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Health Tips
Stay healthy by reading wellness advice from our top specialists.

In a study that could lead to a new therapeutic approach to preventing premature birth, researchers have discovered the critical function of a type of mother's immune cells B lymphocytes in resisting pre-term birth triggered by inflammation.

These immune cells make antibodies to defend the body against infections, but scientists and clinicians have always thought these cells are rare or absent in the uterine lining and not important for pregnancy, according to lead researcher Kang Chen from Wayne State University in the US.

Chen's lab discovered that in late pregnancy, mothers' B lymphocytes not only reside in the uterine lining in both humans and mice, but also detect inflammation and uterine stress, which are major causes of pre-term birth.

These cells produce molecules including one called PIBF1 to suppress uterine inflammation and premature birth, said the study published in the journal Nature Medicine.

"This study not only reveals the long neglected function of B lymphocytes in promoting healthy pregnancy, but also supports therapeutic approaches of using B lymphocyte-derived molecules such as PIBF1 to prevent or treat pre-term birth," Chen said.

Chen's team performed proof-of-concept and efficacy studies in animal models and also filed a patent for this potential therapeutic approach.

Pre-term birth birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy is a major cause of infant death and long-term illnesses worldwide.

The baby is here and your days and nights are packed with action, somewhere there is also a burning desire to fit into your old clothes and wear those skinny jeans again. You can do it. NO DIETING all you need is common sense and patience.Let's start at the beginning.If you pre pregnancy weight was well maintained then 11-13kg is considered a normal and healthy weight gain during pregnancy. If you are overweight or obese, this is not the time to try losing weight. The weight gain is essential for the health of the baby, for its growth and development.
Post child birth it is important that you shed all the weight as it is associated with obesity and weight gain later in life, but even more important is that you do it the healthy way and patiently. You put it on over 9 months, your body has been through a physiologically challenging time, give it a break. Crash dieting, poor nutrition, inappropriate physical activity can be very seriously damaging to your health.

During delivery you lose almost 3-4 kg with the baby's weight, placenta, and amniotic fluids. The first week sees additional weight loss because off the additional fluid losses. The fat that accumulated needs to be worked on.

1. Eat everything

Stress of adjusting to a new baby may add to your weight so don't add more stress- eat when you are hungry, choose healthy and the weight will come off. While breast feeding do not restrict your calories too much, eat whole some foods that provide you with nutrients rather than empty calories.

Choose Whole grains like wheat, Bajra, and Ragi which not only provide energy to remain healthy and recuperate,but also fibre to add bulk to the meal and keep the food longer in the sytem. It also helps with constipation , a common problem for lactating mothers. Whole grains are a good source of a number of essential Vitamins, and minerals like folate and phosphorus which nourish your baby as well.

balanced diet
Adequate Proteins help heal and add satiety to the meal. Include good quality proteins from milk, yogurt, beans, lentils, fish, egg and lean meat, nuts and seeds. Sprouted and fermented grams help increase the bioavailibity of Iron , an important nutrient for post pregnancy nutrition. Nuts and seeds also add essential fats like omega -3 to help your new born develop a healthy brain and nervous system. One ounce of these makes for a healthy and filling snack.

Oils and fats are essential for everybody. Even if you are looking at reducing your weight, do not go on a fat free diet. It just isn't healthy. Eat mostly plant based oils like from peanut, ricebran or mustard ,they are good sources of healthy polyunsaturated oils.Desi ghee and butter are also healthy. All provide the same 45 Kcal/5gms, so enjoy the variety.

Whole fruits and Vegetables add vitamins and essential minerals to your meal . While citrus fruits add VitaminC, the green leafy ones add Vitamin A crucial for you and the baby. By choosing a fruit or vegetable for a snack you choose fewer calories, more nutirents and health

You do not need to eat for two people so choose smaller portions, do not skip meals. Traditional til ladoos and gond pinnis are healthy, so is desi ghee, by limiting the intake you maintain your weight and good nourishment at the same time.

2. Drink lots of fluids

it helps with feeding your baby. Water is by far the best fluid for you. It helps fill you up and research has also found that drinking adequate water helps lose weight. Taking a glass of warm water with meals is a traditional way of improving digestion, there by controlling weight. Milk is another essential drink it helps you get adequate calcium of good quality and protects your bones while adding proteins. Calorie free drinks like sugar free aam panna (no artificial sweeteners), bael sharbat, chaas, and traditional zeera and ajwain water all help in easing the flow of breast milk, hydrate, and keep you full.

sit and drink water
Breast feed your baby. It provides the little one with immunity and other numerous benefits. It also helps you lose weight, especially the fat from your body. While breast feeding the body uses fat cells stored in your body during pregnancy to fuel the milk production. This along with the diet calories all get used up. Also while breast feeding you can add up to 600kcal to your diet, but don't use this as an excuse to eat junk.

3. Get active

Exercise is an important part of reducing the post pregnancy flab the healthy way. If you have had a normal (vaginal) delivery and have been exercising during pregnancy, you can start light exercises after 2-3 weeks when you feel up to it. If you have had a c-section or any other complications during pregnancy then consult your doctor before starting out. Start with light exercises for your back and abdomen and gradually add aerobic and strength training as you go along. If you cannot spare 30min in a go break it up to 10 min at a time. Involve your baby in your exercise routine-You can lift your baby above you while lying down for strength training, taking your baby out in a stroller is a good exercise as is carrying him around. Experts advice feeding your baby before exercising to be comfortable from engorged breasts.

Exercise is also helpful in dealing with postpartum depression and relieving stress.

4. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep deprivation, common to new mothers, makes it harder to lose weight. Tiredness increases the levels of Cortisol, which may promote weight gain. Moreover when you are tired or sleep deprived, you may just not care about or feel motivated enough to do anything else. So nap with your baby, catch up on sleep and rest, so that your energy levels remain high and you are able to take good care of yourself to. The great Indian family is a support system you must take advantage of to stay healthy.

Motherhood is the most joyous time for any lady, so enjoy it. Do not be hard on yourself, it may take you 6-9 months to get back into shape whether you breastfeed or not. Loosing half to one kg a week is a good enough target.

Dr. Sushant Bagule
Dr. Sushant Bagule
BAMS, Pune
Dr. Tushar Dorage
Dr. Tushar Dorage
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Gynaecologist Obstetrics and Gynecologist, 5 yrs, Pune
Dr. Snehal Pharande
Dr. Snehal Pharande
BDS, Cosmetic and Aesthetic Dentist Dentist, 12 yrs, Pune
Dr. Bhushan Khedkar
Dr. Bhushan Khedkar
Specialist, Dietitian dietetics, 8 yrs, Pune
Dr. Neha Dhakad
Dr. Neha Dhakad
BHMS, Homeopath Family Physician, 12 yrs, Pune