Lying on a massage table surrounded by an array of aromatic candles and rose petals floating in several water bowls, the masseuse is working magic through her fingers on a young woman.
Massage done, the woman takes a shower and slips into a short white dress and a pair of golden pumps, pays her bills and leaves.
It’s not just another day at the spa for the young woman, a closer look at whom reveals a five-month baby bump. She’s not at an upmarket spa but at a Fortis Healthcare centre called Mamma Mia, which is being marketed as a one-stop facility to address the needs of pregnant women looking at something beyond traditional medical care.
The yummy would-be mummies of today do not believe in hiding in loose-fitted kurtis. Rather, they proudly flaunt the baby bump in outfits they get custom-made to suit their needs and taste. The trained staff at Mamma Mia not only pampers them — for a price, of course — but does so under medical supervision and provides symptomatic relief from conditions such as swelling, nausea, backache and carpel tunnel syndrome. What’s more, an hour-long session costs just Rs. 2,000.
“It’s a unique offering of medical facilities complemented by holistic services for pregnancy and baby care in a protected hospital environment. We support mums-to-be and new mums by nourishing their bodies, minds and souls in preparation for the arrival of their little ones,” said Anika Puri, chief operating officer, Mamma Mia.
Women who are aware know the benefits of delivering naturally, and hospitals are encouraged to provide them with options. Water birthing, for one, is making a comeback.
The centre has partnered with global evangelist Barbara Harper, founder of Waterbirth International, to train its staff to help women deliver babies under water.
Understanding the needs of modern day mums-to-be, several city hospitals have designed comprehensive counselling and training sessions for them, apart from the usual medical care.
Max Healthcare has printed a 100-page guide as part of its bundle-of-joy programme to tell everything that’s to be told about pregnancy. The Gurgaon branch holds special classes every Saturday that includes specific exercises, breathing techniques and physiotherapy sessions only for pregnant women.
“It’s a 16-hour-long training session that we divide into phases. We hand over a special ‘bundle of joy’ folder to women as soon they register with us. It has complete information on birthing and has been written by our doctors. There are also exclusive music CDs to sooth them,” said Dr Shaloo Verma, general manager, operations, Max, Gurgaon.
The hospital has a new wing coming up with theme-based rooms. “We have rooms with themes such as earth, wind and water. Instead of a boring menu, there's food of their choice. The idea is to make pregnancy a joyful experience for women,” she added.
Moolchand Medicity also holds weekly ante-natal classes and holistic therapies to help women prepare their bodies for a healthy and safe birth, services that are increasingly sought after because of women seeking support and counselling from experts outside their home.
If I have a negative pregnancy test after I have missed my period, does that mean I am not pregnant?
A negative result can mean that you are not pregnant, you took the test too early, or you took the test wrong. Pregnancy tests
vary in their sensitivity (how soon they can detect the hormone hCG), and you may not have given your body time to produce enough hCG hormones that will show up on the test.
Should I avoid and/or limit caffeine intake?
Yes. It's wise to cut down or eliminate caffeine intake. Studies indicate that caffeine consumption of more than 150 milligrams a day (about 1½ cups of coffee) puts the pregnancy at higher risk.
What are the food items to avoid during pregnancy?
The food stuff most likely to be contaminated with bacteria or heavy metals are the ones to be avoided. Those you should steer clear of during pregnancy include soft, unpasteurised cheese such as feta and goat, unpasteurised milk, juices, raw eggs or food containing raw eggs, including mousse, tiramisu and Caesar dressing, raw or undercooked fish (sushi), shellfish, or processed meat such as hot dog.
Should I avoid over-the-counter and prescription medications?
There are many medications you should avoid during pregnancy. Be sure to talk to your doctor about which prescription and over-the-counter drugs you can and can't take, even if they seem like no big deal.