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On the move,with feet up

I realised I was getting used to the special treatment unofficially allotted to expectant mothers.

Our flight was at 7 AM and the cab was to come at 4.45 AM to take us to the airport. At 1.30 AM,we were still in the office,which meant no chance of catching any sleep for the night,or whatever was left of it. But the excitement of the much awaited and much needed three-week break,to attend my sister-in-law’s wedding in Kerala,was a good enough reason to sacrifice a night,even though doctors advise nine to ten hours’ sleep during pregnancy.

But things did not turn out as hunky dory,alas! Dozing off the moment we took our seats,I got up as soon as the plane hit the runway. The speed and the jerks,even though for around 15 seconds only,made me feel sick as my stomach wanted to churn out whatever had been dished ‘in’ for the last 15 years.

The realisation that the long flight from Delhi to Kozhikode had two stopovers — in Mumbai and Coimbatore — and there will be a few more take-offs and landings like this scared me more. To add to my woes,my co-passenger refused to take my place by the window in exchange of his aisle seat,which I needed to allow myself some movement during the flight. As I cursed him under my breath,I realised I was getting used to the special treatment unofficially allotted to expectant mothers by all and sundry. I tried to forgive this one-odd exception,but only to change my mind a while later — much before we had reached Mumbai,my feet had swollen to double their size and had no space to stretch. Though the man did eventually move to a vacant seat,the damage was already done.

It was around 1.30 PM when we finally reached a hot and sultry Kozhikode. It was quite an effort to lift my feet and eyelids by then. The welcome I got at home had special warmth this time and the yummy Kerala food cooked by my mother-in-law was waiting. But nothing soothed my tired body as I felt cramps all over,which denied me any sleep throughout the day. My feet looked scary and I was advised to keep them up all the time.

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Things looked up a little after my sister-in-law brought me a tub of warm water mixed with Epsom salt for my feet to be soaked in,and India’s victory over Pakistan in the ICC World Cup semifinal lifted my spirits.

After a good night’s sleep,I woke up fresh the next morning and finally found myself in the mood to enjoy the holiday. The feet looked better,though the ankles were still swollen.

Away from my perpetual night shift in office,I have my evenings free here,which I use for walks,as prescribed by my doctor. There is also time for a proper breakfast. And the results are telling. Backache is under control — though it came back after the nail-biting India-Sri Lanka final forced me to skip the evening walk remain glued to TV like a couch potato — and constipation is gone.

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I usually hate to sit home when on a holiday and am ever ready to go out,but was not sure if I felt the same after a three-hour car journey the day before. The bumpy ride on the uneven hilly roads in the interiors of this North Kerala district,even in an SUV,was a stomach-churning,and very tiring,experience. It seemed the government in this election-bound state has only bothered about the highways and main roads to woo voters. I was worried as the cramps returned but tried to tell myself that though the population explosion figures in Kerala are much lower than that in other parts of the country,women do get pregnant here also and have to use these very roads every day.

More travelling — by train,road and air — is on the cards for me as we plan to go to Chennai after the wedding and also to any tourist spot nearby to have a quiet holiday before we return to the home-office-home routine in Delhi. Besides,some last-minute shopping is left to be done,which means more local travelling as well.

According to my doctor,travelling is completely safe during the second trimester in case there is no other complication in the pregnancy. As far as long-distance journeys are concerned,she says,air travel is the best because it takes less time. But if you are travelling long distance by road,my advice will be to make sure your sitting posture is comfortable. It’s better if you are on the passenger seat in the front. Place the lower part of the seat belt below your tummy and recline the seat a bit to allow enough leg space. Stop at regular intervals to stretch yourself,preferably after every half an hour.

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While travelling by train,you can always enjoy the luxury of taking a walk within the compartment. Just keep in mind to keep your feet up when you are on your seat,to avoid any swelling.

I am following the advice in letter and spirit. But one thing I am yet to figure out is what to do with the heat,which seems to have developed a special liking for me. Can’t depend on the AC for 24 hours,and hence,all I have been doing is praying to God to send some rain to His Own Country,which He did on Saturday night.

First published on: 04-04-2011 at 14:31 IST
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