What are the three most common health issues that affect new mums? Also, what steps can be taken to promote a healthy pregnancy?

Let me start with the second question first: A healthy pregnancy starts even before conception. Being an ideal body weight and getting regular exercise are important before getting pregnant, as is taking folic acid, 400mcg, a day at least three months prior to conception. Maintaining these habits during pregnancy is important, as is trying to minimise stress.

Now to answer your first question: A common health issue for new mothers relates to breast issues surrounding breast feeding. Pregnancy only lasts nine months, and labour and delivery could be 24 hours. But breast feeding is recommended for at least a year after birth. This is one of the hardest parts of being a new mum. Sore and cracked nipples are quite common, as is breast engorgement.

Post-partum depression is common but tends to go undiagnosed. When you are a new mum you are tired yet can’t sleep, may lack an appetite and have a lot of stress. You may also cry easily and be quite emotional. These are all signs of post partum depression. So many times it is hard to know if you are depressed or just affected by being a new mum.

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Bladder control and vaginal problems are other issues. If you just had a normal delivery, then your pelvic floor muscles have been traumatised by all the pushing. This can lead to loss of urine when you cough, sneeze or laugh heartily. Furthermore, if you are breastfeeding your oestrogen levels are low (to help you continue to make milk), which could affect other areas of your life. Consult an experienced gynaecologist who will be able to guide you during this lovely period of your life.

Dr Jennifer Kasirsky is consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Mediclinic Parkview Hospital. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.