile or complicated.
  • laxatives including triphla and aloe vera
  • emmenagogues
  • neem
  • asafoetida
  • garlic
  • chilli
  • nutmeg
  • fenugreek
  • cloves
  • sage
  • thyme
  • rosemary
  • nigella seeds
  • poppy seeds
  • honey (this is contested, but I prefer to use jaggary which is excellent for pregnancy)
  • licorice root
  • oregano
  • dandelion root (leaves are fine)
  • dill
  • fennel
  • neem
  • sesame
  • ginger (ginger is great for morning sickness, but only in moderation, a pinch of grated fresh ginger in a cup of hot water should suffice)
  • turmeric
  • parsley
Of course if you are pregnant and you have been eating these please don't panic, everything is fine in moderation. You'd have really make an effort to eat enough poppy seeds to affect your pregnancy. It wouldn't happen by accident after eating a piece of multigrain bread. Just try and avoid making these foods your daily, staple diet.

In pregnancy your nausea and super smelling power will guide you to avoid certain foods. Garlic and vinegar both send my stomach reeling these days, your body will tell you what to do!

August 05, 2009

Week 8-telling people

I've decided to tell a few more people. At first we only told our immediate families and three of my closest girl friends. Not telling has been on the hardest things and as my symptoms get worse it's not as easy to hide anymore.

I've been looking pretty green at work and getting a few questions so I decided to come clean. I'm lucky to work in a very supportive workplace in a team of all women so they are all thrilled and full of tips for coping with the sickness. Of course at 8 weeks the pregnancy still isn't that well established, but they all understand the risks.

Before I was pregnant I believed I wouldn't tell anyone until 12 weeks, but now I'm here it's a lot more complicated than I expected.

It feels so oppressive to suffer in silence, why should all these women deal with the first trimester alone, without the support of their workplace, friends, family, other mums. Sheila Kitzinger reckons that often the first trimester is the hardest, and I think we should be able to share the good times and the bad. Whilst the risk of misscarriage doesn't decline for another 4 weeks, I'd like their support if we did lose this tiny child. I'd rather not keep my grief a secret. This is real life, shit happens and I'd like to be able to talk about it.

And they are all so excited, why wouldn't I want to incude them on this wonderful journey!

I'm not ready to completely go public just yet. Whilst I told my team I'm not telling the remaining 140 people at my workplace. I'm not posting these just yet, and it's certainly not going on face book!

All day sickness or nausea during pregnancy 2

If your pregnant nausea will most likely be on your mind during those early months. I posted a bit on morning sickness earlier and here's some more, cause it's a pretty big issue.

Herbs and remedies:
  • Pour boiling water over puffed rice, strain and drink (Seriously, this one saved me on many occasions, my Ayurvedic doctor recommended it and it has really really helped)
  • Chyawanprash is good general tonic during pregnancy
  • Roast shatavari in an iron pan with ghee, cardomom and date sugar
  • Soak ten fresh dates in a litre of ghee. Add 1 teaspoon of ginger, 1/8 teaspoon of cardomom and a pinch of saffron. Cover loosely. Keep this in a closed warm space for a week. Then eat one date daily in the early morning. (Thanks to Dr Vasant Lad, and this one also helps with anemia)
  • Hot milk with a tiny pinch of nutmeg and cardomom (nutmeg is not recomended usually in pregnancy so go easy)
  • Puffed rice with a little honey
  • The smell of rose, lemon or mint may help
  • Acupressure (known as marma in Ayurveda) point
Or you could simply try peacock feather ash!