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I found out about my pregnancy when I was in Mumbai. I was new to the city and had no family there. I was ecstatic and terrified at the same time. To complicate matters, my HCG count in the initial days was insanely high - so much so that every possibility from a mole to twins was considered. I didn’t think twice. I quit my job and went to my parents’ home in Kolkata. With my RA and fibroids, it turns out that it was the best decision to have made.
When I went for my second trimester check-up, my doctor suggested that I take a nutritional health drink. She didn’t say it was mandatory but said it could be beneficial for me, especially since I had RA and some complications in the first trimester. I am a complete cynic at heart and the first thought that came to my mind was that she was trying to endorse a brand and quietly pushing it onto me. Besides, I had the healthiest diet a pregnant woman could have possibly had - full of fruits and veggies and fish. I was doing my prenatal yoga, I felt healthy. So I didn’t see why I needed to have something additional. Whatever food I needed to have for my baby’s healthy growth, I had had. Since she didn’t say it was mandatory, I ignored her advice.
This was probably one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made. I never thought that those nutritional health drinks would actually help; in my head, they were useless products - I never believed in them until recently. In my last trimester, I found out that my baby wasn’t growing as she should have (her weight and general growth level was much lower than the recommended standards) - and my glucose level had also fallen. I was shocked to hear this. I had done ample research, followed every dietary instruction, so why was this happening to me? I had even had those vegetables I never liked earlier - just so the baby would grow well. My doctor told me that sometimes these things just happen. She asked me if I was taking the supplements or not. I lied sheepishly; I was mortified to tell her the real reason why I wasn’t taking it. She told me that no matter how many vegetables we have, we need these supplements as the nutritional value of vegetables has gone down significantly because of the chemicals used to farm them. My doctor advised me to have the baby well before the due date.
Then it was my sister’s turn to ask me if I was taking any supplements or not. I couldn’t lie to her. I said I wasn’t and got a good scolding from her. She asked me to take something immediately; she advised Mother’s Horlicks to me as she had benefited a lot from it. It has nutrients that help in increasing baby’s birth weight and also has other nutrients that a would-be mother needs for both herself and the baby inside her.
I only managed to have it for a week before my baby was born. If I had taken it earlier maybe she wouldn’t have been born underweight and tiny. My glucose level went back to normal within days of taking it. I truly saw its effects post-delivery when I started taking it regularly. My trauma hadn’t ended by giving birth to a tiny baby; in a week’s time post-delivery my milk supply was not up to the mark. Just by taking the nutritional health drink twice a day, it increased significantly. My baby went from 2.3 kgs at birth to 6 kgs in 3 months! Because this was so beneficial for me, I didn’t even bother to try anything else. So ladies, please don’t ignore this piece of advice and take it from the time you find out you’re pregnant!