Anticipation is a major part of pregnancy. All parents wonder how’s their baby and whether he or she is healthy. Most of these things related to pregnancy can be answered with an ultrasound. It offers an early peek inside the womb and let parents know about the baby’s well-being and expected due date. Dr Neema Sharma – Director, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj – explains why the first ultrasound or pregnancy is special and other factors related to it. Excerpts:
Why is the first ultrasound or pregnancy special for a woman?
The first ultrasound is very, very important in pregnancy. The first ultrasound is a dating ultrasound as it confirms her dates. It is important to confirm her dates to prevent problems later, so it’s called a dating ultrasound, to confirm the dates, whether her LMP is all right, and whether her expected date of delivery is confirmed. Second, the first ultrasound will tell her whether it is a single pregnancy or a twin pregnancy. So that is why it’s very important. The first ultrasound also tells us about the viability of the fetus, whether the baby is fit and fine and growing well, first ultrasound will rule out any problems like, there’s a condition called H mole where the pregnancy doesn’t grow. So, all these things are very, very important in the first ultrasound. So that is why it is very important.
What are the first questions that parents ask during pregnancy?
So, I would like to divide it trimester-wise. In the first semester, the first question is what all I can eat? What are the things I need to avoid, especially while eating? There are so many myths in the families. You can’t eat this, that, it’s too hot, it’s too cold, etc. So yes, that is the first question the couple would ask us during their first visit during the pregnancy. So, what diet she should have, and what things she should avoid? The second question is what kind of exercises she can do. Again, in the first semester, the question is different and in the second and third semesters, the question is different. So, these are the two first questions that are asked in the first semester, during the pregnancy, and later on. Then, as the pregnancy progresses, the questions are different. But I think the first time, whenever the couple is coming, these are the two first questions what all things she should be eating, what are the things to be avoided, whether she can do exercises and whether she can have coffee or alcohol. These are the questions that most of the time we encounter during pregnancy.
What are the mixed emotions of a woman during their first baby?
See, pregnancy is full of mixed emotions. Some pregnant women are very happy, and they do very well during pregnancy, especially after delivery which is the postpartum period. But some women may have mood swings and irritability in the first semester, and then it settles down and then they are comfortable throughout their pregnancy. But there are some sort of women, I would say about 1 or 2 in 100, they have severe problems, they have a severe emotional outburst, they have mood swings, they have irritability. We have to refer them to a psychologist or a psychiatrist for counseling and for starting; some kind of medicine, so that they are more comfortable during pregnancy. And it’s very important to discuss mental health with all these women because mental health plays a very important role so that they have a healthy pregnancy and healthy outcome. The postpartum period should also be discussed. Postpartum blue is low mood just after delivery, which is very, very common, and it just needs some kind of emotional support from the family, and they do very well. But sometimes postpartum depression, which is very common, should be discussed whenever a woman is coming for a follow-up, we need to talk to them. We need to talk about all the mental health issues which can arise after delivery. And if it is there, we have to do counseling and we have to refer them to a psychologist.
How is the first pregnancy experience different from the second or third?
Definitely, the first pregnancy experience is entirely different from the second or third. Right from conception, throughout her pregnancy, and during her delivery, every time that woman is anxious, she has a lot of questions in her mind, she’s different, and she doesn’t know anything. For these pregnant women, we have to talk more during their first pregnancy, starting from the first semester. And as the pregnancy progresses, especially during labor, these women for their first-time pregnancy, need a lot of motivation. So, we tell them it’s very important for normal delivery to have motivation, stamina, fitness exercises, how the labor pains would be, and what will be the warning signs. So, the first pregnancy is entirely different for them. The first time, when they feel the movement, it is entirely a different feeling for them. They feel so excited. They start feeling movements and when they look at the first ultrasound, that’s a special moment for them. Many pregnant women keep the ultrasound films with them as a record. They want to take 3D, and 4D films and keep a record of them. And that happens more in the first pregnancy. In the second and third pregnancies, they are a little more stable. They know what all restrictions to be done, how diet should be managed, and what all exercises can they do. And they are much more prepared for delivery, especially for normal delivery, for labor pains, and they understand that the second pregnancy would be shorter duration, would be less pain, and third, definitely lesser pain and lesser short duration. Definitely, first pregnancy is different emotions-wise, and they are emotionally more invested. They say they are more anxious; they have a lot of questions and I personally want to give more time to the woman who was conceived for the first time as compared to second and third pregnancies.