By Dr Madhuri Burande Laha, Consultant, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Motherhood Hospital, Kharadi, Pune
Pregnancy is a life-changing event in a woman’s life. Although a challenging period, the thought of being able to bring another human into this world is a beautiful feeling. Throughout pregnancy a woman goes through morning sickness, mood swings, changes in food habits etc. due to fluctuating hormone levels. During monsoon, this discomfort may increase even further due to the dull gloomy weather. Moreover, this season is associated with infections and increased chances of falls. Therefore, women must take additional care to ensure a smooth pregnancy.
It is important to follow these basics throughout pregnancy, in all seasons, but more so during monsoon:
- Eat healthy: Your family would be feeding you with nutritious foods from the beginning of pregnancy. However, in this season, take additional precaution of washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly. Always opt for fresh foods, mainly fruits. Do not cut and store any food item, even if it is stored in closed containers. Flies and other insects tend to infect open food items. Moreover, foods could be contaminated with soil and unhealthy water in this season.
- Avoid street food: Pregnancy is a time of cravings-especially junk foods, chocolates etc. Take care not to consume food from street vendors. You will never know how the ingredients have been handled and what kind of water is used. The risk of gastrointestinal infections increases manifold during monsoon; therefore, it is wise to avoid food from unhygienic sources. It would be best if someone can prepare these dishes at home.
- Stay hydrated: Despite lower temperatures, drinking adequate fluids is important. Pregnancy tends to zap energy. Apart from healthy snacks, it is important to keep in handy fluids such as coconut water, juices, in addition to water, to ensure that you avoid the side effects of dehydration such as dizziness, fatigue etc.
- Maintain personal hygiene: Additional measures for this season include using a sanitizer, carrying a spare towel to wipe yourself if you get wet. Do not stay in wet/damp clothes for long. Carry a spare set of clothes and undergarments and change ASAP if you get wet in the rain. Take a warm shower or at least wash your hands and feet with soap thoroughly every time you return from outdoors. Mosquitoes, rodents are seen in higher numbers during the rains. These pathogens are carriers of several infections, which could be harmful to both mother and the fetus.
- Make sure your home is clean as well! Use a good quality disinfectant to clean your home. Unclean surfaces promote growth of fungus in this damp season, which may be harmful when breathed. The risk of allergies is high during the rains. You can use camphor or neem to purify your house. Check the web for home-based techniques to keep your house clean.
- Wear comfortable, loose clothing: Tight, synthetic clothes are a no-no throughout pregnancy, but more so during the rains as they tend to stick to your body. Humidity is high in monsoon; therefore, the tendency to sweat is more, and synthetic fabrics will cling to the body. This is not good for the skin and ultimately the health of both the mother and fetus. Rashes and fungal infections may occur. Therefore, opt for flowy, cotton wear that will absorb sweat and allow you to move more comfortably.
- Do not forget footwear: Comfortable, non-slippery footwear is a must this season. Walking during pregnancy, especially in the last trimester is difficult. Slippery roads are common as are potholes in our cities. Make sure you invest in a pair of well-fitted, breathable shoes. Heels are to be avoided, opt for the multitude of stylish flats in the market. Make sure you wash and dry footwear thoroughly before each use.
Both motherhood and monsoon are a period to cherish. By taking adequate precautions, you can ensure a healthy and safe pregnancy and soon cuddle with your bundle of joy.