Tuesday 28 March 2017

Methods of child delivery and what we as Nigerians need to know about them.

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We would for the purpose of clarity,  and the different kinds of persons this write-up will reach divide methods of childbirth into 3.

The first and most common is the natural child birth method. It involves vaginal delivery of the baby without intervention; as per no pain medications and no use of whatever tools to 'bring out' the baby. It is the most preferable and recommended mode as the new mother heals very fast. In cases where medical treatment is done out-of-pocket, this method is the least costly. Midwives alone can handle this delivery method.

Next is the Cesarean Section . This mode of childbirth involves a surgical incision into a pregnant woman's abdomen and uterus to bring out the baby. Although can be an elective procedure, it is usually done when one of either the mother or the baby's life is in danger. It is much more costly than the vaginal mode of delivery and is handled by much more medical personel than the natural childbirth method. In the delivery room would be a doctor, a midwife, an anesthesiologist etc. Healing is usually longer and more painful than the natural method and the new mother is usually expected to stay longer in the hospital as she will be monitored till she is deemed fit to go home.

The third is the vaginal but assisted childbirth. Assistance here could be in the form of epidurals, forceps, vacuum extractor etc. The mother is aided in delivering her child either by numbing the labor pains or using devices to 'extract' her baby vaginally. This method of childbirth is not common in Nigeria and needs specific monitoring and child delivery devices not seen in a majority of the hospitals in Nigeria.

Whatsoever the mode of childbirth, the most important issue is the life and well-being of the new mother and her baby. No method diminishes the challenges of a pregnancy, none invalidates a mother, none makes one a better mother than another. They all make the new mothers face varying types of challenges during delivery and the healing process. They all make one a new mother at the end.
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In as much as the natural childbirth method is preferred, there are cases when it is not possible or medically advised. A pregnancy can come with certain challenges that could make a medical practitioner rule out natural childbirth; all in a bid to save the life of mother or child or even both. If that happens to be an expectant mother's case, she can seek a second, third of even more medical opinions from medical doctors and midwives but  NEVER religious leaders or other mums. Refusal of interventions during childbirth has been known to cost lives of either mother or child and sometimes both. No one has ever won an award for natural childbirth, at least not in Nigeria. So if interventions ever get recommended, get another medical opinion (if there is time left for that) and stick to medical advise. Except the slower healing pace and the deep hole it can dig in one's pocket, there is absolutely nothing wrong with assisted childbirth when it is needed to save lives. What is wrong is loosing one's life or that of the newborn as a result of one's refusal of assistance during delivery, and contributing to the already unacceptable maternal and child mortality rates in Nigeria.

Tuesday 7 March 2017

Some tips on newborn care

 Things would have been a lot easier if babies were born clutching a little pamphlet titled "Instructions manual"; well, they don't and even the most experienced mothers often find each new baby a challenge unique from every other baby they have handled. Evolving guidelines on childcare and daily medical research often demands a little difference in newborn care than we may have always known.  Below are some tips on how to handle your newborn baby.

(1).The baby should be put to its mother's breast as soon as possible after delivery. This not only gives the baby it's much needed supply of the nutrient-rich colostrum, it also starts the baby's journey towards achieving a perfect latch.

(2) Request for help or assistance from the midwife or doctor who helped deliver your baby. You can never go wrong on this; well unless your instincts tell you otherwise. Well-trained medical practitioners are the best people to go to for advice and assistance with newborn care.

(3) Ensure you follow medical advice as regards umbilical cord care. You would very likely get different views on how to care for your baby's umbilical cord; from salt to toothpaste and so on. As well meaning as the advisers may be, please desist from usage of such potentially harmful substances. Well-trained midwives and doctors will give you time tested and trusted ways of caring for the cord. It may not fall off very early as compared to crude methods, but it sure will, after all no adult walks around with his/her umbilical cord still attached.

(4) Please no matter how much they try convincing you, do not perform circumcision on a girl child. The right word is even 'genital mutilation' and not 'female circumcision ' . It serves absolutely no purpose than exposing your baby girl to unnecessary harm, and , making your girl child imagine what her life would have been like if her genitals weren't mutilated.

(5) Get help when you need it. It is often customary for grandparents or experienced relations to come around when there is a new born as they know it could get overwhelming for the new parents. Please let them help when you need them to, but let it be by your rules and under your supervision. Do not let them do things you do not approve of to your baby.
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(6) Do not let any sick person carry your newborn, not even someone with cold. It is your duty to protect your child and if commonsense will not tell the person  to not carry the baby, remind him/her. After all you would be the one to bear the burden of a sick child if your child gets infected with whatever infection the person is carrying. You do not really have to be nice about it if circumstances so demand.

(7) Ensure your baby gets all the necessary vaccinations. It is usually advised that newborns in our part of the world get their Hepatitis B and BCG vaccinations before discharge from the hospital. We need to protect our babies from diseases as much as possible.

(8) Ensure hygienic environments around the baby at all times. Also ensure the baby always sleeps under a mosquito net. You wouldn't want your baby getting malaria very early in life, would you?

(9) Dress the baby up in appropriate clothing. When the weather is hot, there is absolutely no need for the overalls and so on; go light. And when it's cold, cover your baby up very well.

(10) If you can, please practice exclusive breastfeeding; feed your baby on breast milk alone for at most the first six months of the baby's life.

The list is by no means exhaustive but can serve as guide especially to new parents. Our babies are precious and should be handled as such.