BENGALURU: Monsoon brings relief from the sweltering heat, washes away the dust, making the city look beautiful and green. So, it’s natural to cheer for the change and feel the urge to set foot outside and enjoy a hot cup of tea.
However, many women may suffer discomfort during their pregnancy, especially during the monsoon months. Along with the gloomy clouds, the monsoon also brings with it a host of mosquito-borne infections, viral and bacterial illness like dengue, malaria, chikungunya, flu, typhoid, hepatitis and the recent epidemic of Nipah, to name a few. These illnesses tend to be more severe in pregnant women because of their reduced immunity, leading to increased bleeding tendencies, multi-organ involvement, ICU admissions, early delivery and pre-mature newborns.
Here are some ways to enjoy the rains when you are expecting:
Staying hydrated is essential, even during rains. The drop in the temperatures may reduce your desire to drink more liquids, but maintaining a good hydration is essential to beat the humidity;relieve headaches and fatigue associated with dehydration. Boiled and cooled or purified water must be consumed in abundance. Othe/r safe options during the rains would be coconut water, home-made lemonade, butter milk or canned juices.
Craving a particular type of food is not uncommon during pregnancy. It’s best to avoid raw vegetables in your salad and say NO to raw meat, eggs and sea food during your pregnancy. Save the urge to have an aloo chat from the local vendor or a sushi meal. Leafy vegetables like spinach and cabbage tend to carry a lot of dirt and need to be washed in clean running water multiple times ;cooked and then consumed. Eat a balanced, home-cooked meal rich in fibre and protein to stay healthy.
THE MOSQUITO MENACE
Avoid stagnant water at home and your garden as they help breed mosquitoes that spread malaria and dengue. Use mosquito-nets, repellants, meshes in the windows and doors of your homes or air-conditioning to control the mosquito menace.
CLOTHING & FOOTWEAR
Loose full-sleeved comfortable cotton clothing will offer protection from mosquitoes and help beat humidity. Avoid wearing synthetic fabrics and tight clothing as they can cause discomfort and rashes. Wear comfortable, flat footwear with a good grip to prevent accidental falls from slippery and uneven patches during rain.
Hand-hygiene and clean drinking water prevent water-borne diseases like hepatitis A, E and typhoid, some of which can be fatal in a pregnant woman. Washing your hands multiple times a day prior to each meal and after using the restrooms with clean water is an essential part of good hand hygiene.
A fever or a common cold in pregnancy needs immediate attention and treatment with pregnancy-safe medications to avoid complications to the mother and the unborn child. Early diagnosis of flu in pregnancy allows prompt treatment with medications and prevents serious respiratory complications and ICU admissions. The Flu Vaccine is recommended for every pregnant woman as viral infections tend to be more severe in pregnancy. Vaccines against new strains are available each year and it’s important to be immunised with these vaccines.
The author is a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Fortis La Femme Hospital, Richmond Road, Bangalore