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Postnatal experiences and awareness

Further to my earlier blog, I would like to share my postnatal experiences. I hope you will enjoy reading this too.

Without much trouble in the prenatal period, I entered in the 9th month of my pregnancy. As I was trying for a natural birth this time, anxiety started kicking in almost all night and I was getting impatient to carry the big tummy. I entered 41 weeks, but still, there was no sign of labor. I got admitted to the hospital, to begin with, the natural induction. In the initial 2-3 days, I was allowed to go back home in the evening to take rest. I was continuing with aerobic exercises too as suggested by the midwife. With the dream of having a natural birth, we passed each day at the hospital with continuous (24 hours) exercises (taking stairs, squats, etc) and natural induction methods. We as a couple was tired both physically and mentally.

Parent/in-laws were started getting panic at home because at Kerala, no one really waits after 40 weeks so is the case with my first pregnancy. Dr.Vijaya – My midwife was keen on taking their time and explaining to parents, once when they happened to see the tensed faces of our parents. But on a positive note – these kinds of moments are in a way it is good to mesmerize later. We realize/feel how much affection our family have on us. at the end of 41 weeks, I opted to go ahead with Cesarian (Vijaya mam was not in favor of that 😊). November 23rd evening, our little joy came to this world.

I started dreaming about a happy relaxed life with the little one and joyful postnatal experiences. After a few hours of surgery, I was shifted to the room with the baby. The baby was weighing around 4.3 kg, maybe due to this, he was a hungry baby. He started demanding for milk without allowing anyone to sleep. With the surgery pain, it was very difficult for me to latch him continuously. Days were becoming pathetic. On the third day, I was discharged from the hospital, I was much relieved then. Home Is Home!

But the game continued. Baby only wants to suck suck and suck or else scream. It is very much exhausting for anyone when the baby screams, so are we. Postnatal rest became only a dream. Thanks for my hubby and my mother for continuously carrying and try making the baby sleep after hours of walking around and playing the lullabies. My mother being a successful caretaker to three of her grandchildren, she was clueless this time. The moment we try to make the baby lie on the bed, he starts screaming again. We were becoming helpless. The pain that we went through cannot be expressed in words.

With constant sitting and restlessness, I got a minor infection in the incision area. That got added frustration and tension. After a month postnatal we went to hometown-Kerala, even though the baby continued to be cranky, with the home atmosphere, I was mentally okay. The struggle went on for almost 2 months. Now he turned 6.5 months and he is a happy silent baby. Hardly cries nowadays. Happy Home! 😊

Cutie when 3 months old
Happy grandma after 2 months postpartum

Postnatal experiences and tips:

Postpartum belly: This is the most worrisome issue everyone feels after delivery. We may often get disappointed by seeing the hanging belly and think that we will not be able to get in shape. Even this was the case with me too. Post 2 months after delivery, my belly looked as if I am 4 months pregnant. As this is my second c-section and with a 4.3kg baby, the belly was even more this time compare to last time. But I could manage to reduce it to half now and hoping that I will be back to shape in the coming months. I am almost back to my pre-pregnancy weight now. As mentioned in the previous blog, I could achieve this easily due to the strict diet and exercise during my prenatal period.

Things I did to reduce tummy:

Most people say, if belly binding is used soon after delivery, it helps to reduce the belly. But I was wearing on and off . As my baby was cranky I was not in a mood give attention to this.

When I visited Sanctum after 15 days, by seeing my tummy, one of the nurses there told me to check for a condition called Diastasis Recti (Abdominal muscle separation). She suggested to consult a physiotherapist and start with exercises, once obstetrician says okay to start the exercise. Google helped me to find a good physiotherapist at my hometown and when checked I had 1 finger gap in the abdomen. She suggested exercises specific to Diastasis Recti and I could fix the problem in 2 weeks. After this, I started some exercise + yoga and also kept an eye on controlling junk foods. So the point to note here is that if somebody is having this condition and start doing exercise like planks to reduce the tummy, it worsens Diastasis Recti and also belly looks more outward. Most of the mothers are completely unaware of this condition.

Mood swings: Postnatal Hormonal changes continue almost 6 months and hence the mood swings too. It is common to have postnatal depression also and the report says that it’s getting increased today especially when the external support is less. The new mothers are not able to handle the new atmosphere, and the family members are also not aware of the fact that the mother is going through this phase. Hence the suicide rate too. As mentioned in the earlier blog, let others/yourself know that you are going through this phase. With the support of your dear ones, you will be able to come out of it.

A short film shows a newborn mother unknowingly suffers from postpartum depression and how her husband helps her to come out of that

Postnatal care: Postnatal care is essential to get back to pre-pregnancy state both physically and mentally. As the new mother is very sensitive during this period, it’s important to give her comfort and care. That is the reason in India, we have a tradition of pregnant women being with her mother both during delivery and the postnatal period. It usually lasts up to six weeks. I think we Indians have more traditional postnatal care and it is different in different parts of India.

Me being a Malayali, we have an altogether different tradition in Kerala and its very effective in regaining energy and strength. I happened to visit the page – http://postdeliverycare.com/ which explains about the tradition that carried out in Kerala. I was lucky to get most of the postnatal care as per Kerala tradition by my mother and grandmother. In my postnatal experiences, what I loved the most is the medicinal hot bath.

There are certain myths also carried out along with postnatal care as part of the diet. The main thing among that was a new mother was not allowed to drink enough water and says if she drinks water it delays the postnatal recovery. But it is very important to drink 6-10 glasses of water especially if you are breastfeeding. Please try to differentiate between myth and reality by talking to your doctor to avoid health issues.

Make sure to have some kind of postnatal care by experienced people to avoid back pain, muscle pain, etc in the future.

Postpartum Hair loss: it’s very common to lose hair 3 months post delivery and the good news is that it’s temporary. If you notice, you hardly lose hair during your pregnancy period. Its due to the hormonal changes in the prenatal period and 95% hair will be in the growth phase during pregnancy. But after delivery again due to postnatal hormonal changes, a larger number of hairs enter in the resting phase and experiences more hair loss usually by 3 months. It returns to the normal hair growth cycle by 6 months – 12 months.

For me, exactly 3 months post delivery, large chunks of hair got lost every day. I thought I am going to get bald soon. 😊 It is almost 6.5 months post delivery now and looks like it came down to normal. I had major hair loss on the forehead, but I think now small new hairs started growing up there. I am not sure whether hair oil which I used did the magic.

Homemade hair oil recipe:

  • Cold pressed coconut oil – 250 ml
  • Fresh Aloe vera – two tablespoon
  • Curry leaves – a bunch

Boil coconut oil, add extracted aloe vera gel, curry leaves in it and stir until aloe vera gel becomes brown in color. once cool down extract the oil to a bottle and use it.

Each mother will have different postnatal experiences and stories to tell. I would like to hear your stories as well. Please post it in the comment section.

I wanted to conclude this blog by saying, going through this phase definitely not easy, but do know that this phase is sweet and also short. Being aware of what is happening with you and your body, and by being with your loved ones, you can easily pass this phase. Enjoy Motherhood!

Me with my LOs

Prenatal experiences and awareness

In this blog, I would like to share about my prenatal experiences and also learning from my prenatal period or I can say feelings/difficulties almost all expecting mothers go through.

I feel this is the right time to share this through this blog because those prenatal memories are still floating in my mind and it’s fresh, as my little one is just 6 months old now.

When my elder one was about 6 years old we decided to have second child. Since it is a long six years gap, when I became pregnant again, I was not having much clue about what all I have experienced during my first pregnancy. But I must say that as I am an experienced mother, I was more matured in taking decisions/as a couple we were able to take decisions (decisions such as choosing a hospital or being away from hometown, whether to have the delivery at hometown or in the living city, etc) independently.

Baby shower at office

Prenatal experiences AND MY TIPS ON HOW TO OVERCOME:

Before telling about the difficulties, let me start with good experiences of the prenatal period. The best thing is that people around you pamper/care you a lot during this period. Shopping malls, office, or home wherever you go, you are going to get extra care/respect and you are going to miss this after delivery. Another best thing that all women love – period free 9 months 😊

Nausea: Nausea is a feeling like you are about to throw up. Most women will have Nausea or vomiting, during the initial 3 months of the prenatal period. There is nothing much you can do for this ☺️. As time goes on it will improve. Noticed that if protein food is consumed in the previous night, the morning sickness will reduce to an extent. The reason could be as you need more energy during this period and during the night almost 7-8 hours we are not consuming anything, we feel more sickness in the morning. If protein-rich food is consumed, it gives energy for the body that it requires during the night.

Mood swings: Sometimes emotions impact our day to day life. A feeling to cry or shout at people for no reason or for silly reasons. You will not have any control over these emotions. Its the side effect of hormonal changes happening in the body when the prenatal period begins. The best thing that you can do to overcome this is to let you and the people around you (husband, mom, and dad) know that the emotion is due to the changes in the body and try to convey this each time you are at the peak of any emotion. Say suppose, you are in an argument with your partner (which you do always πŸ˜‰) and if you are going out of control, let your partner know that you are behaving this way due to the hormonal changes. He also would calm down and console you as he knows that calming you down is more important than his feelings.

Hospital to choose: This was a big question mark when I was carrying the second time. For the first pregnancy, I knew nothing about it and we listened to elders and made the decision accordingly. But this time as an experienced mother, I was in search of a hospital where I would get better care as per my expectation. Also, I wanted to avoid cesarean which I had for the first pregnancy. I hated calling/treating me as a patient when I go to a hospital because pregnancy is not a disease. As I wished finally I could figure out a hospital where I would get the care which I was expecting and I opted for midwifery care which is not that popular in India. Initially, I had little struggle to convince my hubby, but I succeeded in it. And I don’t regret the choice I made.

As per me, during the prenatal period, the expectation of a pregnant lady from a doctor/midwife is to be a practitioner who cares you a lot and treat as their dear one and giving ultimate care which I got from Sanctum – Healthy Mother (Natural Birth center).

Differentiate between myth and reality: You will get advises from everybody especially from all mothers. and there are lots and lots of myths and we will be struggling to differentiate between myth and reality. This is where the hospital – Sanctum came to my rescue. Whatever suggestion I get from people I cheerfully accept it and get clear with the midwife. One of the myths I often heard is that papaya should not be consumed. But came to know from my midwife that having ripened papaya does not harm and it was one of the suggested fruits in my diet.

Exercise and Diet: This part surprised me the most during this prenatal period. During my first one, I assumed that I should not do anything other than slow walking and for diet what I heard was I should eat for two. I was least bothered about these two during my first pregnancy. This time I came to know from my hospital that, this is complete nonsense. Actually, pregnancy is the time where you should completely have an eye on your diet which in turn is good for you as well as your baby. During this period I made sure I eat fruits, vegetables and green leaves, protein-rich food, etc and completely tried to avoid junk foods.

Coming to exercise, 30 – 40 minutes brisk walking was a mandatory exercise as a daily routine. and also started with little yoga asanas as told by the midwife and in the end, there were selected aerobic exercises for pregnant ladies.

To everybody’s surprise, I gained only 4kgs in the 7th month. (I was weighing around 70 initially and at the end, total weight gain was around 9 kgs). Thanks to Sanctum for the strict awareness and guidelines on what to follow. Please note that exercise and diet are specific to each individual and it will vary according to the individual’s health. Hence talk to the practitioner before doing anything. But some form of diet/exercise is always good for you and the baby.

Anxiety: Anxiety starts kicking in at end of pregnancy. Several questions come to the mind – When will the labor starts , will I be able to bear the labor pain, what happens if the labor starts at home etc etc. Up to an extend Lamaze classes helped me to prepare for labor and more than me, I think, my hubby was aware completely on what to expect during labor and what contribution/support he can give during the labor, which is very important. Before attending Lamaze classes, I was assuming that the labor pain will be very short as in movies and I was not having any idea too as mine was the cesarean delivery the first time. But after attending classes I came to know what to expect and became aware of different medical and natural labor induction techniques if overdue. Most importantly it was good to know the side effects of various medical induction techniques. The intention of this is that Pregnancy is every woman’s right and we are the ones who should be the primary decision-makers when there is a need for an induction.

This journey was almost like attending training at Sanctum. I even thought of taking the Lamaze certification to become a childbirth educator. The reason is that after going to Sanctum I realized that even though I am a mother, I hardly knew anything about prenatal issues and awareness until that time. In fact, I felt most of the women would be like me on that matter and is a must to know for expecting mother. I strongly recommend expecting mothers and their partners to attend Lamaze classes.

Please see my next blog post on my postnatal experiences and awareness and share your sincere comments in the Comments section. Feel free to contact me if you have any personal queries.