Pregnancy is a particularly trying time when a million questions haunt a pregnant woman’s mind. To add to this, there are so many misconceptions surrounding it, especially in our country. Sonali Shivlani, an Internationally Certified Pregnancy, Lactation and Child Nutrition Counsellor, answers some of the most frequently asked questions on the subject. 

Why is it important to take special care during pregnancy? How do a woman’s choices during this phase affect her and her child?

Pregnancy is the foundation period and is the start of life for your baby. Care taken during the pre conception and pregnancy period can actually impact the life of a human being. Having said that we do not consider that pregnancy is an illness. It is a very normal phase of life and should be treated thus. Simple changes like eating healthy, keeping active throughout the day are the most important. Your fitness levels determine the fitness levels of your baby. Keep yourself happy and stress free. Normal stress is good. Abnormal stress which makes you sad and unhappy should be avoided. Finally try to stay away from chemicals and chemical products as these can impact the development of your new-born. Always ensure that you keep your doctor’s appointments. Your prenatal checkups are your window into the womb and they help detect any issues early and can be corrected in most cases. 

How should one’s diet and eating habits change during pregnancy?

It is a popular misconception that a pregnant woman should eat for two. However this is technically not true. Remember that a baby even at full term weighs only around three kilos. You need to increase your calorie consumption only by about 500 calories daily. Just two slices of bread, a glass of milk and an extra fruit per day are enough to complete that requirement.

You must also remember that there are various hormonal changes and food gets digested more slowly. So eat small meals. The baby needs to be fed constantly so eat every two to three hours. Small mini-meals can help prevent common pregnancy complaints like acidity, nausea and that bloated feeling.

 The first trimester is a particularly difficult time for a pregnant woman. Her nutrition usually suffers due to morning sickness and associated nausea. How can she deal with it?

Morning sickness is due to normal hormonal changes. Some women do not get it at all and others complain of it all through the pregnancy. But in most cases women will see relief after the first trimester. Fortunately the body has reserves, so if nutrition is not optimum the baby is not compromised. If the mother cannot eat anything at all, then she should consult her doctor. She can have smaller meals, small slivers of ginger, and dry toast or biscuits with every mini meal. 

How can the spouse and family members help a pregnant woman face all the challenges of pregnancy?

Pregnancy is a wonderful time but physical and emotional changes can make it very demanding on the mother to be. Support from family members and spouse can go a long way in making her feel comfortable. Spouses can help by being regular with doctor’s visits, prenatal classes and helping around the house. If there is an older child, the spouse and family can help take care of him/her. Listening to the mother-to-be and assuring her of love and support is also very helpful. Family members can offer support by helping with chores and not being critical. Supporting the mom in choices she makes especially regarding her birth preferences and not being over bearing on the subject is also important.

You can meet Sonali Shivlani, Effath Yasmin and Dr Zinal Unadkat, experts in the field of pre- and ante-natal counseling at an enlightening prenatal workshop ‘Baby on Board organized by DNA on the 10th of February at Hotel Courtyard Marriot, Andheri East, Mumbai. To get invited, sms DNA PN <your name> <location> to 575758. Alternatively, send a mail to or visit

  • anu

    Hi…I am 30 yrs old woman trying for my first pregnancy. I am having mild fever just 3 before my period date. Is it a sign of pregnancy? Should I take medicine for fever or wait till the confirmation of pregnancy? Please suggest.

  • kanu

    Hiii ….I m three days late of ma period…on my fourth day of missed period …I am getting light bleeding just few spots..but I tried home pregnancy test today and yesterday morning but it was negative .. what should I do

  • nina

    i m in my 8th month… i feel as if the child is shivering inside . i m regular go for checkups regularly… i havnt said this to my doctor as i thought it to b normal… but am afraid and bit curious why such thng happens… plz reply asap…

  • Biswashree

    I am 6 weeks pregnant, my all test reports are normal still my doctor advice me to take medicine i.e. Dydrogesterone Tab BP and Progestrone daily. After taking the same I have started with bleeding and spotting. So, please advice me should I continue with the medicine or not.

  • Bindiya Sharma

    one of my friend told me that if one’s periods are irregular these girls are might face the problems of fertility.
    Its been 1. 5 years of my marriage and we have not plan to have baby .. My periods are also irregular so I got scared if there might be any issue with my pregnancy when I will try to conceive
    Please Answer.

  • mana

    I hv pcod n thyroid..under gone many treatments bt ol failed.i had my periods on 29 last month n had my ultrasound on 10th this month which showed 19.9mm in right ovary n small folical in left.nw got my hcg shot on 12th.wat r my chances to gey pregnant. .m really tensed..waiting for replies!!

  • Suganyaa

    Hi, I am married and we just completed our first anniversary recently. My last Period was on June 4th ,2013. I am having a Regular cycle of 29 days. I am on my 44th day. But on 36th day, I took a HPT but that showed Negative. So, I waited for a week. Till now I didn’t take that test. Recently only I am feeling a sort of pain in my Nipples, and sometimes my stomach hurts and very little white discharge happens. It will be good if I sleep the whole day.
    Just tell me what kind of things I am undergoing.

  • sanket

    i and my gf had sex on 19th June, we had sex 3 round of intercourse, but the first round was unprotected. her normal period come around 18-22 of this month. and the same day after having sex she had i-pill.
    she has not got periods yet.
    should we go for pregnency test or it is normal case???
    please suggest..

  • Sonia

    Hi, I am 3 days post embryo transfer . This was our first ICSI. will I experienced any symptoms mainly with nipples ? last 2 days my nipples are very hard and little painful. during the transfer procedure everything was normal. Otherwise normally before my period I feel sore breasts.

  • gaurav

    i had unprotected sex wit my girl friend twice but i dint released my sperms both d times in her thn y is she missing her periods its a month now