Ask The Expert: Pregnancy and Giving Birth - MumsVillage

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Pregnancy & Parenting

Ask The Expert: Pregnancy and Giving Birth


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


How soon after c-section delivery can one begin working out?

You should avoid exercises after the first 8 weeks to avoid any strain and allow for healing. You can then start light exercises like walking, swimming, etc and resume more intense workouts after 4 months.


What are the dangers of delivering a big baby (4kgs and above) vaginally (normal delivery)?

The baby is able to navigate the birth canal if you labour in positions that give the baby more room.  Your healthcare provider will continue to monitor you during the labour to see how the baby is faring.  As long as you labour under medical supervision, you can still attempt to have a vaginal delivery.


Which is the best sleeping position for each trimester? 

Sleeping on your side is recommended during pregnancy.  You can sleep on whichever side is comfortable for you.  Avoid sleeping on your back as this causes your weight to rest on your main vein that carries blood back to the heart from your lower body decreasing oxygen and nutrients to your baby.


Is it safe to have sex missionary position at any time of your pregnancy especially in the first trimester? 

The missionary position is fine as long as your partner keeps his weight off by supporting himself with his arms.  Great positions as your tummy grows are ‘doggy’ or rear style, the woman on top and side-lying positions. As long as it feels comfortable and his weight is not on your tummy, go ahead and enjoy.


Please give a simple diet plan for each trimester to boost wholesome child development.

Eat a balanced diet from all food groups that include proteins, starches, vegetables, whole grains, and vegetables in all the trimesters.  Pay special attention to food rich in folic acid like green leafy veggies, avocados, citrus fruits, beans, nuts, and whole grains.  Iron is also a key nutrient from foods like red meats, fish and poultry, beans, nuts, fortified cereals.


Apart from genes, what can determine a baby’s hair and skin? 

How you take care of it. You can help your baby develop healthy skin and hair by

  • Delay washing the baby immediately after birth to allow the vernix (whitish greasy covering) to get absorbed.  
  • Using moisturizers that help lock in moisture like shea butter, coconut, etc. for both hair and skin
  • Use gentle soaps and shampoos meant for baby’s skin and not dish or cloth washing soaps that tend to strip oils from baby 
  • Avoid overdressing baby to avoid heat rash etc


Can someone give birth through caesarean four times? I have already gone through C’s three times waiting for the four C’s but I fear a lot.

Yes, you can, generally, your doctor will follow the same incision they took with the previous c-sections to avoid you having too many different scars.  Please talk to your doctor about your fears as it helps to calm your nerves and consult them about your  recovery process


Are pineapples safe in pregnancy? Someone told me that it can cause miscarriage. How safe is it?

Small amounts are okay as long as you are not eating a whole pineapple. Avoid the core (the hard middle part) though. 


Is there a natural way of increasing the chances of multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets, etc)?

Not really although some studies have linked taking yams regularly as a factor.  This study was done in Nigeria which has the highest incidences of twins in the world and they do consume a lot of yams.


How can I make my labour easier? My last one was BAD as I delivered a 4.4kgs baby.I hear stories of women who have 2 hrs of labour and I am in awe

Make gravity your friend, try to labour in upward positions as it will help your baby come down faster, the movement too, think of making space for the baby, dance, squat, chackacha etc, this helps the baby rotate in the birth canal.  Before labour, go online and look for pregnancy and labour exercises as the better positioned your baby is before labour, the faster your labour.


What are the chances of preterm delivery if your first delivery was preterm?

It depends on what was the cause of the first preterm delivery.  If it is physical maybe your cervix is short and  it may happen again.  If it was more to do with other reasons, then its possible to carry the baby to term.  Your doctor will however keep a close check on you either way.


How safe is a vaginal birth after having a caesarean previously?

It is very possible and safe.  However, your doctor will do an assessment to determine if you are a good candidate for one.  He will evaluate the duration since your last birth, what was the cause of your first CS etc.


After how long should a caesarean scar stop being painful?

Depending on how you heal, you should not be feeling pain after 6 weeks, if you are, it would be good to see your doctor for an assessment to rule out an infection.


Apart from walking a lot, what other ways are there to induce labour naturally?

  • Sex – as sperm has a hormone called prostaglandin that helps ripen the cervix and can help you go into labour.
  • The pineapple core (the hard part) contains bromelain that does the same to the cervix.
  •  Exercises like squats and pelvic tilts, 
  • Massage and pedicures.


I am 36 with one child. I have been trying to get a child since last year but I’ve been unlucky. What can I do or take to boost getting pregnant before 40 and is taking Clomid safe?

Please see your doctor for assistance. Clomid should never be taken without medical supervision as the doctor has to first determine the cause of the delayed conception and advise you accordingly.


Is there a trend when it comes to premature delivery? Is it something that can happen all the time? Or each pregnancy is different?

Most times each pregnancy is different and does not repeat.  However, if mama has a physiological issue like a short cervix or an incompetent one then it may recur again.


What is the main cause of ectopic pregnancy, and one is still on family planning?.

Ectopic pregnancies happen when an egg is fertilized but it implants in your tube rather than the uterus.  Sometimes it may just happen, or the tubes may have some scarring or even triggered by the birth control.  Quick intervention is needed to save your tubes.


How do you help the previous last born to cope with the newborn?

Prepare the older child for the baby that is coming, allow them to help you with the care of the baby,  reassure them that they are still your baby, avoid referring to the newborn as ‘my baby’ rather say our baby so that the other one doesn’t feel replaced.  Spend special alone time with the older child so that they know that they still have mummy as their own


How safe is it to travel when 7 months pregnant?

It is safe as long as you take regular breaks to stretch and pee. Sitting for too long can predispose you to clots so ensuring that you stop to walk around or if in a plane, take walks along the aisle.


Since I gave birth 1½yrs ago, I no longer feel interested in sex like before. What’s happening? How can I boost my libido?

You have to be intentional about it, our brain is interesting, the more sex you have, the more sex you will want, so try and set up date-nights and even initiate sex more.  Eat chocolate, wear sexy lingerie, it will get you back on track


Is it a must that you have to book for a cesarean when pregnant with twins or you can just end up having normal delivery?

If the babies are well-positioned, you can try a vaginal delivery. It is quite possible.


How do you overcome the fear that comes with raising a child after a loss?

It is best to seek some counselling help to help you get over the fear. There are several organizations that may help with this. A couple of organizations you can reach out to via Twitter or other channels are Still A Mum and Waiting Wombs. They can also offer some guidance.


I had an episiotomy tear during delivery one that was not surgically done but it came upon due to the pressure. 


  • I noticed that during long calls I can’t feel when the process is done and I end up feeling dirty, thus using lots of toilet paper. Before delivery all was well
  • During intimacy, I at times feel discomfort in the above-mentioned area. What changes occurred? Are they reversible? Will this “weird” feeling go away and how?


It may take some time for the feeling to come to the area especially due to the sensitive nerves in the area.  Do lots of kegel exercises to help good blood flow to the area to aid in healing.  With time it does get better


Should we massage our nipples during pregnancy? If yes, from which trimester? If not, what are the reasons?

This is not advisable unless you are near your due date as it may trigger premature labour.  Nipple manipulation is one way to trigger labour.


What causes some to deliver big babies 5kg,4’85kg?

Most times this happens to mums with gestational diabetes but it may also run in families especially if the family have big or very tall people.


What causes excessive sweating in a baby, would keeping them light in a cold-weather get risky

Some babies sweat excessively and they are ok. Dress your baby in a way that is comfortable for them. Overdressing them may predispose them to cold as the sweat on the clothes cools and makes them wet leading to the baby becoming cold.


What can one apply to avoid stretch marks during pregnancy?

Keep moisturizing. It basically depends on your skin elasticity so you may not completely avoid them but you can improve their appearance. I call them the badges of motherhood, sometimes we just wear them proudly.


How safe will childbirth be, one-year post-delivery? For those of us who are thinking of not taking long with baby spacing?

WHO recommends that the spacing between children be 18 months, this is to allow your body to heal and build up maternal stores that will be used by your next baby during pregnancy.


Can one become pregnant without the pregnancy signs or get pregnant 2days before your periods?

Yes, you can be pregnant and have no signs. If you do have a short cycle, then the sperm may hang around and since with a short cycle you ovulate early then you may get pregnant.


How does one psychologically prepare for a second pregnancy?

If you have some birth trauma for your first baby, it’s important to deal with it. Otherwise, you can talk to other mums who have more babies to get a view of how they handle it as well.


What makes the cervix weak?

Physiological, that’s how it was formed, injury during previous birth or miscarriage, infections or previous cervical surgery.


Is it advisable for someone who has diabetes that also affects the unborn child to wait till edd date?

Diabetes must be managed during the pregnancy as if the sugars are not managed, this can lead to complications to both you and baby and have been linked to having a stillbirth.


Is it normal to be bleeding(only see blood when I wipe  (pregnant 1st trimester 7weeks) and I am using PROMIMBA GUMMIES and was given DUPBASTON because of bleeding but nothing has changed. I still see blood when I wipe should I change gynaecologist for a second opinion?

It is important to be monitored. Some women do need help with hormones in order to stabilize the pregnancy. The medication will help but keep in close contact with your gynaecologist.

What causes persistent back pains after childbirth? I gave birth a few years ago and I still experience intense back pain.

The ligaments in your body naturally become softer and stretch putting a strain on the lower back and pelvis. Try and do light exercises and yoga exercises as they do help strengthen and ease the pain. Good posture is also important. Carry your pregnancy don’t let it carry you. Back pain after delivery is caused if you are not taking it so easy. The ligaments and muscles loosen to allow the baby to pass through so it’s important to take it easy after birth.


What are the cues that show you are ready for another baby?

When you just keep thinking of babies and you forget the sleepless nights and the crying baby?,  Then you are ready.


What causes convulsions in children below one year? Is it connected to epilepsy?

Most times they are caused by high fevers, birth brain injuries or other causes that have to be investigated. They may or may not be related to epilepsy.


If you had hyperemesis gravidarum during the first pregnancy, how likely is it to afflict you during your other pregnancies?

Unfortunately, it is possible that you may have it in other pregnancies as well. Lots of support is needed to get through it


What makes one not to respond to anaesthesia easily (1-7th) injection?

Everyone has a different pain threshold, yours must be very low.


What causes high blood pressure, and low blood pressure in pregnancy?

High blood pressure may be caused by several reasons, being overweight, carrying multiples, family history, age (over 35) etc. It is important for it to be managed well to prevent complications.  Low blood pressure occurs as a result of more blood being rerouted to the baby, dehydration, etc and is quite common in pregnancy.


How should a caesarean wound be nursed in,4th week and seems septic?

Please see a doctor. You can keep the area dry and clean but if it feels raw and painful at this point, it may be infected.


How soon after delivery can one start exercising? I am 7months postpartum and experiencing backaches, any remedies I can explore other than painkillers?

You can start at 6-8 weeks. Exercise stretches, yoga are all good ways of helping you with the discomfort


If the cord is around the baby’s neck does that automatically mean Caesarean section?

Not really, a lot of babies do have a cord around the neck, your health care provider would monitor you during labour in case they need to intervene but you can still have a vaginal delivery.


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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