Safe Motherhood #3: My Personal Eventful Birth Story Prt 1 – Before You Get pregnant

Lending my voice to creating awareness about Safe motherhood I will be doing a few posts on my personal eventful birth story and also share how women can have a safe journey through pregnancy and delivery by preparing ahead even while a single.

The beginning of my own story:

Whenever a couple decides to tie the knot or make a lifetime commitment in Marriage their families say prayers of fruitfulness for them. In Nigeria, you will hear parents and even their pastor offer prayers of twins and triplets if possible.

Often people prepare you for other aspects of marriage but no one talks to the couple about what to do when they are expecting a baby. No one would tell them how to manage the period of pregnancy. As a lady, my eating habits left much to be desired. Often I will only eat a little meal and then of course loads of junk food was the order of the day. I had no idea what this would later mean to my health.

When I got married to my beloved husband or Boo as is the trend now I was excited and happy. We were contented even though we both earned a meager salary. Our mothers will often call and ask how we were doing. By that, they meant, “are you pregnant yet?” My husband and I will laugh and tell them to keep praying and hopefully, soon they would be grandmas.

One day I started to feel dizzy and my stomach won’t just settle and the first thing I wanted to do was confirm if I was pregnant. We were advised thankfully not to take any drugs until we confirm with our doctor. You know newlyweds don’t know sometimes that when the woman is not feeling too good she might be pregnant. And so such a woman will assume it is a case of malaria or other mild illness and begin to take drugs that will end up harming her baby and herself.

The funny thing was that I went for a scan and didn’t go for the usual urine or blood test. There I saw my active baby swimming all around. I became excited and then the doctor conducting the scan said madam there is a little problem.

My heart sank. My doctor said my baby was growing with multiple fibroids around my uterus. I was scared but she allayed my fears that since it didn’t prevent me from getting pregnant my baby can still grow normally and be delivered safely.

And so the journey through pregnancy began. My first three months was unexpectedly not turbulent as I went about my normal business going to work and doing every other thing. Still, I wasn’t eating well neither did I register for antenatal care where I could have gotten the necessary information about kinds of rich foods for an expectant mother. Instead, I was eating things like cereal, cornflakes and no serious meals.

When my pregnancy clocked four months the battle began. I became very ill and couldn’t retain any food. You would expect that we would immediately go to the hospital but we were managing the whole situation at home. Our excuse was that we did not have money to go to a private hospital and the general government hospital was on strike.

I was barely eating for three months so it was not until 7 months into the pregnancy that I was able to feel well but my baby had not received the needed nutrition for his development in the womb. Finally, I was able to register for antenatal but rather late.

Wait until you hear about my traumatic delivery experience that almost cost the life of my baby and me in the next post about safe motherhood.

Lessons from My Story

  • Develop a good healthy eating habit now.
  • If you experience distress or fall ill during pregnancy do not stay at home, get to the hospital to see a doctor. A simple drip to help return body fluid I had lost while vomiting continuously could have helped to stabilize me. Also, my doctor would have prescribed something to stop the vomit.
  • Get medical help at a Primary Health center if you cannot afford the secondary or Tertiary government hospital. They are cheaper and almost free.

 

Before You Get Pregnant:

Now is the time to eat right as a single lady or as a couple who plans to have a baby. Your body needs to have all the necessary nutrients because in pregnancy you and your baby will need a double dose to be healthy.

Junk foods and sweets look juicy and feel tasty but they provide nothing useful to your body. Avoid them as they can increase your blood sugar level.

What to eat now that you are not pregnant:

  • Lots of fruits and vegetable – Carrots, Apple, Pineapple, Pawpaw, Water Melon, Ugwu leaf, Green(Efo tete) (Vegetables)
  • Dairy products such as milk, yogurt are rich in calcium
  • Foods rich in protein such as beans, fish, meat, egg. For Nigerians, if you do not really like beans, make akara and moimoi. These will still provide you with the much-needed protein.

Eat healthy to have a healthy baby. And seriously you need to be healthy yourself as a mother.

Know your health status before getting pregnant so that your health care provider can know how to properly manage you.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

 

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