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postnatal care – mother and baby

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The first six weeks are crucial for both the mother and the new born baby. The care that is given to both of them is known as postnatal care. The World Health Organization makes this particular care essential as the first few weeks are considered crucial for both mom and baby. There are various cases reporting maternal and neonatal deaths during postpartum, so the care starts immediately after the placenta is detached from the baby. It involves planning and reviewing on a regular basis by neonates, and they are the team of doctors, midwives and nurses. The first few weeks mark a new phase in the life of the family members of the baby and the commencing point to record the health of the miniature human being. Postnatal care at home can be given if the caregiver is confident and has considerable knowledge of medical help or first aid.

importance of postnatal care for mother

Postnatal care for the mother is critical as there are certain alarming emergencies or danger signs in every pregnancy. The signs to watch out in an expecting mother both before and after labour are:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Developing instant fits
  • Headaches 
  • Blurred visions
  • Increased vaginal bleeding
  • High body temperature
  • Swelling or redness in any part of the body
  • Chest ache
  • Calf pain
  • Tender breasts and nipples which may or may not be swollen and red
  • Infection or pain in the perineum
  • Smelly discharge from the vagina
  • Depression or suicidal emotions
  • Urinating or leaking problems
  • Infected wound with pus and pain

Depression is a prevalent symptom seen in a majority of women post-delivery. Almost all the women face a mild depressive phase following birth, and they overcome it with their mental stability. But in some instances, it may be lasting for an extended period with the mother facing fatigue, sleeping difficulty, appetite problems and low energy. Neonates will differentiate a proper postnatal condition when the woman is continuously feeling depressed for two weeks. The other signs to look out for are consistently feeling low, sad, anxious and irritable, having negative feelings about both herself and the baby with changes in behaviour that seen to disrupt the usual routine.

Additionally, women may have difficulties performing the regular activities that they enjoy doing. Another significant symptom is pain and numbness without any apparent physical cause in any part of the body. This is the primary reason a woman needs postnatal care even if her labour and delivery are not complicated. 

importance of postnatal care for baby

Babies immediately after their birth are at a high risk of facing many dangers like:

  • Fever
  • Shivers
  • Inappropriate bleeding
  • Improper feeding
  • Sudden Fits
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Yellowing of palms and feet
  • Diarrhoea
  • Pus development on skin pustules 
  • Consuming feeds lesser than eight times in 24 hours
  • Latching problems and inefficiency to suck
  • Yellow eyes and skin
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Blood or pus on the cord 

The signs mentioned above require immediate medical supervision, so it is better to take postnatal care and review the health of both mom and baby under an excellent health facility.

what are examples of postnatal care?

There are regular and usual routines conducted in every facility, and they are termed postnatal care procedures. They can also be termed as the postnatal care examples, which are:

For the Baby

  • Cord care
  • Immunisation
  • Blood test
  • Head circumference check
  • Monitoring weight

For the Mother

  • Breast care
  • Monitoring blood pressure
  • Contraception
  • General health check
  • Anaemia test
  • Diet

how can we care for postnatal mothers?

The major postnatal problem faced by a newly delivered mother is depression. She will require additional emotional support to overcome it with ease. Counselling and activity are the fundamental and common steps required than oral medications. The postnatal care mother procedures are:

  • Encourage her to spend some quality time doing physical activities like walking.
  • Asking her to spend time with friends and do any activity of her interest to relax the stressed mind.
  • The family members are counselled to help her with household chores and offering time to listen to her newly arousing emotional hiccups. To be more precise, the family members should provide both care and support.
  • Offer physio social treatments to make her recover quickly.
  • If the condition is severe and is prevailing for a longer time, medication is prescribed as an adjoint line to treat the issue.
  • Some new mothers will need support and guidance on how to breastfeed. This is addressed by the midwives and help them sort out a few situations like improper latching.
  • Some women may need extra support with a particular issue, such as breastfeeding. 

how can we care for postnatal babies?

The first thing to do immediately after a baby is born is to register the birth details, and then the baby must be closely monitored for 24 hours. The postnatal care baby procedures are:

  • Provide the baby with a regular bath.
  • Moisturise the body with suitable lotion.
  • Offer help with feeding.
  • Wipe off the mouth after every feed properly.
  • Try to expose the child to early morning sunlight for natural Vitamin D.
  • Gently massage the baby every day.
  • Swaddle them with soft organic fabrics to sleep so that they stay warm.
  • Please make use of diaper ointment when the babies are fastened with them.
  • Wash and use only clean clothes for the baby.
  • Always hold the baby in an upright position immediately after every feed and let them sleep only after a burp.

Keep the baby warm with extra layers of clothes. Breastfeeding is a challenging task for most babies as they may have difficulty swallowing. Babies with a low birth weight below 2500 grams, and twins require more care as their risk of infection is higher. Babies with a lower birth weight are seen to have problems with breastfeeding, and the mother will also need help to sort this out. 

By taking proper care, all the family members including the new mom get used to and comfortable handling the baby with ease.

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