Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Pretty Pregnant

Don't let your body blues get in the way of experiencing maternal bliss. Here's how to have fun during and after pregnancy. By Kaye Langit-Luistro

        It sure isn't easy being pregnant. You may look forward to the miracle of life and all that, but sometimes when you look at your protruding belly, darkened skin on the neck and armpits, nasty pimples and skin tags, you can't help but cry.

        All these conditions are hormone-related, says Dr. Dorothy Mildred Sia-Cu, diplomate of the Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society (POGS) and consultant at the Manila Doctors Hospital. During pregnancy, hormones such as progesterone, estrogen and prolactin escalate to support your baby's needs. Unfortunately, they can also create havoc on your skin, body and emotions. Wipe the tears from your eyes and fret no more; you can do something about it!

Exercise. An exercise regimen can help reduce skin problems and other discomforts associated with pregnancy. Sia-Cu says that you can benefit much from swimming, walking, cycling and independent action stair-climbing if done for 10 to 15 minutes, 4to 5 times a week.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that the most appropriate form of aerobic exercise for a pregnant woman is the one that she most enjoys and can safely perform. Perform the "talk test" to check against overexertion. If you are able to talk comfortably while exercising, you are doing fine.

Pretty Pregnant by Kaye Langit-Luistro
Moms & Babies Magazine, March-April 2005

Just a week postpartum ( after birth), you can walk, lift weights, even for 10 minutes, says Kathy Kaehler, trainer and co- developer of the workout video Cindy Crawford: A New Dimension. The regimen boasts of exercises that any woman can do before, during and after pregnancy. You have to give your body time to regain strength and shed off unwanted pounds, she says.

Feed on fresh foods. Load up on brown rice, oatmeal and whole wheat bread-food rich in fiber will prevent diarrhea and constipation. Get your share of lean meat, fish, seafood and tons of veggies and fruits. Extra helpings of tuna, salmon, tofu and soy milk will also do you a world of good. Sadly the Filipino diet lacks essential micronutrients, like  omega 3 fatty acids, calcium and iron needed to keep mother and baby healthy, observes Sia-Cu. On the contrary, Japanese staples of fish, rice, steamed veggies and tofu are rich in essential minerals. Japanese women as a result, are confident about their diet, and do not take supplements at all, Sia-Cu claims.

See A Dermatologist. Do not experiment with over-the-counter (OTC) drugs or commercial preparations to cure acne flare-ups. Without proper guidance, your skin condition may worsen. Look for a qualified dermatologist to handle your skin woes.

Wear Flattering Clothes. Just because your pregnant doesn't mean you have to look dowdy. There are plenty of stylish maternity clothes available. Forget about the oversized dresses with huge baby collars and outdated lace. Now, you can wear dark- hip-length tailored blazers or sleeveless shirts paired with spandex pants during your time off from work.

Visit A Spa. Treat yourself to a back rub from a certified massage therapist. Just don't let her touch your tummy to avoid bleeding, premature labor, and other fetal complications, Sia-Cu advises. For tired legs and feet, opt for a foot spa. A basic procedure includes a scrub, massage and even a pedicure. A good spa sterilizes its nail apparatus to prevent infections.

Pretty Pregnant by Kaye Langit-Luistro
Moms & Babies Magazine, March-April 2005


Who says that only non-preggies can keep one? Having a vanity bag is a good idea, especially during pregnancy. If you like the way you look and feel while on the family way, you help yourself- emotionally and physically- overcome the effects of hormonal changes on your body. Remember, not all women are given the gift of pregnancy. Be proud of your brand new body. Stash these items inside your handbag to keep you feeling radiant and refreshed all day.

Pretty Pregnant by Kaye Langit-Luistro
Moms & Babies Magazine, March-April 2005

Hair treatments. Well-groomed hair is truly a woman's crowning glory. But go easy on it. Studies show that falling hair is a harsh side effect of pregnancy. Opt for mild shampoos, conditioner and hot-oil treatments. Hold the hair coloring until the baby's delivered. Commercial hair colorants have compounds that may harm the growing baby.

Facial products. Your sebaceous glands churn out more oil than usual so you'll need to consult an accredited dermatologist for the right facial products. He will help you find the right face creams and other needed skin treatments. Do not use products with tretinoin, a harmful ingredient to your unborn child.

Body lotion. You may have an oily face but certain parts of your body are dry and scaly. After a weekly body scrub and exfoliation, apply lotion over your skin's dry areas.

Body oil. To minimize the appearance of stretch marks, rub body oil on your tummy, three to four times a day. Medical doctors are divided when it comes to this issue, but experienced moms believe in the beauty benefits oils may bring to your skin.

Make-up. When you are under the weather, just reach for some hypoallergenic face powder, lip gloss, blush, eyebrow pencil and mascara. Voila! A dolled-up face may just bring out your cheery disposition.

Bottled water. You need at least 2 liters of water a day to keep you hydrated so drink up! Adequate water can also decrease symptoms of morning sickness.

Caffeine-free herbal teas. Now that you are pregnant, stay away from caffeinated drinks such as coffee and sodas. Caffeine may rob calcium from the bones making you prone to fractures. Caffeine-free tea is a healthy, soothing option for moms who need more than plain water.

Supplements. Take the right vitamins and supplements. Ask your physician which pills to take at certain stages of pregnancy. As a rule of thumb, folic acid should be taken during the first months of pregnancy, iron during the fourth month of pregnancy and calcium and vitamin A at the start of the second trimester.

Packed veggies and fruits. Strips of carrots with fat-free Caesar salad dressing or sliced apples, oranges and bananas keep you from munching processed chips and sodas.

Portable music player. Slip a small player into your bag. Research shows that listening to the classics soothes frayed nerves and improves the baby's mental health.

Inspiring book. Find a book that feeds your body, soul and spirit to ease feelings of discomfort associated with childbearing. Surf the net to check out what other moms-to-be are reading.

Mini-diary. Keep tabs on your fears, insecurities, hopes an dreams. Sometimes all you need is to express yourself fully-free from judgmental remarks.

Pretty Pregnant was first published on Moms and Babies Magazine (now Moms Today) in its March-April 2005 edition. For more articles on childcare and parenting, please go to this link as well as this one.


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