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Post Natal Care

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It’s indeed overwhelming for parents when their baby is born. Post natal care or postpartum care is all about providing a supportive environment by taking care of yourself and nurturing your baby in the best possible way.

What is post natal care?

Since you get over pregnancy after giving birth to your child, your body begins to re adjust to the new environment. Post natal period starts right after the delivery and lasts about six to eight weeks after child birth. What usually happens during this period is- your attention gets diverted completely to your baby and you tend to neglect your health. However that’s not what post natal care entails. It means holistic care of your health as well as your baby’s.

What is the purpose of postnatal care?

The physical and emotional care that the mother receives during the post natal period can significantly have a positive impact on her life. Subsequently, when the mother is happy and healthy, she can nourish her baby in a proper way. The guidelines proposed by doctors help to know how to have a healthy post natal phase.

General guidelines for post natal care  

  • Information on self well-being as well as baby’s health and how to respond to problems
  • Encourage mothers to breast feed
  • Information on taking care and ensuring healthy upbringing of the baby
  • How to deal with post natal emotional problems
  • Encourage women to share their problems with health care professionals
  • Educate parents on how to identify symptoms of common health problems in babies

Post Natal Care for Mothers

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Post natal care for mothers primarily focuses of three aspects:

Health Care

It involves managing vaginal tears (a cut may be done in vagina during normal delivery) or taking proper care of C-section wound. Your doctor will let you know how to deal with other problems like post delivery vaginal contractions, vaginal discharge, prolonged bleeding, urination problems, pain and swelling in body parts, constipation, leakage of milk from breasts, and other postpartum health issues.  You must tell your doctor if you face any problems.

Emotional Care and Rest

The first few weeks post childbirth is a moment of excitement along with great deal of exhaustion. The latter becomes evident (the phase is also known as post natal depression) as your responsibilities multiply to a large extent. During this phase, you not only need emotional support but also a helping hand for carrying out day-to-day activities in order to ease your burden.

So make sure you have enough rest. Sleep when your baby sleeps and keep him/her near to you. Place the feeding bottles, clothes and other essentials at a close proximity. Take help from your spouse and family to get over “baby blues”.

Nutrition and activity

Getting proper nutrition during post natal period is vital for mothers as well as baby. Since you are breastfeeding, you must ensure that your diet is nutritious and is capable of keeping your energetic. Avoid high fat and carbohydrate rich foods. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and get enough fibres for smooth bowel movement. Your doctor shall further guide you to a balanced diet.

Lastly, if you can manage some time, then indulge in relaxing your body through postnatal yoga and meditation. Follow your doctor’s advice on how much physical activity (climbing stairs, bending, lifting, travelling, etc.) is okay for you.

Post Natal Care for Babies

This is the most important part as new mothers learn how to take care of their infant. You are strongly encouraged to breastfeed your baby as it not only boosts his/her health but also strengthens your bond with your baby. Your doctor shall help you to the correct feeding procedure (breast feeding and bottle feeding), feeding schedules, sterilizing techniques, and how to manage common problems associated with breastfeeding.

Other activities include understanding the baby’s needs and wants, sleep patterns and time, responding to his/her gestures and daily nourishment.

Post natal care is completely different from what you have been doing during your pregnancy. It’s a whole new world after your baby is born. So take care of you and your bundle of joy.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: January 19, 2015