By Dr. Madiha Masood
Dear Sisters, motherhood is a priceless experience as it brings unlimited joy with it. In the beginning, going through pregnancy seems difficult but healthy habits during pregnancy help in managing it well. Here we are going to discover various ways to get through this apparently difficult situation:
Be thankful to Allah
Pregnancy is a gift of Allah. To be thankful and to nurture this precious human being created, keeping in good state of health and mind is important. Show your gratitude to Allah with these words:
“Allahummâ Lakal Hamdû Wa Lakash-Shukru.“
O Allah! All praises are due to You alone and I express my gratitude unto You alone (for granting me the honour of motherhood).
Eating healthy during pregnancy is important. Lets discuss in detail about the different needs of nutrients in the three trimesters.
In your first trimester (four weeks to 13 weeks), you don’t need more calories, but you do need more folate and vitamin A.
Multivitamins are a good source of these two and other essential nutrients. And lately there been a choice of halal multivitamins available in market as well.
Folates are the natural form of folic acid that can be found in some foods. Fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals, have folic acid added to them. To get more folate, have:
- salads with spinach leaves and beetroot,
- oranges or a small glass of orange juice,
- fruits like cantaloupe, honeydew or melon
Vitamin A is essential for the development of your baby’s organs, circulatory, respiratory and nervous systems. It also helps you to fight infection. Vitamin A from animal foods is called retinol. Eggs and cheese are good sources. Don’t have liver, which also contains retinol, as it contains levels that are too high to be safe for you while you’re pregnant.
In plant foods, vitamin A is found as carotenes, especially betacarotene. Orange fruit or vegetables contain betacarotene. Add slices of ripe mangoes, peaches and papaya, to your cereal. You can also make smoothies to take to work, or make your own soups with carrots, butternut squash or sweet potatoes.
In your second trimester (14 weeks to 27 weeks), focus on getting enough calcium, and Vitamin D, as it helps your body absorb and use calcium.
Calcium should be abundant as this is when your baby’s teeth and bones are starting to develop , it may also have other benefits, such as reducing your risk of high blood pressure.
Dairy foods such as milk and yogurt are good sources of vitamin D.
You need extra energy, vitamin C and thiamine (vitamin B1) in your third trimester (28 weeks-plus). This is why eating an extra 200 calories every day in the third trimester is recommended.
Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamin C as well as other vitamins and minerals, so they make excellent, handy snacks. Try tomatoes in salads or blitz up strawberries, citrus fruits, and kiwi fruit into smoothies. Vitamin C can be destroyed by overcooking, so try eating a few raw vegetables, or lightly steam or microwave vegetables, to retain nutrients. Carrot, celery, and radishes are ideal for dipping into guacamole, hummus or salsa.
You need extra thiamine in your last trimester, as it helps you to release energy from foods. Beans, brown rice and green vegetables are good sources of thiamine.
Drinking enough is just as important as a healthy diet. A sufficient amount of fluid will keep your blood pressure and amniotic fluid in range. And also combat constipation which is very common in the third trimester.
You should be drinking about eight glasses (1.5 liters) of fluid a day. Drink lots of water and juices that you like and don’t hesitate to urinate frequently as waiting for too long might increase a chance of infection. The fluids increased in body account for about 25 percent of weight gain; essential for supporting the developing uterus.
A pregnant woman should also drink lots of milk because Allah (the Al Mighty) has placed within it vitamins and proteins and many other nutrients required by the human body. If pure or raw milk is difficult for you to take, consume it in other forms like Lassî (curds), sour-milk, custard, yogurt, desserts etc.
Keeping the Posture
Sufficient rest is essential in pregnancy. Sleeping regularly should be accompanied with the right positioning. As Muslims we already are used to ‘sleep on side’ which was recently discovered as the correct sleeping position by research in obstetrics. Edema (accumulation of extra fluids in body) in pregnancy is not uncommon and to help specifically with this one needs to relax her feet by keeping them up every once in a while.
An active pregnancy is a good pregnancy. Praying 5 times a day and routinely performing other household tasks is highly recommended. You can also add some simple exercises for a good tone of muscles and to keep the blood circulating well. For some good pregnancy exercises visit Pregnancy Workout Videos at Materna. It is also important to walk a lot in the third trimester.
Going into labor can be frustrating as you feel helpless and the contractions are painful. Friends and family play an important role and don’t hesitate to ask for support from them. If you get into a conflict, apologize immediately and try to forget about the dispute. The mental well being of the mother during pregnancy, in fact even her spirit and perceptions during this state has a profound affect on the unborn child. Try to be as optimistic and happy as possible.
Remembrance of Allah
For a restless body and mind Allah’s zikr is the best therapy as the Holy Quran says:
” Verily in the REMEMBRANCE OF ALLAH do hearts find rest. ” (13:28)
Some good duas to recite during pregnancy are:
“Rabbi Hab Liy Min-Ladunka dhurriyatan-Tayyibah Innaka Samee’ud-Du’aa”
O my Lord! Bless me from your side with pure children. Verily You are all-hearing of the Du’aa.
“Rabbi-j‘alniy Muqeema-Salaati wa min dburriyatiy Rabbanaa wa Taqabbal Du’aa”
O my Lord! Render me as well as my progeny as establishers of Salâh and accept our supplications.
For more duas on pregnancy please visit Duas.org.
May Allah help you in this phase of your life and may we all be blessed with the best progeny. Being a mother is without doubt the best pride in the world.
About the Author
Dr. Madiha Masood is the mother of four children, two of which are twins. She has previously worked as an obstetrician/gynecologist at Lady Dufferin Hospital and has now undertaken the task of simplifying health issues in accordance with Islamic values.