In Khmer, the term “crossing the river” also means “to give birth to a baby”. That is because the journey to motherhood is fraught with uncertainty. Although deliveries are safer than ever, women are still putting and their bodies through considerable stresses and strains the process of pregnancy and especially child birth.
Therefore, I wholeheartedly appreciate all my wife’s sacrifices and her unwavering endurance that has brought our beloved baby girl into this world. As a husband, I want to do all I can to help her recover and try my best to ensure that she is free of all health problems. I began this process by conducting my own research on how to give her the best of care throughout our journey. I would like to share this with others who are, or may are one day be embarking on this life changing experience and may find the following advice useful.
Dealing with common problems
According to our doctor, a specialist with years of experience in the field, common postpartum problems include infections (kidney, bladder or uterine), pain between the vagina and the rectum, hemorrhoids and constipation, vaginal discharge and so on. While some of these problems can be treated with home remedies, which can be found on the internet, or go away naturally, it is important to always seek professional advice. I recommend having a checkup with your family doctor or midwife every week and keep up with appointments to ensure mother’s conditions remain stable. It is also very important to follow prescriptions, and medical advice on how and when to take them, closely.
Get enough rest
Getting enough sleep after becoming a new parent is tough, but it is also a very important part of the recovery. Delivering a baby is hard work and the mother will most likely not able to sleep much while in hospital. The first few weeks after delivery are an important time for rest. Whenever possible, take time to rest when your baby is sleeping or being cared for by another, even if just for a short time.
Diet and Nutrition
New mothers need a healthy diet and adequate nutrition to recover from the changes their body has gone through during pregnancy and birth. The key in this special diet, according to WebMD, is maintaining a good balance of fruit, vegetables, grain, protein and diary. With every meal, you should ensure fruit and vegetables cover half of your plate. On the other half, gains such as rice and oatmeal with a serving of seafood, lean meat, or egg (or soy product if you are a vegetarian/vegan) for protein. You should also try to accompany these meals with a cup of low-fat milk for calcium. Always keep yourself hydrated and keep healthy snacks at hand for if your feel hungry. Avoid unhealthy foods, fish that is high in mercury as well as alcohol and caffeine. Also, consult with your doctor whether you will need supplement or extra vitamin.
Losing Weight safely
After giving birth, most women have problems with losing weight, which could affect their lifestyle in a long term if not dealt with. A mother should plan to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight between 6 and 12 months after giving birth. The key to this is healthy eating, regular exercise and patience. As well as following the aforementioned healthy eating advice, there are more tips to bear in mind. Don’t skip meals. Rather than help you lose weight, it means when you do eat your body will try to store the food as fat, therefore being counterintuitive to weight loss! Eating slowly. Enjoy your food and savour the taste, it will help you not to overeat. Steam, grill or boiling instead of frying, and use healthier oils in small amounts when cooking. Drink lots of water, and avoid sweets, sugar, saturated fat and trans fats. Healthy diets, combined with regular, exercise, is the magic combination. Workout videos can be found on Youtube for free, however don’t try to overexert yourself, take it easy and pick a routine you find comfortable with between rest and caring for your child. Finally, see breastfeeding as a positive for weight loss, as it also helps you lose weight!
Beware of Postpartum depression!The “baby blues”, can include mood swings, tears, anxiety and difficulty sleeping and everything feeling like it is getting too much. Most of these symptoms are normal and part of the emotional rollercoaster that is bringing new life into the world. However, some women also experience more severe impacts to their mental health in a condition known as postpartum depression. Symptoms may a chronic or regular depression, uncontrollable crying, overwhelming fatigue as well as panic attacks, dread and hopelessness. If left untreated, it can lead to other health issues, and in some of the worst cases, suicide. If you have these symptoms or notice them on your partner, relatives or friends, seek professional help immediately. If you feel these symptoms yourself, also try to reach out to others. Many mothers may feel the same so try to connect with others to noramlise your feelings. Giving birth is life changing, and many people have gone through bouts of depression afterwards and come out the other side.