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Maintaining personal hygiene is essential, and during pregnancy, it becomes a critical need. As central as having a well-balanced nutritional diet and regular exercise, a pregnant woman being extra hygienic is not a big deal but a necessary step for both the mother and the baby.
So, why is it imperative for pregnant women to take extra steps in maintaining good hygiene? During pregnancy, a woman's body undergoes many hormonal changes, which in turn can lead to vaginal discharge, excessive sweating, reduced lubrication, nipple leaks, skin irritation etc., which, when left as it is, can severely affect the mother's and baby's health .
Here are some essential personal hygiene tips you should consider during pregnancy.
1. Clothing And Bedding
It is very important to wear washed clothes every day. Cotton is the ideal fabric for pregnant women. Women in their third trimester should especially wear cotton clothes as it easily absorbs any discharge. For example, in the third trimester, milk secretion is possible so, cotton clothes are light and dry immediately. Washed clothes are essential as they prevent the chances of developing skin irritation and infections . Just as important as the clothes you wear, it is also important to frequently change your bedding .
2. Oral Care
During pregnancy, you must give special attention to dental care. Women can suffer from dental problems due to increased oestrogen levels which can lead to swelling and sensitivity of the gums. Along with that, elevated levels of progesterone can cause bacterial growth, which in turn can cause gingivitis . Brush twice a day to ensure dental hygiene.
Note: If you have any gum issues, consult a dentist at the earliest.
3. Breast Care
Breast hygiene during pregnancy is vital . In most women, colostrum leaks are observed towards the end of the first trimester; the breasts may start to produce milk weeks or even months before the woman is due to have the baby - causing nipple leak. Because of this, your breasts should be cleaned regularly, as damp breasts can quickly get itchy and unhygienic.
4. Skin And Hair Care
The hormonal changes can cause you to sweat more, and this increases the risk of skin infections . Add the added weight that comes with pregnancy, which can increase the risk of dry skin or other infections in the skin folds. Pregnant women should avoid hair colours or other hair straightening, chemical treatments as well during this time. It is also best if you use mild soaps and shampoos.
5. Personal Care
To prevent genital infections, you must keep the pubic area clean. Also, wash the area with a prescribed genital wash to maintain the pH level . Clean the bathtub or bucket every day before bathing to avoid vaginal infections.
Here are some more hygiene tips to consider during pregnancy:
- Wear cotton undergarments as they are light fabric and dries easily.
- Apply lotions/creams after bathing or showering to ease any minor skin irritation (dry skin).
- Maintain water temperature warm when you bathe because hot water may make you feel dizzy or lightheaded .
- Wash well with plain water and avoid any unnecessary products on your vagina.
- Trimming of pubic hair is advised over waxing or using epilator creams.
- Wash your hands frequently, especially before you have your meals.
- Choose a maternity bra with pads to absorb any possible colostrum leakage from the nipples.
- Avoid staying in sweaty clothes for long.
On A Final Note...
During pregnancy, women must take extra steps in maintaining personal hygiene. Wear loose and comfortable clothes, bathe every day, brush regularly and if you find yourself feeling uncomfortable, talk to your gynaecologist.