Health of pregnant women
Immunity of the future mother
How to strengthen it?
Immunity - the ability of the human body and animals to react specifically to the presence in it of some substance, usually foreign. This reaction provides, among other things, the body's resistance to various infections, and therefore extremely important for its survival. The carriers of "someone else's", with which the immune system collides daily, is primarily microorganisms. In addition, immunity can eliminate malignant neoplasms and reject transplants of foreign tissues (transplanted tissues and organs). It is very important for a pregnant woman to maximally strengthen immunity and reduce the possibility of morbidity in the period of bearing a baby, since it affects not only her condition, but also the condition of the fetus.
Julia Lukina Physician-therapist, Moscow
What is immunity?
Nonspecific (congenital) immunity Is a system of protection, existing due to the same type of reactions of the body to any foreign agents. In other words, these are reactions that always develop in response to the ingress of any "foreign body" into the body, be it bacteria or a splinter. The main representative of nonspecific immunity is phagocytes. This is a kind of leukocytes (white blood cells); their main function is to capture and digest the penetrating agents, so these cells are also called "devourers".
Natural barriers (skin, mucous membranes) are substances that are secreted by sweat, saliva, salivary glands (contain a variety of bactericidal substances), glands of the stomach (hydrochloric acid and various enzymes), normal skin microflora - bacteria that inhabit the skin, mucous membranes, intestine, vagina.
Specific immunity is acquired as a result of the body's contact with the antigen. Antigens — крупные молекулы (макромолекулы), которые способны стимулировать выработку в организме антител и связываться с ними. Antigens могут располагаться на поверхности клетки (микробные антигены) or быть свободными (токсины). В ответ на попадание в организм антигенов вырабатываются антитела. Antibodies, or immunoglobulins, Are molecules of protein nature. They are produced in the body after the antigen enters it. Antibodies are also produced by various types of leukocytes (white blood cells) - lymphocytes. Antibodies bind to the antigen and neutralize it.
The organs and cells of the immunity system are scattered throughout the body - they are in the bone marrow, in the blood (lymphocytes), in the lymph nodes, in the spleen, in the tonsils, in the intestines; Clusters of lymphoid tissue are present in all mucous membranes, in the skin.
What changes during pregnancy?
The human embryo receives from the father 50% of genetic information that is foreign to the mother's body. The other half of the genetic information of the fetus is common to him and the mother. Thus, the fetus is always genetically "semi-compatible" with respect to the mother's body.
It would seem that in response to a significant number of new, foreign paternal substances (antigens), a huge amount of antibodies should be produced, but this does not happen with a normally developing pregnancy. This is due to the inhibition of immune defense factors. Some oppression of the body's immune forces can cause a predisposition to infectious diseases during pregnancy. This should be remembered - especially in connection with the possibility of contracting acute respiratory diseases: the body of a pregnant woman is more prone to these troubles than the body is non-pregnant.
Specialists distinguish two critical periods, during which future mothers are most susceptible to various respiratory diseases. The first - 6-8 weeks of pregnancy. During this period, the mother's body only adapts to the new state. Various biologically active substances developed by chorion, the precursor of the placenta, begin to separate into the bloodstream. They also depress immunity. That is why in the early stages of pregnancy, over 80% of expectant mothers suffer minor colds. The second critical period is 20-28 weeks of pregnancy. In this period, when the baby has already laid all the systems and organs, they begin to grow actively, while using all the resources of the mother's body, including those that went to ensure the work of the immunity system.
How to help your body?
In order to reduce the likelihood of respiratory infections during pregnancy, it is necessary to use all the means that help strengthen the body's immune forces.
Proper nutrition, normalization of the gastrointestinal tract
In order to maintain the immunity system, nutrition should provide the body with all the substances necessary for the normal functioning of the immune system.
The protein and amino acids influence the production of immunoglobulin A, important for immunity, in the intestine, such antibodies that are constantly present in the lumen of the intestine, "fight" with foreign agents that have entered the lumen of the intestine. The main source of protein is meat and dairy products.
Among carbohydrates, the main importance for immunity is the dietary fiber. They create favorable conditions for the processes of the immune system. Dietary fiber is found in vegetables, fruits, cereals.
Substances that seriously affect immunity are contained in fats. Therefore, you can not completely exclude them from the diet.
The daily diet should be balanced and contain a variety of foods. The amount of proteins and fats is introduced into the daily ration at the rate of 1.5-2 g per 1 kg of the woman's body weight. Carbohydrates, as the main energy source and source of fat, should not exceed 500 g per day.
Gastrointestinal tract is an important part of the body's defense system. The immune system of the intestine forms a significant part of the overall immune system of the body. Outwardly the intestine is a long corrugated "pipe" through which food passes. The intestinal microflora plays an important role in the process of digestion and the production of various vitamins. But along with food, harmful viruses and toxins enter the gastrointestinal tract. A healthy intestine is a barrier to harmful microorganisms, it constantly "filters out" the harmful elements that enter our body with food. Therefore, maintaining the normal balance of the intestinal microflora plays an important role in preserving the body's natural defenses. To maintain this function, measures aimed at the prevention of constipation, which concern many pregnant women, are important. constipation may lead to a violation of the intestinal microflora, adversely affect the production of protective immunoglobulin A.
To avoid constipation, it is necessary, even in the absence of urge to defecate at the same time, to go to the toilet. It is better to do this in the morning. This helps to form a reflex to defecation.
В рацион беременных, страдающих запорами, обязательно должна входить грубая клетчатка: овощи, фрукты, бобовые, зерновые культуры. Овощи и неаллергенные фрукты можно есть в любом виде и в достаточном количестве. Послабляющим действием обладают однодневный (свежий) кефир, простокваша, ряженка. Можно утром выпивать стакан холодной воды с ложечкой сахара or съедать банан, пару яблок. Эффективен для лечения запоров и настой чернослива с инжиром. Его готовят так: по 10 ягод чернослива и инжира промывают и заливают 1 стаканом крутого кипятка, закрывают крышкой и выдерживают до утра. Жидкость выпивают натощак; по 5 ягод чернослива и инжира съедают за завтраком, остальное — вечером.
Products that promote colon emptying:
- black bread with bran, whole grains;
- vegetables and fruits (especially melons, carrots, pumpkins, zucchini);
- dried fruits (especially prunes, dried apricots, figs);
- dairy products;
- vegetable oil.
Products that prevent bowel movement:
- porridge-smearing (rice, semolina);
- jellies, compotes of pears, quinces, blueberries, strong tea;
- astringent fruits (pear, quince, pomegranate).
A certain place in the prevention of constipation is given to physiotherapy, swimming, massage and motor activity in general (if this is not impeded by the duration of pregnancy and the state of the future mother).
Полезен и самомассаж кишечника. В положении стоя or лежа легкими движениями любой ладони надо «пройти» от правого паха вверх, затем провести ладонью выше пупка и спуститься к левому паху. Массаж может длится 10—15 минут. Его лучше приурочить к тому времени, когда появляется желание опорожнить кишечник, чтобы выработать условный рефлекс на дефекацию. В этом может помочь и введение в задний проход свечи с глицерином. Спустя 20 минут после этой процедуры надо обязательно идти в туалет, даже если нет позывов на дефекацию. Когда позывы на дефекацию возникают ежедневно, свечи отменяются.
Provision of vitamins, microelements
It is known that vitamins are necessary for the formation of immune cells, antibodies and various substances involved in the immune response.
Vitamins of group B помогают стимулировать деятельность иммунной системы во время стресса (беременность саму по себе принято считать стрессом), после операции or травмы.
Admission of multivitamins containing vitamins A, C, D, E, B6, helps to strengthen the immune system and prevent catarrhal viral diseases.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) increases the activity of macrophages (eater cells) in the fight against infectious agents.
Of the trace elements, zinc, iron, selenium and iodine are of particular importance for the immune system.
Zinc is associated with the function of the thymus gland and is involved in the maturation of so-called T-lymphocytes. The lack of iron and selenium leads to suppression of immunity and promotes the penetration of viral infections into the body. Iodine also helps the immune system to resist viral infections.
Thus, an important part of prevention of acute respiratory disease and influenza during the season of increased morbidity is the intake of vitamin-mineral complexes. I must say that taking these drugs should become an integral part of the lifestyle of pregnant women, not only in connection with the prevention of respiratory diseases, but also to provide the necessary substances for a growing body.
Immunomodulators are substances that promote the activation of the immune system. These include:
- Garlic and preparations based on it, the simplest is natural garlic in the form of inhalations; it can be kept chopped on a saucer in the room, so you will inhale the phytoncides of garlic;
- Bee pollen, propolis, royal jelly - это продукты пчеловодства, которые во время беременности следует использовать с осторожностью or не использовать вовсе, так как они могут вызвать аллергические реакции, сформировать аллергическую предрасположенность у малыша.
I must say that such traditional immunostimulants, as preparations of echinacea, eleutherococcus and magnolia vine, are not recommended during pregnancy.
For a future mother, a comfortable regime of the day is important with enough time for rest, exercise. A huge role for maintaining the immune system is enough sleep. The total duration of sleep during pregnancy should be 8-10 hours per day. The best body rest and gain strength from 9 pm, so you need to try to go to bed as early as possible.
It is known that active physical exercises in the fresh air strengthen the natural defenses of the body, increasing the margin of its strength. Immunity strengthens all kinds of physical exercises: swimming, gymnastics, etc., but with reasonable physical activity. Exercise to exhaustion - to the detriment of immunity, and even pregnancy. It is useful to walk (in comfortable shoes), exercise gymnastics, corresponding to the period of pregnancy and the initial fitness of a woman.
The organism perceives hardening procedures as stress, at the same time the work of the whole system of immunity is activated, the resistance of the organism to unfavorable environmental factors is developed. Of course, it is not necessary during pregnancy to master such extreme hardening procedures as bathing in the hole, but rubbing, contrasting douches of hands and feet will benefit the future mother.
Wiping is the softest means of hardening with water. A well-pressed wet towel is wiped off the entire body in such a sequence: hands, then - neck, chest, back and at the end - legs. Important direction of wiping: hands and feet - from the fingers to the forearms and thigh. The shoulders and back are massaged from the periphery to the center. Initially, the towel should be soaked in water at room temperature, then gradually reduce the temperature, bringing it to 10-12 ° C.
Contrasting baths for hands and feet are useful. Prepare two basins: with hot water (temperature - 38-40 ° C) and cold (28-30 ° C). Every five days, reduce the temperature of cold water by one degree. The ideal temperature for healthy women is 10-12 ° C.
Lower your legs and hands into hot water for half a minute, then - in the cold - for 10-15 seconds. Repeat this procedure 3-4 times. Then dry your feet and hands with a cotton towel, rub out the soles and hands with a rough "prickly" dry washcloth and put on soft socks.
Water hardening procedures can not be performed before bedtime and immediately after awakening. They are desirable during the day when the body is active. Water hardening can not be abused, the ideal norm is one procedure a day. It is strictly forbidden to start immediately with cold water. The duration of the procedures should not exceed 1.5-2.5 minutes. Wiping, dousing should be done daily. It is useful after the water procedures to rub the body with a towel until noticeable redness. You should feel that the skin is completely warmed up. Before water procedures it is recommended to walk on the floor barefoot for at least 10-15 minutes and do gymnastics.
Chilliness, blue, "goose" skin - an indication that this procedure does not suit you. In this case, it is worth choosing a more gentle temperature regime.
Since most of the day we still spend indoors (at work and at home), we need to worry about the climate of the premises helping the immune system cope with bacteria and viruses that can penetrate the mum through the upper respiratory tract. For this we recommend the following:
- wet cleaning of the premises - at work 1 time per day, at home - 1 -2 times a week;
- airing the room, especially at bedtime;
- use of climatic equipment - cleaners and humidifiers, ionizers (these devices produce ozone, which has a bactericidal effect), especially if the room is air-conditioned.
Women, whose pregnancy passes in a calm and joyful environment, are much less likely to get sick than those who experience psychological discomfort during this period. Therefore, when thinking about strengthening the immune system, do not forget about your own psychological comfort. Remember: laughter raises not only the mood, but also your immune status.