It is possible only to give very general advice about food, as the mothers appetite may be capricious, and within limits should be indulged. It is not necessary to cat appreciably more during pregnancy than at any other time, but special care should be taken that food is nutritious, easily digestible, and attractively served.
Milk, butter, cheese, fresh fruit and vegetables, wholemeal bread, red meat, fish, all contain the vitamins essential to life, as well as the proteins that build tissue, the carbohydrates and fats that build up body substance, and the salts that keep the blood and the lymph pure and healthy. Foods to Avoid
Of these foods milk stands pre-eminent, containing as it does all the nutritive elements the body requires in easily digestible form, and in addition special properties conducive to growth and health.
While the expectant mother docs not require more food than ordinarily, she does require more fluid; water is best of all, but it may also be taken in the form of milk, cocoa, weak tea, etc. Stimulants are to be avoided.
In general, the foods to be avoided are the over-fat or over-rich, the highly-spiced and indigestible. While cream, olive oil, fat meat, etc., certainly tend to alleviate constipation, an excese of fat is harmful to digestion. This is a matter in which individuals vary greatly.
Most important is it that the mother should keep as calm and cheerful as possible, avoiding all excitement and emotional overstrain, not worrying or fretting. The mothers state of mind has a direct influence upon the unborn child, though the old belief that physical defects or blemishes in the child are caused by frights or shock received by the mother during pregnancy, has little or no foundation in fact.
The mother who is paying strict attention to what her doctor tells her to do and who is following generally the lines laid down here – getting daily exercise in the sunlight and fresh air, resting regularly, sleeping soundly, eating plain wholesome food, refusing to worry – is doing the very best she can for her child, and the results will be abundantly evident after he is born.
Not only that, but they will be permanent. When it is remembered that for nine months the childs body and mind are entirely dependent for sustenance upon the blood-stream of the mother, and that at a time when they are most delicate and easily harmed, it will be seen how vitally important it is that that blood-stream should not be poisoned or contaminated – by indigestion, constipation, worry – but should be as pure and wholesome as healthy, active living can make it.
The healthier and happior the mother during pregnancy, the stronger, less free from infant troubles, and happier the baby will be.
Chafing. Sponge the affected part carefully with tepid water, dry well but gently with a soft towel, and powder with boracic powder. A little zinc and castor-oil cream is also very soothing.
Cleanliness. Scrupulous cleanliness is the keynote of success in the proper care of the health of the baby; cleanliness of his body, of the clothes he wears, the room ha lives in, the air he breathes, the food he is fed with, and, it is very necessary to add, the persons who handle him and with whom he is brought into contact.
Directions to ensure cleanliness will be found in many of the articles in this section, and notably those on bathing, chafing, clothing, diarrhoea, eyes, food and feeding, nursery, perambulator, playthings, sunshine, ventilation and water.
Cleanliness has a twofold function; it is babys strong protection against disease – for wherever there is dirt there are microbes – and it is one of his greatest aids to comfort. Dirt always brings irritation in its train, and an irritated child quickly becomes cross, fretful and unhappy.