Post natal care
Pregnancy is an around 9 month’s journey which ends with the delivery of a baby.
The pregnant lady constantly takes care of the diet and follows doctor’s instructions so that to have a healthy baby and smooth delivery. There are anxious moments and many emotional changes that go on during pregnancy and at the time of child birth too. When the newborn arrives the attention gets carried off to the infant and many a times the mother finds herself neglected. Regardless of the place where the birth of the child took place, the mother needs special attention for the next two weeks. Here are some tips that would help the mother remain healthy mentally and physically and enjoy motherhood at the same time. Post natal period is the period of around 6 weeks following delivery.
This is the time when the body of the lady is coming back to normal pre-pregnancy state. This is the period when the lady needs special care and attention and support.
Regular checkups after childbirth is also very important and the new mother/delivered lady should not miss even one of them at any cost. These checkups usually include checking blood pressure, temperature and examination of the stitches and cuts. Just keep in mind that your body is weak at present and so any kind of pain or discomfort should be immediately reported to the doctor. If it was a cesarean childbirth, you have to be extra careful.
Diet and Exercise
Special care should be taken to have a good and nutritious diet. We advice to have homemade balanced food which will contain all proteins, carbs and fats. It’s always better to avoid too much of ghee, oil and fries preparations. Lady should prefer proteins like sprouts daal, dry fruits, eggs and non- veg food which helps in healing. Food rich in iron is also advised to compensate for the bold loss during childbirth, Iron containing foods are green leafy vegetables, beet root, carrots, pomegranates, dry frits, jaggery, jaggery-ground nut chikki, preparations those cooked in iron vessels etc. Daily 2 glasses of milk is also very useful in this period. After a specific period of time we advise some light exercise . Mothers should not keep themselves confined to bed. They should move about according to the instructions of the doctor.
Care of the stitches
Many women who deliver normally or through vacuum or forceps delivery are having small deliberate cut at their back of the vaginal called episiotomy. The cut is sutured after delivery with suture material which gets absorbed in initial 1 or 2 weeks. These ladies should keep this site clean. After every act of passing urine or motion, this area should be cleaned with antiseptic solution or simply soap and water. We advice, antibacterial creams for initial one week at least. Pain at these sutures is also a major concern for many ladies. Simple pain killers, warm water baths and Seitz bath with make journey less painful.
Women undergoing C-section need to take care of the stitches too. Usually skin sutures are removed after 8-10 days and if wound is healthy it is kept open. Normal bath with soap and water can be done after sutures are removed. It is better to avoid pressure on the suture site as it may give rise to pain and weaken the healing suture site (which later may lead to hernia) One has to avoid cough constipation and activities involving sudden bending, weight lifting etc. C-section sutures acquire good strength after three months, so during first three months we advice not to do exercises involving abdominal muscles. During this phase normal house hold activities and walking is allowed. After three months usually the lady is fit to do active exercises.
Breastfeeding should be encouraged. It has manifold benefits and in addition to giving all the nutrients and vital elements to the child, it helps strengthen the bonding between the mother and the child. Proper hygiene should be maintained and the new mother should be taught the hygienic techniques properly Breast-feeding has many advantages, like
1. It is free and available without preparation,
2. It helps to boost the baby’s immunity to infection, particularly respiratory tract infections and gastroenteritis, with a consequent reduction in hospitalizations,
3. It promotes bonding between the mother and her baby,
4. It gives protection against later risks of being overweight and obese,
5. It helps the mother as breast fed mothers are at reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer and also diabetes.
Initial breast engorgement may cause a lot of discomfort but is usually relieved by good bra support and analgesia.
Bath Maalish and kajal
As typical Indian house hold is concerned, baby’s bath and maalish are some important issues. We advise bath with comfortably warm water with any soft glycerin containing soap like pears, dove, and dermadew or jonhsons etc. We strongly advice, not to use any other thing like haldi, besan while bathing the newborn. Maalish is not needed for baby and must be avoided during first 3-4 weeks for baby. It may cause rash and delay the physiological jaundice. Cleanliness is the rule. Use any clean oil (any oil suitable for baby, it can be clean coconut oil also) and maalish should be done with clean hand. Another household ritual is of applying kajal to the baby. We advice to avoid it as it may cause infection and injury to baby’s smaller eyes. Again the kajal and finger with which kajal is applied should be clean.
When cleanliness is concerned simple soap and water are enough. There is no need of hand sanitizers to use all the time. Hand sanitizers are actually more hygienic as they can kill many microorganisms, but hand sanitizers may have long term impact on baby’s immunity. Baby’s immune system may become weak in long use of sanitizers.
Baby’s umbilical cord falls off with one or two weeks after birth. It is always advisable to keep cord clean. This can be one of the sites from where baby can catch infection. We suggest applying anti bacterial powder to the cord. Antibacterial powders such as betadine or Neosporin powders not only give protection from infections, they when applied, help in keeping the cord site dry. Applying oil may make this part prone for infection. Some babies will have small swelling at the cord site due to weakness in the abdominal muscles; this will go off in majority of the cases. If it is large or persists, one has to take pediatrician’s opinion.
Immunization is a must for every baby. Properly done immunization protects baby from many illnesses. It has to be done as per schedule. One should not miss any of the doses of immunization.
Ideally there should be gap of at least two child births. The couple should follow some effective contraception after child birth. Many options are available for the same. Couple who don’t want any further issue, best option for them is permanent family planning surgery. Husband can undergo vasectomy and wife is having option of tubal ligation.
Copper T, condoms and birth control pills are the options for temporary contraception.
Post delivery period is good, smoothening and enjoyment for new mother if all the family members more importantly husband stands by her as a strong support. Following are some common problems faced by the lady, which can be managed easily. Although these problems do not sound good, most of them are curable.
Issues related to feeding the child
Poor or inadequate feeding for the infant
Pain or infection in stitches or scars, in case of cesarean baby
Incontinence of urine and stools
Possibility of urine infections
Problems of depression and emotional instability
If any of the problems is troublesome, one should take gynaec opinion so as to treat it and make the new mother comfortable.