Pregnancy and Feeding
If you’re currently pregnant or have just become a mum, there will be many questions that concern you. What things should you take with you to the hospital when you’re due to give birth and what furniture belongs in the baby room? Perhaps you would also like to know how to breastfeed your child properly and how to get rid of those annoying pregnancy pounds. We answer these and many other questions on this page.
ALL TOPICS AT A GLANCE
How to lose weight after pregnancy?
Your baby is finally here and you couldn't be happier - if it weren't just for those pesky pregnancy pounds. Many new mums struggle with the weight they gained during pregnancy in order for their baby to develop healthily.
Blood volume, water retention and your placenta account for most of the weight – these factors are put into perspective within the first few months after birth. But your body also stores fat during pregnancy to prepare for breastfeeding. Since your baby gets its nutrients from your breast milk after birth, you should definitely avoid radical diets.
On the other hand, there is no objection to gentle weight loss. For example, from the eighth week you can start with post-natal exercises, which will help you to strengthen your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles again. Then you can carefully start your individual fitness program if you want. Initially, this should not include jumping, but light hikes, yoga or swimming. If you include your baby in your fitness program, you will follow it more consistently because you will not feel guilty about spending time without your newborn.
A change in diet can also help you get rid of the last unwanted kilos. Try to avoid as much processed sugar as possible and include fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet. If your partner also gained a few pounds during pregnancy out of solidarity, you can motivate each other and share childcare while the other does sports. Together you will reach your goals even faster and have fun at the same time.
What belongs in the hospital bag to prepare for the birth?
About four weeks before the expected due date, you should prepare your bag for the hospital. Sometimes everything can happen very quickly and in the excitement important objects are forgotten. To avoid this, you should take your time in advance and pack your hospital bag in peace.
Then, when your water bursts, all you have to do is grab your bag and you're good to go. In this you should keep your maternity card and your health insurance card as well as the referral slip from your doctor, your ID card, your register and other important medical documents, as these are required by the doctors in the hospital. You should also pack a nightgown and comfy clothes as well as a bathrobe, hair ties and warm socks. Slippers are also a good option incase you have to walk anywhere. If you want to freshen up a bit in between and shortly after the birth, washing items should not be missing in your hospital bag.
It also makes sense to pack a second bag with things for your baby and partner. You can have your family or friends bring this to the hospital a few hours after the birth. In this second bag you can store a book, charging cable, nursing bras and clothes for your baby. As soon as you go home, you will also need a baby seat for transport if you are going by car.
What sport can you do while pregnant?
Exercising during pregnancy is good for you and your baby as it counteracts water retention and back problems as well as excessive weight gain. The rocking movements of your body also promote the development of your child, as they train their sensory organs.
But what exercise is recommended during pregnancy? During and especially after pregnancy, you should train your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles regularly. But you can also practice moderate endurance sports such as cycling, swimming or yoga if you enjoy them.
Due to the increased risk of injury, you should refrain from team sports, horseback riding, or rock climbing from the time you know you are pregnant. Also, be careful not to overexert yourself.
During your workout, you should be able to converse easily and your heart rate should not exceed 140 beats per minute. Breathable clothing can help you feel more comfortable during your workout, and staying hydrated helps prevent dehydration. Listen to your body during exercise and give it sufficient rest breaks for at least 24 hours so that it can fully regenerate.
If you have symptoms after exercising or are unsure which sports you can do before your child is born, your midwife can give you more detailed information about the risks. You should also discuss with her when you can start your post-pregnancy course and other fitness exercises.
What can you do in summer when you’re pregnant?
Sun, outdoor pool, ice cream - the summer months invite you to spend time outdoors and enjoy the wonderful weather. If you’re pregnant during this time, the warm months can also become a stress test. The ever-growing baby bump makes some activities more difficult for you and the high temperatures can cause circulatory problems.
To avoid these and swollen legs, feet, and hands, you can drink plenty of water and unsweetened teas. It’s also helpful if you wear airy clothing made of natural materials such as linen or cotton. Open-toed shoes can be very comfortable for you, because after a certain point you will no longer be able to tie your shoes alone. Feel free to wear them half a size larger than normal in case your feet do swell. During lunchtime, you should also retreat to the shade and wear a hat, as the hormonal changes make your skin more susceptible to pigment spots. Sun protection is therefore also mandatory. When it gets a little cooler, you can incorporate short walks or bike rides into your day or cool off in the swimming pool.
These activities help to reduce water retention and get your circulation going. After bathing, however, you should change your bathing suit quickly to avoid a possible fungal infection.
In order to sleep better and recharge your batteries at night, you can run cold water over your arms before going to bed and hang a damp towel in front of your window. At high temperatures, a thin sheet is enough to avoid exposing your body to unnecessary heat.
What can pregnant women eat?
There are still some myths surrounding nutrition during pregnancy. Maybe you are also wondering what you can eat and what you should avoid. During your pregnancy, your energy and nutrient requirements increase by ten percent - so the common "eat for two" is not necessary at all. It’s much more important that you eat a balanced and healthy diet to provide your baby with all the vitamins, minerals and trace elements they need for healthy growth.
To achieve this, you can eat fresh fruit, vegetables and fiber-rich whole grain products every day. In addition, you can integrate dairy products such as cheese, quark or milk and lean fish and meat into your diet. Also make sure you get enough protein, folic acid, vitamin A and iron. Furthermore, iodine, calcium, vitamin D, zinc, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids contribute to the healthy development of your baby. Fats and oils as well as sweets and biscuits, on the other hand, should only be eaten sparingly. You should also reduce your coffee consumption to a maximum of two cups a day and avoid energy drinks. Instead, grab water or unsweetened tea. You should avoid raw foods during your pregnancy as they contain pathogens that can harm your unborn child. These include raw fish and meat that has not been sufficiently heated, as well as cheeses made from raw milk, such as Brie or Camembert.
Baby essentials: what do I need?
The selection of baby equipment is large and incredibly cute. Rompers, pictures for the children's room, dummies or cuddly toys - you can't get enough of looking at them. But what is really important for your child's initial equipment? You should get certain things by the 32nd week of pregnancy so that you are prepared if your baby is born earlier.
First you should decide whether your baby should sleep in an extra bed, cot or bassinet. For this you need a firm mattress as well as fitted sheets and gauze bandages so that your child can sleep comfortably. It also makes sense if you buy a baby sleeping bag in which your child will neither overheat nor freeze. The pram, a baby seat for the car, a blanket and a baby carrier ensure safe transport in the first months of life.
Since you will be changing a lot of nappies, you should make the changing area in the children's room comfortable and practical. This includes a changing table or a chest with a changing attachment, a changing mat and Muslin towels as well as wound protection cream, baby oil, wet wipes and not to forget the nappies. For the journey you should have a nappy bag with changing utensils and a change of clothes ready.
When choosing clothes, you should limit yourself to a few pieces at first, as your baby will quickly outgrow them. The must-haves include rompers, wrap bodies, jackets or shirts, pyjamas, hats and socks.
For a comfortable bath after an exciting day, you need a baby bathtub, a few washcloths, a bath thermometer and hooded bath towels so that your baby doesn’t freeze afterwards. For comfortable breastfeeding, invest in a nursing pillow, burp cloths, and nursing bras.
What do I need for the baby room?
The time has come - your baby will be here soon. Before they move in with you, you want to make the baby's room nice and comfortable. As they will sleep a lot in the first few weeks of life, the most important piece of furniture you should buy is the crib with a latex or foam mattress.
You two will also spend a lot of time at the changing table, which is why you should set it up in a way that is easy on your back. At this point, sufficient storage space for nappies and other utensils is important so that you don't have to look for them every time. To find a comfortable position for you and your baby when breastfeeding, you can set up a small nursing corner in the form of a rocking chair or a comfortable armchair with armrests. A wardrobe or chest of drawers should not be missing in baby's room. Although they are small and new to the world, they will already have lots of clothes, burp cloths and some toys that need to be put away neatly.
When designing the babies room, it’s advisable to choose neutral wall colours and choose furniture that you can use for many years. With pictures and decorations you create a cozy atmosphere in which your baby feels comfortable and can relax. Also, remember to install baby guards and attach furniture to the walls to keep your baby safe.
What helps against nausea during pregnancy?
As beautiful as pregnancy is, for many expectant mothers it’s unfortunately accompanied by frequent nausea. It usually goes away on its own after the first trimester. The reason for these symptoms is probably your elevated HCG level. This hormone is produced in the amniotic sac and influences the development of your baby. After the third month of pregnancy, the placenta takes over this task and the HCG level regulates itself again.
If you suffer from morning sickness, you can have a small snack like a rusk or an apple before you wake up to raise your blood sugar levels. Herbal tea can also help counteract nausea. Ginger in the form of tea, capsules or candies can also contribute to this. During the first trimester you should not eat too greasy and acidic food and only reduce the use of spices. Grapefruit, arugula, or other foods that contain bitter substances, as well as vitamin B6 sources like bananas or whole grains, can help you feel better.
Also, allow yourself regular breaks and make sure you relax enough, for example by taking a nap or going for a walk. In order to get rid of food smells that are unpleasant for you more quickly, you should also ventilate the room a lot. If you want to try medication, you should seek advice from your doctor.
What helps against hair loss during pregnancy?
During your pregnancy, your body is constantly changing in order to provide your child with the best possible care and to support its growth. You may notice increased hair loss. One reason for this may be your 60 percent higher iron requirement. You can also recognise this by the fact that you are often tired and have no appetite. Thyroid problems can also promote hair loss. Both can be treated well. Always plan relaxation into your everyday life so that your hair loss is not aggravated by a high level of stress.
However, it’s also possible that you only notice this problem after the birth of your baby - this then has hormonal reasons. The high concentration of oestrogen, which gives many women beautiful shiny hair during pregnancy, decreases again after the birth. This causes you to lose more hair. But don't worry, this is just the hair that you would normally have lost within the past nine months anyway.
After a few months, your hormone balance should level out on its own. With a balanced diet, you support your body in finding its balance again and thus getting rid of hair loss more quickly. You should also use mild shampoos and gentle brushes and avoid hot blow-dryers to avoid stressing your hair unnecessarily.
What pregnancy vitamins do I need?
In order for your baby to develop healthily, you must provide your body with the most important vitamins, minerals and trace elements during pregnancy. Their need is higher during pregnancy than usual, which is why you should adjust your diet accordingly. A sufficient supply of folic acid is particularly important, as it supports the development of your child's nervous system. Since it is already needed in the first few weeks, when you may not even know that you are pregnant, it can make sense to take it when you make a conscious decision to plan a baby. Spinach, whole grain products or soybeans also fill up your folic acid stores.
Furthermore, the vitamins A, D, C and B12 contribute to the healthy development of your child. Vitamin A supports the development of the immune system as well as the eyes, lungs and skin. It is found in egg yolks, dairy products and vegetables. Vitamin D is only found in a few foods, which is why you should take it from appropriate supplements. This is important for the development of the brain and the immune system and can prevent gestational diabetes. Vitamin C, which is contained in peppers, citrus fruits, broccoli or kale, is also of great importance for this. Vitamin B12 contributes to the formation of red blood cells and can be included in the diet via legumes, meat, fish or dairy products. But calcium, iodine and iron are also important for early childhood development, as they are responsible for building bones, developing the thyroid gland and supplying oxygen to the blood. You get these nutrients from sesame seeds, dairy, fish, legumes, meat, or leafy greens. In addition to a healthy diet, pregnancy preparations can help you to provide your baby with the best possible care.
How do I recognise my fertile days?
If you're trying to have a baby, determining your fertile days can increase your chances of conceiving. This is the period three to five days before ovulation and 12 to 24 hours after. Meanwhile, the male sperm can survive in the fertile cervical mucus, significantly increasing the likelihood of pregnancy.
You can use a variety of methods to determine your fertile days. By measuring your body temperature using a basal thermometer, you will get to know your body better. During ovulation, your basal temperature rises by 0.6 to 0.8 degrees and remains elevated until the onset of your menstrual period. After you have measured and documented your temperature every morning before you get up for at least three months, you can draw conclusions about the course of your cycle and thus your ovulation. With this variant, however, you cannot predict it, but only estimate the corresponding time window of your fertile days.
Another possibility is the calendar determination. In order to be able to use this reliably, you should document your cycle length for at least six months. Subtract 19 days from your shortest cycle - this is your first fertile day. Then subtract 11 days from your longest cycle to get your last fertile day. However, an exact prediction of your ovulation is also not possible with this method. With the ovulation method, you look at the change in the consistency of your cervical mucus over the course of your cycle. If it is liquid and creamy, sperm can easily reach the uterus. The most effective is the combination of taking a temperature and checking your cervical mucus, also known as natural family planning.
What should I consider when breastfeeding?
If you breastfeed your child, your breast milk will provide them with all the important nutrients that are always adapted to their needs. Meanwhile, the cuddle hormone oxytocin is released, which has a positive effect on your mother-child bond. In order to develop a good breastfeeding rhythm, you should initially breastfeed in a calm and relaxed atmosphere in which you can adjust well to each other. Initially, your baby's meals are spaced two to four hours apart. In growth phases, however, this can also be shorter. The length of time your baby needs to feel full is very different. If your child has doubled its birth weight by the age of five months, you can tell that they’re getting enough breast milk.
Make yourself comfortable while breastfeeding and take the time you need. By around six months, your child will begin to develop an interest in solid foods. From this point on, you can wean off in small steps and occasionally offer them new foods. During this time, you should continue to watch what you eat, as your baby will still get some of this through breast milk.
If eating porridge is already working well, you can also conjure up a festive baby-style menu for your baby on special occasions such as Christmas. For this you can use some foods that you use for Christmas dinner and puree them for your baby, for example in the form of a potato and carrot puree or a delicious semolina porridge with apple and cinnamon puree. This way, your baby gets to know new foods step by step and realises that the holidays are something very special for the whole family.