Monday, May 07, 2007

Article - Fitness / The Miracle of Life

The Miracle of Life!

The birth of a baby is the miracle of life.

“So, what’s new?” you ask.

It seems like an actual miracle today, to conceive and follow through with an uncomplicated pregnancy and childbirth. Blame it on “today’s earth” so to speak -- the water we drink, the foods we have (a lot of it junk), even the air we breathe. Blame it also on our fitness levels -- Not just in terms of lack of cardio-activity but especially the kind of lifestyle we lead, and the kind of work we do for a living.

This sedentary lifestyle combined with “not-that-healthy” diets is a common situation for most of us … this generation. The perfect setting for a metabolic mess-up! However, life goes on. It did for me -- A career and marriage happened naturally enough. Being overweight was incidental and hampered nothing. As far as starting a family was concerned, I imagined that I would just get pregnant at will, have a baby or two and move into middle age the same way in which I had “moved” all along.

Turned out it was only my imagination that was fertile! This was a real challenge with the stork giving me the slip!

There are various expert views on whether or not obesity affects chances of conception and safe pregnancy / childbirth. I personally had two different opinions from two experienced gynaecologists regarding my situation. One said I had to lose weight in order to get pregnant. The other said that if I was predisposed to being overweight, then this alone was not an impediment. Guess which doctor I went with?!! To cut a long story short, even though I went with my “supporting” doc’s opinion, the weight factor nagged.

Wanting babies is one area where usually, women have no patience. When the biological clock starts ticking, it is alarm time! “I must have a baby now!” Prayers notwithstanding, I put myself on a strict diet of healthy foods low in sugar… and an exercise regime of a brisk 45-minute walk. I lost four kilos in one month -- Four was and still is, just a drop in the ocean but at least, it was a start. Amazingly, those four kilos seemed to do the trick. Although still bordering on obese, my hormones kicked in and I found myself pregnant.

Smugly I continued with my regime, fine-tuned it with antenatal classes for stretches, exercises, healthy food, etc. the added incentive always being the mantra “it’s for my baby!”

Then, it was time to gain weight!! Here, even the most figure-conscious woman is anxious to gain weight, as it is a sure sign that the baby within is growing properly. Since I was on my ‘careful schedule’, I managed to control my weight gain during pregnancy and felt encouraged by my fitness levels. However, my past sins caught up with me! Six months into pregnancy, I encountered Gestational Hypertension. It brought prospects of complications and fears about safe delivery …too late to kick myself!

Nevertheless, life was kind – had a normal delivery and healthy baby -- my own little miracle.

Although this seems like an “All’s well that ends well” story, noteworthy is that excess weight and a sedentary lifestyle does more damage than we would like to admit! I actually ‘got away’ with the weight, as do many others. But we cannot fool our hormones nor our bodies. Too much is too much.

Moreover, when you are on the brink of having a family, it is best to introspect on lifestyle and health/fitness levels. After all, you have to make room in your body for at least another 12 to 15 kgs, which would join you in your quest for that little miracle.

Sujata Tarakesan.

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