Once a day some kind of proteid food may be taken, but this should also be eaten in moderation, for if it is not, degenerative changes will take place, which will manifest in some one of the disorders common to pregnancy. Eggs and the lighter kinds of meats, or nuts or fresh fish may be selected. Whatever kind of protein is taken, it should be as fresh as possible. Pork should not be used. With the protein, have either fruit or vegetables, and it does not make much difference which. No one could ask for a better meal than good apples and pecans.
Be sure to eat enough of the raw salad vegetables and of raw fruits to supply the salts needed by the body.
For the third meal have fruit. Cottage cheese, sweet or clabbered milk or buttermilk may be taken with the fruit. Do not take milk twice a day, for if it is taken twice and other proteid food once a day, too much protein is ingested.
A glass or two of buttermilk will make a good meal at any time. Dr. Waugh, who has had over forty years of experience and is well and favorably known on both sides of the Atlantic, recommends buttermilk very highly during pregnancy. Buttermilk and clabbered milk are better than the sweet milk. The lactic acid seems to have a sweetening effect on the alimentary tract. Sweet milk is constipating for many people. The buttermilk and the clabbered milk are not constipating to the same degree.
The use of fruit and vegetables has a tendency to prevent constipation. The only internal remedies for which there is any excuse are cathartics, and normal people do not need them. However, it is better to take a mild cathartic or an enema than to allow the colon to become loaded with waste. Constipation among eaters of much meat is rather a serious condition, for the waste in the colon of heavy meat eaters is very poisonous. The colonic waste in vegetarians is not so toxic.
Desserts should be used sparingly and seldom. They are not a necessity, but a habit, and if they are consumed daily they are a bad habit.
For the sake of the unborn child, avoid all stimulants and narcotics. Alcoholics and coffee should not be used. And it is best to avoid strong spices and rich gravies. A little self-denial and self-control in this line will pay great dividends in healthy, happy, contented babies, and there are no greater blessings.
The mother should be active, but should not take any violent exercise. Light work is good, but no mother should Be asked to do house-cleaning or to stand over the wash-tub. She should have the opportunity of being in the open every day, and of this opportunity she should avail herself. Why some women are ashamed of pregnancy is hard for normal-minded people to understand, for the praise of motherhood has been sung by the greatest poets and its glory depicted by the greatest painters of the world.
This sense of false modesty is responsible for much of the tight lacing during pregnancy. This is injurious to both the mother and the child, and is one of the reasons for various uncomfortable sensations. It helps to bring on the morning sickness. It is nature's intention that the young should be free and comfortable previous to birth, and for this reason a double bag is supplied between the walls of which there is fluid. The baby lies within the inner bag.
The tight lacing prevents the intended freedom, besides weakening the mother's muscles. It also aggravates any tendency there may be toward constipation and swelling of the legs. It prolongs childbirth and makes it more painful. This is too high a price to pay for false modesty and vanity.
If it is necessary to support the abdomen and the breasts for the sake of comfort, this can be done without compressing them and the support should come from the shoulders.
The skin should be given good attention, for an active skin helps to keep the blood pure and the circulation normal. Take a vigorous dry rubbing at least once a day, and twice a day would be better. A quick sponging off with cool water followed with vigorous dry rubbing is good, but the rubbing is of greater importance than the sponging. An olive oil rub is often soothing and may be taken as frequently as desired.
If there is a tendency to be ill and nervous, take a good hot bath, staying in the water until there is a feeling of ease, even if it should take more than thirty minutes, provided the heart and the kidneys are working well. Defective heart and kidney action contraindicate prolonged hot baths, but such ills will not appear if the mother lives properly. Under such conditions missing a few meals can only have good results. When eating is resumed, partake of only enough food to nourish the body, for anything beyond that builds discomfort and disease.
These hints, simple as they are, contain enough information to rob gestation and childbirth of their horrors, if they are intelligently observed. If civilized woman desires to be as painfree as the savage, she must lead the simple life.