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Planning to become parents for the first time? Here’s the checklist!

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Becoming parents is a big deal and if it’s for the first time, there is a lot of anxiety and anticipation that comes along with it too.

By pursuing good health and proper nutrition before conceiving, one can increase their chances for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Dr Vaishali Joshi, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Kokilaben Hospital and Cloudnine Hospital Mumbai, shares: “Everyone is highly qualified and career-oriented and they want to decide when they want to have their baby. When you are making that decision then you should also decide when to have the baby because a healthy mother is a key to a healthy baby.”

With over 25 years of experience in managing early pregnancy problems, recurrent miscarriages and tubal and ovarian cyst problems, high-risk pregnancy with evidence-based medicine and thereafter promotes natural childbirth, Dr Joshi lays down various aspects a couple needs to keep in mind while planning a baby!

The ideal age to plan

Whenever you are ready! Gone are the days when the average age to get married was 20. Now as the average age of marriage has increased and women are getting more career-oriented, the right time would be when the couple is mentally and financially ready.

Ideally, a woman’s fertility declines after the age of 35 so the peak age of fertility and having babies nowadays is between the age of 27-32. Also, if you wish to delay you must also check with the doctor that how practical and feasible it is for your body and how much is your reserve for the fertility that can let you stretch or delay the pregnancy planning. That’s important. There is also something like freezing your eggs if not prepared at the right time. This will at least help to have your babies at a later stage even if your fertility declines with age. As the mother’s age increases the fertility of a woman goes down which is significant after the age of 35.

Visit a gynaecologist

Health is a priority and it’s always better to conceive naturally. Before a couple starts planning, it’s always better that they visit a doctor to see if there are any hidden health issues as not all the health problems manifest symptoms; like low haemoglobin, vitamin deficiency, thyroid or some hormonal imbalance. These are just some of the medical conditions that need to be addressed/tested by the medical professional or gynaecologist. Internal examinations or sonography is also carried out to see if there are any issues with the internal organs, uterus or ovaries. Sometimes women have cyst or fibroid, which can affect the ability to conceive sometimes, though not always. These are the kind of issues which one may not be aware of and needs to be investigated.

Medical conditions

If the woman has any medical conditions, we need to make sure that its safe for the woman to conceive. The conditions need to be under control, because if one conceives before this, the woman may develop serious complications. If someone is on medication like for instance has fits and is on anti-fits medicine or epileptic medicines then we would provide that medication with the least possible dose, rather than stopping the tablets so that the mother’s health doesn’t get affected; and at the same time she has a healthy baby. Such medicines can go across the placenta to the baby leading to developmental defects in the baby, the idea here is to protect the mother and the unborn baby as well and optimise the pregnancy outcome.

Medical insurance

While one needs to optimize the health, there are a lot of other factors that a couple/family needs to keep in mind like financial planning for the baby and financial security, health insurance and if it covers maternity or not.

Folic acid

It is advisable to start using folic acid to make sure that when you conceive the baby has an advantage of folic acid right from the time of conception because folic acid is very important for the baby’s development particularly neurological development.

Contraception

If a couple has been using any contraception then this needs to be discussed with the doctor as to how soon it needs to stop before you start planning a family.

Lifestyle changes

It’s not only from the treatment point of view but one needs to improve their lifestyle, exercise, eat healthily and have a holistic approach before they start planning a family because you want to give your baby the best. This is similar in the case of a pregnancy. If the lifestyle involves smoking, alcohol, pan masala, gutka, indulging in recreational drugs …it will have an effect on the man’s sperm count and the sexual desire like libido and hence the sexual act.

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Bill Gates is America’s biggest farmland owner

Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates owns the largest chunk of private farmland in the US across 18 states, a new report has revealed.

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Biz Billgates

San Francisco: Bill and Melinda Gates amassed 242,000 acres of land in the US, with the largest holdings in Louisiana (69,071 acres), Arkansas (47,927 acres) and Nebraska (20,588 acres), according to The Land report.

Bill Gates also owns a stake in more than 24,800 acres of transitional land outside of Phoenix.

Research indicated that the lands across the US is held by Cascade Investment LLC, Gates’ private investment vehicle.

“Gates also backs online used-car seller Vroom through Cascade as well as the Canadian National Railway Company,” Geek Wire reported.

According to the Tri-City Herald, a 14,500-acre swath of choice Eastern Washington farmland in the Horse Heaven Hills in Benton County has just traded hands for almost $171 million – part of Gates’ holdings.

It is unclear why Gates has invested so heavily in farmland, but it could be connected to climate change.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched a new nonprofit group a year ago, focused on helping small-scale farmers in developing countries with the tools and innovations they’ll need to deal with the effects of climate change.

Bill Gates is currently at the third spot on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index with a net worth of $132 billion.

But even with his big new agricultural holdings, Gates still doesn’t rank in the Top 100 private landowners overall in the US, considering owners of land of all types.

The list is topped by Liberty Media’s John Malone, with 2.2 million acres of ranches and forests. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos makes that list at No. 25 with 420,000 acres.

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Entertainment

An actor has to be an activist: Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub

All major political parties have their student wings in DU colleges and take part in the elections for a reason, he said. They all want to find strong young leaders.

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Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub

New Delhi, Jan 16 : Being aware is his biggest asset, says actor Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub who views his role as an idealistic student leader in “Tandav” as perhaps the closest a character has come to resemble the person he really is an artiste-activist looking to change society not just his life.

The role of Shiva in Ali Abbas Zafar’s political show has many parallels with his life as a student in Delhi University’s Kirori Mal College, said the actor, believing it is important for artistes to engage with their surroundings. Zafar was also his senior in college.

“It’s quite close to what I am,” Ayyub told PTI when asked whether the role was tailor-made for him.

Be it through his plays, his recital of late research scholar Rohith Vemula’s letter or his participation in the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests, the farmers’ protests or any other issue of the day, the 37-year-old speaks out. Making his presence felt on social media and other platforms at a time when so many are scared of airing their views.

“Being aware is my biggest asset,” Ayyub said.

“I get affected and strongly believe if I stop getting affected by things around me, I won’t be an actor. If I can’t be sensitive towards my surroundings in real life, how can I justify my character and be aware of my surroundings as an actor and character?” said Ayyub, who has a dedicated fan following with his impressive turn in films such as “Raanjhanaa”,”Shahid”, “Tanu Weds Manu Returns”, “Raees” and “Article 15”.

Being vocal on issues has affected him professionally, but that doesn’t really matter, he said, dismissing the notion that artistes should stay away from politics.

“Actors don’t come from another planet, they come from our society… It’s a wrong perception that artistes should not talk about politics. According to me, an actor has to be an activist. If you are not doing that, then what are you doing?

“Of course, it affects your career in a certain sense. But as I say, I don’t care. If I get seven scripts instead of 15, I am absolutely fine. The seven that I’m getting are automatically filtered, it makes my work easy.”

Ayyub was closely involved in his college’s dramatic society as was Zafar, his senior by a year. Zafar’s brief was simple — Shiva should have the anger and the passion that they used to have for politics, theatre, everything.

A dialogue from the series that has gone viral quotes freedom fighter Bhagat Singh — when Shiva says the revolutionary taught youth to study but also to fight when the time came.

“Bhagat Singh is someone that everyone now wants to claim as their own. I don’t think they have read him properly, especially the right wing people,” Ayyub said.

The dialogue, he added, was put in very deliberately as the show tries to break the notion that students should concern themselves only with studies and not take part in politics.

“Politics affects everything in your life, especially when you are in university. The kind of education and the kind of future you will be getting, everything is decided by the policy makers. If I’m a student and I’m going to be the future of this country, I should be aware of what’s happening around me.”

Before entering DU, Ayyub said he was just a Delhi boy from Okhla with “typical engineering ambitions”. Joining the college and its drama society helped him understand the world around him better.

“I started understanding that I also need to start participating in politics to know what is happening around it. I felt that I needed to go out and claim it back if something was being taken from me. The three years were like a transition period, making my beliefs stronger, in myself, in my society, my ideological beliefs.”

All major political parties have their student wings in DU colleges and take part in the elections for a reason, he said. They all want to find strong young leaders.

There may be similarities between Shiva and student leaders Kanhaiya Kumar and Omar Khalid, but the role is not inspired by them, Ayyub said. Instead, Shiva is an amalgamation of all influential youth icons.

“There is no direct connection but obviously people will try and find parallels with Kanhaiya or Omar. If the show would have happened in the ’90s, then we would have talked about Chandrashekhar (Prasad, former president of the JNU’s Students Union who was shot dead in Siwan while addressing a street rally).”

Ayyub said he does not like the term ‘hero’ and did not become an actor to only play positive characters. However, he is happy he is now getting roles where he is the central part of the story.

“It’s more about the dignity of the character for me. Finally, I’m getting the work that I want to do. I want to play author-backed characters”.

As an actor, Ayyub said he wants to have a positive influence on people and inspire them with the right kind of characters.

“I want to be that kind of person who wants to bring a change to society rather than just my life. If you belong to a certain class or community, you often hear the line that ‘I have to get out of this place somehow in search of a better life or society’. I hate this philosophy.

“I believe I’m what I’m because of the people around me. If I have to grow, I will grow with everyone. Otherwise, I’m fine where I am. I want to move ahead with everyone, not alone.”

“Tandav”, starring Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Sunil Grover, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Dino Morea, Kumud Mishra, Gauhar Khan and Kritika Kamra, started streaming on Amazon Prime Video from Friday.

While Zafar has created, directed and produced the political drama with Himanshu Kishan Mehra, it is written by Gaurav Solanki, best known for “Article 15”.

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India

President Kovind donates ₹5 lakh for Ram Temple construction

His Excellency Ram Nath Kovind along with his family donated in their individual capacity to the donation drive and conveyed their warm greetings for the nationwide fund campaign,” VHP President Alok Kumar said after receiving the donation from the President.

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Ram Nath Kovind

New Delhi, President Ram Nath Kovind has given the first donation for the construction of the grand Ram temple at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh. He donated ₹5,00,100 to a joint delegation of office bearers of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Ram Mandir Trust at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Friday.

With this donation by President Kovind, the fund collection drive for the Ram temple started across the country. The campaign will run till February 27.
“We went to President Ram Nath Kovind for the launch of the Ram Mandir Fund Donation Drive. He donated Rs 5,00,100 under the Shri Ram Mandir Fund Donation Drive which kicked-off across the country from Friday. His Excellency Ram Nath Kovind along with his family donated in their individual capacity to the donation drive and conveyed their warm greetings for the nationwide fund campaign,” VHP President Alok Kumar said after receiving the donation from the President.

Vinod Bansal, the VHP national spokesperson, told that a massive public outreach campaign would be launched to cover 13 crore families across 5.25 lakh villages in the country for the construction of the grand Ram temple at Ayodhya. As many as 65 crore people from 13 crore families would be directly linked with the Ram Mandir fund donation drive.

The delegation to meet President Kovind comprised the treasurer of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, Govind Dev Giri Maharaj, VHP President Alok Kumar, Ram Mandir Construction Committee Chairman Nripendra Mishra and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s Delhi state Head Kulbhushan Ahuja.

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