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Pregnancy Week Two: Healthy Tips And Habits

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Pregnancy Week Two: Healthy Tips And Habits

At pregnancy week 2, your body gears up for ovulation and prepares for fertilization. A few simple measures like staying at a healthy weight, cutting out alcohol completely, ensuring adequate intake of folic acid, avoiding excessive exercising can help improve your chance of conception. So can adopting relaxation techniques like meditation to cope with stress.

Pregnancy lasts about forty weeks but the clock starts ticking from the first day of your last normal period. During the first week, your body sheds blood and tissue from the lining of your uterus (your menstrual period). Now it’s the second week of your pregnancy – your baby hasn’t been conceived yet but you’re on the way. Conception could very well happen by the end of this week! Let’s take a look at how the second week of pregnancy goes.

What’s Happening With Your Body?

During this week the lining of your uterus which will provide sustenance and nourishment to your baby is developing. Your body also releases follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which triggers an egg to become mature. And on the 14th day of your menstrual cycle ovulation (the release of an egg from your ovaries) occurs, though it can range from the 11th day to the 21st day depending on the length of your menstrual cycle.1 The egg lives for a period of 12 to 24 hours and fertilization by a sperm during this period will result in conception.2

Factors That Can Hamper Ovulation

Here are some factors that can hamper ovulation which you need to watch out for:

  • Being overweight (a body mass index over 24.9) or underweight (a body mass index below 18.5) can cause hormonal fluctuations and interfere with ovulation.3
  • Excessive exercise can cause the release of hormones that negatively impact female sex hormones progesterone and estrogen which play a role in ovulation.
  • Stress can affect the part of your brain (the hypothalamus) that controls menstruation. If you’re under stress try to adopt relaxation techniques like meditation to cope better.
  • Unhealthy eating habits like repeatedly skipping meals or going on a crash diet can hinder your body’s facility to ovulate regularly. So make sure you eat nutritious meals regularly if you’re planning to get pregnant.4

Healthy Habits To Adopt

Here are some beneficial practices that can help you prepare for pregnancy:

  • Stay away from tobacco products, alcohol, and drugs as these can cause low birth weight, respiratory problems, birth defects etc. And keep in mind that men who smoke, use drugs, or drink excessively may also have problems with fertility.
  • You’ll need to be extra careful about medications. Certain prescription drugs, as well as common medications that you can buy over the counter, may be harmful during pregnancy. Please check in with your doctor before taking any medication or herbal or nutritional supplement.
  • Keep away from toxic chemicals and substances like rodent or cat feces that can cause infections.
  • Eat a healthy well-balanced diet. It’s particularly important to get sufficient amounts of folic acid as this reduces the risk of birth defects of the brain and spine in your baby. Your doctor may recommend a prenatal vitamin supplement containing folic acid, so do remember to speak to your doctor about this if you’re planning to get pregnant.
  • If you have any medical issues check with your doctor and make sure they’re under control. Conditions like diabetes, asthma, epilepsy and even your oral health may impact your pregnancy.5

The Ayurvedic View

Ayurveda recommends various practices and therapies that are to be followed before conception for the birth of a healthy baby:

1. Detox With Panchakarma

Panchakarma uses various techniques like oleation therapy (snehan), sudation (swedan), emesis (vaman), therapeutic enemas (basti) etc to detoxify the body. These are considered to be useful in preparing your body for pregnancy.

2. Follow A Healthy Diet

Ayurveda also places an emphasis on having a healthy wholesome diet while you’re trying to get pregnant. It advises both partners to follow a sattvic diet for at least three months prior to conception. A sattvic diet incorporates fruits, vegetables, sprouted grains, nuts, roots, tuber, honey, milk, and curd. It is considered to be good for both the body and the mind and supposed to improve health, longevity, power, wisdom, and happiness. 6 Black gram (which is said to strengthen the body and improve immunity) and sesame oil (which is said to regularize menstruation) are considered to be especially beneficial for women during this time. While green vegetables, fruits, cereals, milk, ghee, and dates are considered to be nourishing for the male partner.

3. Try Yoga

Get into the habit of practicing yoga if you’re planning on getting pregnant. According to research, practicing yoga during pregnancy can improve the birth weight of the baby, lower the chance of preterm labor, and reduce complications like isolated intrauterine growth retardation and pregnancy induced hypertension.7 Asanas like mountain pose (where you sit cross legged and raise your arms upwards to press your palms together) or bound ankle pose (where you sit with your legs outstretched and then fold them inwards so that the soles of your feet touch each other) are considered to be beneficial at this time. But do take care to check in with your doctor before you start any new exercise regimen during this time.

4. Practice Pranayam

Pranayam uses breathing techniques (like deep inhalations and exhalations) to help you relax and promote emotional stability. It might also be a useful technique when you go into labor. But do take care to start pranayam exercises gradually during pregnancy and avoid forceful breathing or retentions of breath. One simple technique that you can try involves breathing through alternative nostrils by blocking one nostril at a time. It might also be a good idea to get the help of a trained practitioner to guide you through this practice.8

5. Try Chanting

Ayurveda also recommends the chanting of mantras during pregnancy. It is considered to be relaxing for the mother and also beneficial for the growing baby.9

References   [ + ]

1. Pregnancy Week 1 & 2. American Pregnancy Association.
2. Pregnancy Calendar Week 2. The Nemours Foundation.
3. Weight, fertility and pregnancy health. Department of Health & Human Services.
4. Conceiving a baby. Department of Health & Human Services.
5. Preconception health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
6. Singh, R. B., K. K. Reddy, Jan Fedacko, Fabien De Meester, Agnieszka Wilczynska, and D. W. Wilson. “Ancient Concepts of Nutrition and the Diet in Huntergatherers.” Open Nutra J 4 (2011): 130-5.
7. Narendran, Shamanthakamani, Raghuram Nagarathna, Vivek Narendran, Sulochana Gunasheela, and Hongasandra Rama Rao Nagendra. “Efficacy of yoga on pregnancy outcome.” Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine 11, no. 2 (2005): 237-244.
8. MUÑOZ, MARIA ISABEL ROJAS. “Pregnancy a Mystical Expression.” Image 1 (2016): 13.
9. Patil, Veena Ajay. “Ayurvedic Modality for Supraja.” International Journal of Ayurvedic Medicine 6, no. 1 (2015).