With more Indian women conceiving in their 30s, it becomes imperative for them to ensure they are fit and healthy to deliver a healthy child. Dr Mahima Bakshi’s latest book ‘Birthing Naturally’ gives women insight what they need to do to have a healthy pregnancy and a natural birth. In this exclusive chat, Dr Bakshi talks about pregnancy, changes in lifestyle and motherhood today.

NewsX: What compelled you to write this book?

Dr Mahima Bakshi: The current scenario where women following a poor lifestyle during pregnancy is leading to higher rates in C-section and premature or low birth weight babies, pushed me to do something to create awareness before it gets worse with coming years. It is important that we promote awareness as the lifestyle followed now is what will decide the future health of these babies.

NewsX: Above the age of 35, many women find it tough to conceive. Is a lifestyle change required and if yes, how much?

Dr Mahima Bakshi: Totally important, as women get older in age many issues like back pain, fatigue, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, etc, can affect the quality of their pregnancy and hence, the health of the newborn. Lifestyle modification will help in improving chances of conception provided both the partners follow it. Cutting down on alcohol intake, cigarette-smoking, hookah, losing some excess body fat, etc, would be definitely important for couples getting married at a later age or planning a baby in 30s.

NewsX: Today women choose to have children much later. How much does it affect pregnancy and motherhood?

Dr Mahima Bakshi: The pollution, poor eating habits, lack of physical activity, drinking and smoking, speeds up ageing in our body. And this also affects the hormonal levels. It becomes even more important to get rid of such a lifestyle to improve chances of conception. Even if women conceive under medication, sustaining the pregnancy is again another tough one. It’s the lifestyle corrected that will help in ensuring all goes well along with the medicines that are advised by the obstetrician. Also, a woman’s stamina lowers with age hence making motherhood more challenging by causing aches and pains in the body. This can also affect the bonding between mother and baby. Therefore, modifying the lifestyle is the only thing that will help a woman in ensuring that even if she is planning to have a baby at a later age, the quality of her pregnancy, motherhood and her fertility should be least affected.

NewsX: Often we hear of how doctors also pressure women into having caesareans. Comment.

Dr Mahima Bakshi: Yes, few doctors do prefer C-section but that is mostly when they see some high risk involved which is generally a possibility with women following a poor lifestyle or having issues with the baby’s growth which is again related to the lifestyle she follows. Therefore, doctors also find it very challenging. ‘Birthing Naturally’ will help women prepare for a natural childbirth which would also make it easier for doctors in the labour room.

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