Neena was very excited when she first tested positive for pregnancy. But her excitement slowly evaporated as more and more of her friends and well wishers alerted her about precautions during pregnancy.
Most commonly believed ‘precautions during pregnancy’ are not based on scientific evidence.
“It is always better to check with your doctor or else you may end up doing more harm than good” counsels Dr Priti Arora Dhamija.
1. Bed rest during pregnancy prevents miscarriages
“I wasn’t allowed to get off the bed or do my daily chores because my elders had told me to rest as much as I could to prevent a miscarriage” says Neena.
“Being confined to the bed is a little extreme. Ideally, you should get between 8 – 10 hours of sleep every day and avoid high impact activities” advises Dr. Priti.
“If your pregnancy is developing normally, there’s no reason for you stop doing your routine work. The fitter you are, the easier your delivery will be.”
Fact: Scientific studies have not found evidence that bed rest prevents miscarriages or preterm labour. It doesn’t lower the risk of complications or preterm delivery.
Bed rest may be advised in certain situations such as placenta previa, vaginal bleeding or pre-term labour.
2. Gaining weight progressively results in a healthy baby
“My friends gave me a list of precautions during pregnancy. They suggested I gain weight steadily throughout pregnancy for a healthy baby ” Neena says anxiously.
“Your weight gain is not directly related to the baby’s weight gain. It is also due to fluid retention and development of placenta “ explains Dr Priti.
“As doctors, we assess the growth of your baby not so much by your weight but by the growth of your uterus.”
Fact: The total recommended weight gain in pregnancy varies from person to person. It is completely normal not to gain any weight or even lose weight in the first trimester. Most weight gain happens in the latter half of pregnancy.
Related Post: What You Need to Know about Your Pregnancy Diet Chart
3. Exercise during pregnancy will cause preterm labour
“And then my mother had her own set of precautions during pregnancy! She discouraged me from climbing stairs and doing any exercise “ Neena says wearily.
“We actually encourage to-be mothers to walk for 40-45 minutes every day or take up antenatal exercises for a healthy pregnancy and labour” assures Dr Priti.
Fact: There is no medical evidence to suggest that exercise causes preterm labour.
The more active and fit you are during pregnancy, the easier it will be for you to adapt to your changing shape and weight gain. It will also help you to cope with labour and recover faster after childbirth.
Pregnant woman who are diagnosed with high blood pressure or placenta previa, may however, be discouraged from exercising.
Neena was very glad she had shared her list of ‘precautions during pregnancy’ with her doctor. She was relieved she didn’t have to follow them, and could instead go back to enjoying this phase of pregnancy.
This article has been written with inputs from Dr. Priti Arora Dhamija, who has over 16 years of experience as a fertility specialist and obstetrician-gynecologist. She has received training from the Indian Fertility Society in Assisted Reproductive Technologies and fertility enhancing laparoscopy.
Dr. Priti Arora Dhamija, MBBS, Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi (1999); M.D, Lady Hardinge Medical College (2004); DNB Obstetrics & Gynecology (2004); Diploma in Pelvic Endoscopy, Kiel, Germany (2014)
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