BANGALORE: The typical pre-natal care schedule for a woman in case of normal pregnancy includes monthly check-ups till 32 weeks and fortnightly check-ups till 36 weeks, and then weekly check-ups till delivery. An ultrasound scan (called anomaly scan) after around 20 weeks is recommended, say city doctors.
Family members, especially the father, should be involved in the process right from day one. Dads-to-be must come for consultations with the mothers, as this can have a positive impact on the child as well, say city-based gynaecologists and obstetricians.
Dr Kishore Kumar, chairman and MD, Cloudnine Hospitals says that the hospital has antenatal workshops for fathers and one session in the workshop is dedicated to their role. “We insist on fathers being a part of post-natal care of babies,” says Dr Kumar and adds, “If husbands are with their wives during health check-ups and tests, they can help build confidence and reduce stress in women.”
Dr Devika Gunasheela, director, Gunasheela Surgical and Maternity Hospital and Gunasheela Assisted Reproductive Centre, points out that the concept of fathers being allowed into the birthing suite to provide emotional support and care during the delivery is not popular in India, as the mother’s family plays an important role in the process. The woman goes back to her mother’s house post delivery. “In our country, not all hospitals allow fathers into birthing suites, as they may get agitated or restless during the delivery," she says.
Women generally turn very emotional during pregnancy and if a tragedy like a miscarriage happens, it hits the couple hard. The couple needs to be counselled and emotional support should be provided to them. If the miscarriage has happened before the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, they need to take a break of 2 - 3 months before they try to get pregnant again, adds Dr Gunasheela.
“Sexual activity is not advised for the first six weeks after childbirth, irrespective of whether it is a normal delivery or a caesarean section,“ says Dr D R Jayashree Murthy, consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician, Motherhood Hospital. She also mentions that women over the age of 35 years are at a higher risk of having a baby with a chromosomal disorder. Women who are over 35 years will necessarily have to undergo prenatal screening tests, and further tests like chorion villus sampling may be advised if an abnormality is suspected. However, if a woman post 35 years is in good health otherwise, not suffering from medical complications like diabetes or hypertension, then the course of her pregnancy will probably be uneventful and the same pregnancy care and post-natal care will be followed as that for younger women.
Controlled breathing, yoga and relaxation postures help cope with the labour. Many working women may not have the time to attend these classes and they are not always necessary. Being moderately active at home, doing routine housework like cooking is advised. However, hard physical work or strenuous exercises are not advisable.
Doctors advise pregnant women to walk for 30 minutes every day, at a brisk pace.
Post-natally, it is very important for the mother to take adequate rest at home for 42 days, which is six weeks following the delivery, so the body tissues and ligaments regain their strength and tone.
Mothers who find nursing tough may lack knowledge on how to feed the baby. This can be overcome by counselling them about post-natal care.
It is recommended that mothers should breast feed every 2-3 hours for effective lactation. Adequate hydration and good nutritious diet should be emphasised.