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Postpartum Myths

What is the Postpartum period?

Postpartum period (the period of 40 days after childbirth) is very important for recovery of a woman’s body from the changes occurring during pregnancy and for regaining energy and strength to continue with normal life and take care of the baby and home.

There are many myths prevalent in our society regarding postpartum care which have been debunked by medical science. Acting on some of them can be detrimental to women and babies health.

So, it is necessary to provide awareness in this matter for the sake of better health of women and children and society in general.

• Myth 1: The water and weight connection!

New mothers should consume very less water or else the abdominal wall will distend and weight will increase.

Cold water should not be taken.

Reality:

Water should be taken in increased quantities to prevent dehydration and urinary tract infection, promote breastfeeding and increase immunity. Doctors recommend drinking a glass of water before every breastfeeding episode.

Cold water intake has no link to abdominal distension or flu .Insisting on only taking warm water can lead to decreased water intake as the mother may not like it.

• Myth 2: Eating unbalanced meals!

Regarding diet ,no rice ,no spicy food, increased amount of desi ghee and food should be hot .

Reality:

There should be a well balanced diet .Diet can be soft at first a few days so that stomach function returns to its normal .After that, a normal diet can be given. Increased ghee can cause increased weight .Normal spices can be given. Increased spices can cause heartburn. To avoid constipation, use high fibre diet ,increased water intake and light walk .

• Myth 3: Bath Less!

New mothers should not take bath specially in winters or else air will go inside and the baby will have the flu .

Reality:

Bath is necessary for personal hygiene and feeling good. Things that lead to flu in baby are being kept wet for long periods, being in less clothes in winter, smoking near him and contact with a flu patient .

• Myth 4: Cover it all up!

Covering of head and ears to prevent air from going inside

Reality:

This practice is useless in summers and can lead to weakness,rashes and irritation in mothers due to heat .It can be somewhat helpful in winters to prevent cold.

• Myth 5: The issue surrounding breastfeeding!

Regarding breastfeeding Mother’s milk is not present and not coming.

Milk is not enough and baby is crying due to hunger

Milk is dirty due to color or mothers illness

Myth 7: Lock the new mother up!

Mother should not meet anyone for 40 days and should not go out and should be confined into one room .

Reality:

These all measures can lead to postpartum depression and feeling of loneliness. Mother needs light walk and fresh air to feel good. She needs a lot of family support so that she does not feel herself alone.

• Myth 8 : Mother and housework are synonymous!

Mother should be able to do house work as soon as possible

Reality :

This thinking leads to many problems ,postpartum depression and weakness as the body does not recover totally from childbirth as needed .Don’t ever overstress yourself to be a perfect woman or a mother. Do a lot of rest in the initial days and get house help and support from family.

• Myth 9 : Press the slim down button!

Women should be instantly back in shape as soon as possible.

Reality:

Being back in shape requires time .It can be achieved by a well-balanced diet ,walk and exercise started after the postpartum period.

Reality:

On first few days, breast milk is yellow in colour and it is normal and healthy for baby. Moreover a healthy mother’s milk is enough for child’s needs. The baby can cry for various different reasons apart from hunger. So there is no reason for bottle feeding except for mothers severe illness , mother taking medications that pass through breast milk and are harmful for baby or mother doing job and is away from baby for a considerable period.



SOME TIPS FOR THE POSTPARTUM PERIOD

• Drink a lot of water
• Have a balanced diet
• Take a lot of rest
• Be stress free
• Take hot water bottle and sitz bath for pain
relief
• Have a good sleep
• Have support from husband family and friends
• Hire house help
• Take good care of stitches
• Adopt family planning measures for good
health of mother and baby

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