Ask Amma

Posts Tagged ‘pregnancy’

Is it Necessary to Have a Doula?

In Yes / No on 26 May 2012 at 1:18 am

How necessary is it to have a doula in the delivery room?

mom-to-be in Maryland

You give birth, your baby comes forth into the world.  Strictly speaking, no one else is necessary.  But they can be helpful – if you need help.

I think someone who believes in you and builds your confidence is worth having close by while giving birth.  Someone who can give a good massage, suggest appropriate movement, positions, breathing, and other steps to reassure you and your family in times of doubt, pain and uncertainty can make an enormous difference during labour.  Read the rest of this entry »

Gestational Diabetes – what to eat?

In What on 9 May 2012 at 3:52 am

Dear Amma:  My doctor has put me on medication for gestational diabetes.  I have tried to keep my glucose levels down but it is very difficult – the other day I ate just a couple of spoons of potato and the level shot way up.  I get hungry all the time and I am running out of ideas for things to eat that will keep me full.

 – Eating for 2

Dear Eating for 2,
You know the drill:  Eat a variety of foods that are high in fiber, have a low glycemic index and are nutritious.  National Institutes of Health offers these diet recommendations.

To start, consider that whole foods tend to have a lower glycemic index than their refined counterparts.  Or in the words of The World’s Healthiest Foods,  “Foods that are white tend to have a higher glycemic index.”  So make sure whatever you are already eating is whole.  Your rice is brown, your bread is whole-grain or sprouted grain, and your fruits and vegetables, mung dal, urad dal, etc are unpeeled.  Want even more fiber?  Stir some wheat bran or oat bran into the batter you use for dosa or pesarottu.

Next, try to diversify your grain basket, with barley, ragi and other varieties of millets, oats, and quinoa.  Kamut and amaranth (राजगिरा or चौलाई) are available puffed, for easy snacking.

Let’s not forget omega-3 fatty acids, found in a variety of vegetables and notably in flax seeds, walnuts and their oils.  Your entire family will benefit from these improvements, and baby will be used to a healthy, diverse, whole foods diet from the start!  Note that flax seeds are so small that you have to take care to chew them. If you don’t they may pass through undigested.  If you grind your flax seed, you should eat it the same day – or within a few days if you refrigerate it.  Ground flax seed makes a decent dip for idli, dosa, etc.

Though I did not have GD, I too remember hungering for new and different foods in the third trimester.  After eating one dosa I would still be ravenous, but not want another dosa.  Repeat with one hummous sandwich, one plate of vegetables, and so on.

One trick that helped me stay full longer was adding wheat germ to whatever I was eating.  I would add a spoon or two to my rice and sambar, or sprinkle it on bread along with a spread.  Stir some into a bowl of oatmeal or upma.  A tablespoon of wheatgerm contains 2 grams of protein, so a little goes a long way.

Are your idli and dosa whole grain?   You can increase their protein content by using 1 cup dal per 1 cup rice.  A treasure trove of recipes using several varieties of millets includes simple preparations like కొర్ర పెసరోట్టు – see korra pesarottu on the site of Earth360.

Looking for ways to eat oats?  Try Oatmeal Sabzi or steel-cut oats.  How about quinoa?  Here is a simple recipe for delicious quinoa upma.

Needle freaks my husband out – help!

In What on 9 May 2012 at 3:45 am

My husband totally freaks out on a prick of a needle. How can I help my husband overcome the fears of the labor process and help him gain confidence and in turn help me gain confidence?
– Expecting in Elkridge


Dear Expecting in Elkridge,
First and foremost, keep in mind that giving birth normally does not involve any needles!  So no need to fear.

To help me with your question I turned to newly minted Appa Arun in Gaithersburg.  He says:

I think there are a few things in play here.
1) Fear of the unknown – The best way to overcome this is to read about it and watch a number of videos and so on. This will bridge the information asymmetry in some ways.
2) You do not want your loved one getting hurt and in pain and bleeding and so on. But unlike other injuries, this is pain with a purpose which, in some sense, should be embraced rather than feared. If the mom and dad can make that psychological switch together, then the whole process becomes easier. If the mom makes the switch earlier and keeps communicating that to dad, that might help too.
3) Above all, you would be witnessing your loved one involved in one of the most beautiful acts of nature. And she is overcoming her doubts and fears, no small amount of pain, and putting in a heroic effort – you have your own child fighting his/her way out of the mother’s womb. It is a situation where you automatically get inspired and elevated and want to play a small cheerleading role at a very minimum. And the respect for each other as a couple grows manifold and the relationship enters an entirely new level.

Thank you Arun!  You are recruited as official cheerleader for the Appas of the Askamma community!

Want to talk to Arun, man-to-man?  Send a message with subject “for Arun” and Amma will pass it along. 

Whether your little one calls you Appa or Pappa or Nanna something else entirely,  Amma wants to hear from you.  Were you nervous in the labour room?  How did you cope?  Send in your stories for the next issue or post your comments online right now.

%d bloggers like this: