Ask The Expert: Nutrition During Pregnancy and After Giving Birth

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Pregnancy & Parenting

Ask The Expert: Nutrition During Pregnancy and After Giving Birth

Last week, we had the opportunity of having an educational, interactive, and engaging WhatsApp Chat. Our in house expert, Esther Kimani answered a lot of questions on Pregnancy and Birth raised by mothers in the group. She supports and walks with parents so that they can fully enjoy the parenting journey during pregnancy, birth and beyond.


What should one avoid eating so as not to have an eczema baby? 

Eczema is a genetic condition that is passed on from one generation to the next and so you really control if your baby will get it or not.  If your baby does get it, you can manage it by figuring out the triggers and avoiding them to prevent flare-ups.


It’s been two days after delivery and I’m unable to breastfeed. What could be the cause?

It’s quite common not to have much milk depending on the hormonal levels. Baby is your greatest stimulator, keep putting baby on the breast to stimulate supply.


When is one supposed to start expressing milk after childbirth?

If your baby is breastfeeding well and is gaining weight well, it is recommended to wait to use a pump around 4-6 weeks. You can hand express or pump for comfort if you have excess milk.  Establish a breastfeeding routine before pumping and also prevent triggering overproduction. However, if your baby needs to supplement for any reason before then, it would be ok to express.


What is the normal amount of weight to gain during pregnancy?

Depends on what weight you are when you get pregnant. You should add a bit more if you are normal weight and less if you are overweight but generally, you should gain 1.5kgs in the first trimester, then 1.5 – 2kgs each month till you give birth.


When should one resume their workout routine after a normal birth?

You can resume your exercise regime as soon as you feel ready. However, start slow and don’t overdo it as pregnancy and breastfeeding hormones can affect your joints and cause you to get injuries.


How long should a newborn be exposed to the sun in a day and up to what age?

Right from after birth, exposing the baby to the morning sun for around 20-30 minutes.  This should be continued till the baby grows and is able to play outside, so basically till age 3 or so.


What causes blood sugar in pregnancy?

I guess you mean gestational diabetes which is a form of high blood sugar that affects pregnancy and is caused by the hormones that cause the blood sugar to build up in your blood.


Are salads really not allowed during pregnancy? Is there a reason for this?

Salads are ok if you prepare them yourself and eat them fresh. Avoid adding mayonnaise or creamy oils as they may carry bacteria that may affect your baby.


What can one do when the baby has colic?

Walk/ rocking baby, baby massage, swaddling baby, some colic relief drops, Keeping a food diary as the baby may be getting gassy coz of something in your diet, putting a warm bottle in baby’s tummy and getting lots of help from family. Hang in there it tends to clear after 90 days.


Are dates advisable to eat during any trimester?

Dates have some ability to soften the cervix especially when eaten in large quantities.  They are perfect to take in plenty when you are almost due. Other times, just eat a few just in case.


Apart from the iron and folic acid supplements, what other supplements would you recommend for a pregnant mum?

Actually, those two are the important ones.  For the rest of the nutrients, aim to eat a balanced diet from all food groups with lots of variety and you will be just fine. If you skip a dose, Please don’t take 2 the next day to avoid overdosing.  If you skip a day, just take one the next day and continue as normal.


Is it necessary to take supplements like Pregnacare during the 3rd trimester or the balanced diet just works fine?

Iron is one of the key nutrients needed in the 3rd trimester so you can supplement with that.  However, if your iron levels are good and the baby is growing well then you can continue with the balanced diet.


Are there some foods and fruits we should avoid during pregnancy?

Raw eggs, mayonnaise, soft cheeses, and undercooked meat.


How healthy is Naan to a baby?

If you do not have sufficient breast milk then infant formula is safe and a good option to feed the baby.


What do I do if I want to add weight or my baby to grow at 3 months?

Eating many small meals throughout the day is useful. Try and also add proteins and whole grains to most of your meals.


Is it Safe to drink coffee when pregnant?

A small cup of decaf coffee would be ok.


What causes cradle cap infection and how can it be managed?

It’s not really known but a theory is that oil glands in your baby’s scalp make more oil that they need to and this extra oil may cause dead skin to stick to the scalp. You can apply lots of olive oil to the area, let it stay for 15 minutes then use a jelly comb to gently brush it out.


What causes eczema in children and is it genetic?

Yes, eczema is genetic so a baby is born with it.


What causes all the teeth to be sensitive during pregnancy? 

The pregnancy hormones are usually the culprits. They can affect the way your body responds to the bacteria in your mouth leading to sore gums and teeth.


What can a first-time mum do to make her breastfeeding experience easier or more tolerable? I hear it is quite painful and uncomfortable if one is lucky to have milk that first day.

Ensure a good latch where the baby takes most of the areola in the mouth rather than just the nipple. If the baby has a good latch then it doesn’t hurt.


This was obviously a great and insightful WhatsApp flash chat and a way to find out the major concerns mothers in Kenya have. There will be another chat and we are excited to have you again next time. 


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