5 Secretly Healthy Foods for Pregnancy

Below mentioned foods are loaded with delicious flavors and pregnancy friendly ingredients, to keep you involved in this festive season. So go ahead mommy to be and indulge.

Melon with lime

Watermelon or other melon with a squeeze of lime

Watermelon is 92 percent water, so it’ll help you stay hydrated during pregnancy while also providing a sweet treat. And each cup of diced watermelon has 170 mg of potassium approximately. You can also make homemade watermelon juice by blending it with some fresh lime squeeze and strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Then just chill and sip!

Yoghurt with Citrus and Mint
The thick, creaminess of yoghurt feels indulgent enough to scratch that itch for a treat. Punch it up with orange segments plus a sprinkle of chopped mint for a dessert recipe that packs 11 grams of protein and less than 200 calories, plus a dose of brain-development–boosting vitamin C.

Buttermilk with a twist

If you are having a craving to take buttermilk, try it with a hint of mint, ginger and a pinch of salt. This remedy will enrich your taste buds with the boost that you need.

Munch time try raw nuts

Here’s another winning combo of protein and healthy fats. It’s great post-dinner, but you could also easily throw a handful into a plastic baggie for an on-the-go indulgence.

Tofu, fruit, and granola

A small bowl of diced tofu topped with 1 cup of diced mango and 2 tablespoons of high-fiber granola

Many types of store-bought granola are high in sugar and don’t have a lot of fibre. Look for one with at least 3 g of fibre per 1/3 cup serving and no more than 9 g of sugar.


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Tips for Moms to be to Enjoy New Year

New Year being around the corner, this is what pregnant ladies could do to enjoy the festive season.

  • Comfortable clothes Try wearing maternity clothing to avoid being uncomfortable while shopping for the festival. Wear something that will support your belly to make the shopping last much longer.


  • No alcohol: Enjoy a glass of something refreshing and sparkly drink instead of alcohol. Mixing up some of the ginger, mint and lime sparkler not only tastes good but sparkles your taste buds as well.


  • Stay hydrated: New Year could be tiring as you are out of your normal routine, so try carrying a water bottle and try sip in water every hour, because it’s hard to forget water if it’s in your bottle.


  • Take a walk: If you can’t fit in your usual exercise regime don’t forget that walking is good for you too. But a brisk walk with family or friends is a sociable way to maintain the regular cardio.


  • Stretch a little: Find time to stretch out with some yoga poses. Ten minutes of yoga can do much to make you feel more relaxed and energised. Sitting on the floor with legs crossed with feet beneath your knees, lengthen the spine and sit up tall.


  • Enjoy: Make the most of being pregnant and accept offers of help. Let other people help you carry the shopping and do the cooking.


  • Cook easy recipes: Being pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t host a party at home. Try cooking easy foods and keep your menu simple. Start your party early to avoid delayed night. Let your hubby help you with the preparations.

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Aster Clinic has been named the Best Medical Clinic of the year 2016 at the annual Mother, Baby and Child 2016 Awards. Aster Clinic won this prestigious award for their attentive efforts in refining patient care in the region.

The Mother, Baby and Child awards recognize excellence, and contribution of healthcare providers and other major entities that work towards helping mothers in the UAE nurture their children. They are the only awards of their kind that give mothers the opportunity to encourage and shape industries and brands that play a vital role in their life. Aster Clinic has won this esteemed acclaim solely based on the votes of readers of the magazine. The award was received by senior members of the Aster Clinic team.

Mr. Mario Pereira, Chief Operating Officer, Clinic Business at Aster DM Healthcare, expressed his delight on winning the Best Medical Clinic of 2016 and said, “Congratulations to all the winners across various industries. We consider it a great honor to be recognized and nominated among our peers in the industry and winning the Best Medical Clinic has made it much more exciting. This recognition is a great triumph for Aster DM Healthcare and a greater accomplishment and encouragement for all our staff and practitioners, who work towards providing highest quality care on a regular basis. Such achievements further motivate us to do better and inspire others to excel by providing exceptional patient care and the best possible medical outcomes. We are committed to honor our word of providing quality healthcare and will always stand by our promise, we’ll treat you well.”

Aster DM Healthcare has always focused on patient care and invested in the finest healthcare facilities to provide patients the best services which truly exemplifies their success. Aster Clinics have constantly maintained an efficient and professional approach by striving to make continuous improvements in their services and making innovative contributions that have made a lasting impression in the healthcare industry in the region. With the highest accreditations, Aster Clinics raise their own benchmark time and again, offering comprehensive healthcare in a customized and friendly atmosphere across UAE.

Aster DM Healthcare is a healthcare network with over 296 operating facilities across 9 countries, including 18 hospital, 89 clinics & 189 retail pharmacies. The organization has 18,750 employees including 2,035 full time full-time doctors as of October 31, 2016.



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Dealing with stress during pregnancy

It is completely normal to feel some amount of stress during pregnancy, primarily because of the uncertainty that might come into play the first time you become pregnant. But if the stress and anxiety become constant, the effects on you and your baby could be lasting.

When you’re stressed, your body goes into “fight or flight” mode, sending out a burst of cortisol and other stress hormones. These are the same hormones that surge when you are in danger and they prepare you to run by sending a blast of fuel to your muscles and making your heart pump faster. In fact, constant stress could alter your body’s stress management system, causing it to overreact and trigger an inflammatory response. And inflammation, in turn, has been linked to poorer pregnancy health and developmental problems in babies down the road. Chronic stress may also contribute to subtle differences in brain development that might lead to behavioural issues as the baby grows.

Here are a few ways to manage your stress and reduce anxiety at work and at home:

  • Practice saying “no”: Being pregnant is as good a time as any to get rid of the notion that you can do it all. Make slowing down a priority, and get used to the idea of asking your friends and loved ones for help.


  • Cut back on chores: And use that spare time to rest and relax, both physically and mentally


  • Take advantage of sick days or vacation whenever possible: Spending a day — or even an afternoon — resting at home will help you get through a tough week.


  • Try deep-breathing exercises, yoga, or stretching: These exercises help in calming the body and in alleviating any negative thoughts that may arise due to stress.


  • Get regular exercises such as swimming or walking: Being pregnant does not imply that you have to completely put a halt to any physical activities. Low to moderate intensity of exercise can have a positive effect on you and your fetus.


  • Do your best to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet so you have the physical and emotional energy you need: A balanced diet would generally contain 5-6 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, as well as plenty of whole grains and foods that are high in calcium – like milk, calcium-fortified foods, and yogurt – along with a variety of protein sources, such as pulses and legumes, soy products, poultry, and meats and an amount of healthy fats such as nuts and seeds.


  • Go to bed early: Your body is working overtime to nourish your growing baby and needs all the sleep it can get.


  • Limit “information overload”: Reading about pregnancy and listening to your friends’ pregnancy stories are fine — but don’t delve into all the scary things that might (but probably won’t) happen during your pregnancy. Focus instead on how you’re feeling and what’s happening to you now.


  • Join a support group: If you’re coping with a difficult situation, spending time with others in the same boat can ease your burden. Many women create support networks using social media or by joining groups online.


  • If you’re under unusual stress or feel like you’re at your breaking point, ask your healthcare provider to refer you to a therapist, who can better assess how strong your anxiety has become and what you may need to do to feel better. Listen openly to what she has to say. Getting help during pregnancy will protect you and your baby from unnecessary risks and reduce your chances of postpartum anxiety and depression.

The Aster Nurture program aims at nurturing, caring and protecting you, the mother, and your newborn baby from the time when you conceives till when your child is 5 years old. After enrolling in this program, you will be entitled to a range of benefits that will ensure that you have a healthy and happy pregnancy. The antenatal care package that you can avail of, contains antenatal group classes that aim to educate the expectant mothers about the various physical and emotional changes that occur during the term of pregnancy. Attending these classes along with other new mothers would give you a sense of support and help eliminate any negative thoughts that you might be harbouring. Furthermore, sharing your pregnancy stories with others will help you understand the nature of your stresses and the steps that you can take to reduce them.


Dr. Sejal Devendra Surti

Specialist Obstretician/Gynaecologist

Aster Hospital, Mankhool


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Foods to avoid during pregnancy

Prior to getting pregnant, women must ensure that they are taking the utmost care of their physical and mental health. The very first step in pre-pregnancy healthcare management becomes the consumption of a balanced and nutritious diet. A balanced diet would generally contain 5-6 servings of fruits vegetables every day, as well as plenty of whole grains and foods that are high in calcium – like milk, calcium-fortified foods, and yogurt – along with a  variety of protein sources, such as pulses and legume, soy products, poultry, meats, and an amount of healthy fats such as nuts and seeds.

Women seeking to get pregnant must also ensure that their diet contains sufficient quantities of folic acid. By taking 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid a day for at least three months before conceiving and during the first trimester, women can cut their chances of having a baby with neural-tube defects, such as spina bifida, by 50 to 70 percent. The primary sources of folic acid include leafy vegetables, potatoes, grains and liver. In addition to folic acid, a special vitamin compound containing vital micronutrients is also recommended as a supplement to a balanced diet.

However, in order to ensure that there are no complications during pregnancy, women should also avoid certain food substances. Listed below are foods that might be detrimental to women during the course of their pregnancy:

  • Raw Meat: Uncooked seafood and rare or undercooked beef or poultry should be avoided because of the risk of contamination with coliform bacteria, toxoplasmosis, and salmonella.


  • Deli Meat :Deli meats have been known to be contaminated with listeria, which can cause a miscarriage. Listeria has the ability to cross the placenta and may infect the baby, which could lead to infection or blood poisoning and may be life-threatening.


  • Fish with Mercury: Fish that contain high levels of mercury should be limited to 2-3 servings per week and cannot be avoided, as it is the best source of DHA. However, since high levels of mercury consumption during pregnancy has been linked to developmental delays and brain damage, eat up to 12 oz. (340 g) or 2 average meals a week. Seafood is also the predominant source of omega-3 fatty acids that are vital for neural development.


  • Smoked Seafood –Refrigerated, smoked seafood often labelled as lox, nova style, kippered, or jerky should be avoided because it could be contaminated with listeria.


  • Raw Shellfish: The majority of seafood-borne illness is caused by undercooked shellfish, which include oysters, clams, and mussels. Cooking helps prevent some types of infection, but it does not prevent the algae-related infections that are associated with red tides.


  • Raw Eggs: Raw eggs or any foods that contain raw eggs should be avoided because of the potential exposure to salmonella.


  • Soft Cheeses: Imported soft cheeses may contain listeria.  You would need to avoid soft cheeses such as brie, Camembert, Roquefort, feta, Gorgonzola, and Mexican style cheeses that include queso Blanco and queso fresco, unless they clearly state that they are made from pasteurised milk.


  • Pate: Refrigerated pate or meat spreads should be avoided because they may contain the bacteria listeria.


  • Caffeine: Although most studies show that caffeine intake in moderation is permissible, there are others that show that caffeine intake may be related to miscarriages, insomnia and increased levels of heartburn. Avoid caffeine during the first trimester to reduce the likelihood of a miscarriage. As a general rule, caffeine should be limited to fewer than 200 mg per day during pregnancy. Sources of caffeine include tea, coffee, soft drinks, energy drinks etc.


  • Alcohol: There is NO amount of alcohol that is known to be safe during pregnancy, and therefore alcohol should be avoided during pregnancy. Prenatal exposure to alcohol can interfere with the healthy development of the baby. Depending on the amount, timing, and pattern of use, alcohol consumption during pregnancy can lead to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or other developmental disorders.


Dr. Sejal Devendra Surti

Specialist Obstetrician/Gynaecologist

Aster Hospital, Mankhool


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