Women are strong creatures. If there are superstars, women should get all the honorary medals that come with that title. Growing another human being for nine months is no joke. With pregnancy comes a myriad of issues. First, one loses their identity and stops being ‘Jane’ now that one is pregnant; the whole office refers to her as ‘pregnant Jane.’ Then comes the unsolicited advice from every corner. ‘Don’t eat this, don’t drink that, don’t do that’. Pregnancy is a full-time job and you are the employee who everyone orders around.
Then comes labor and it’s another set of rules altogether. ‘You can’t labor and eat,’ ‘you can’t labor in that position,’ ‘get in bed!’ For some reason, everybody feels entitled to the woman and suddenly the woman has zero control over her own body and she has to follow everyone’s rules but her own. This period, from conception to birth is a whirlwind of emotions for the woman and it is a strong woman who comes out of it with positivity. It is no wonder that most women wind up with post-traumatic stress. Pregnancy and childbirth are stressful, to say the least.
So should the woman still follow these rules even after labor? We say no and emphasize on the 10 things new moms should say no to after labor.
10. He Needs that Shot
Hepatitis B is a sexually transmitted disease that can also be transmitted through blood. When a baby is born, it is a routine procedure to vaccinate the baby against Hepatitis B, even though the mother may have been tested for Hep B and been cleared of the disease. Doctors will still insist on vaccinating the newborn operating on the premise that the baby may contract the disease from family members who are unaware they are carrying the disease and even remotely that one day the baby may require a blood transfusion some day.
Even though blood transfusion is a safe thing and is screened thoroughly before it is given to people, there is a small margin of error and things happen. While all these are viable eventualities, it is still not that urgent, but the newborn gets the shot. Many doctors advise that the child can wait until the child is two to three years of age. If a woman has been thoroughly screened and is quite sure that none of the family members are likely to put the child in danger, then the option to say No to the vaccine is valid.
9. It’s Bath Time
When babies are born they are usually washed before they are given to the mother. Unfortunately, washing the baby removes the vernix that is a protective cheese-like material even before it has absorbed into the babies skin. It has been proven that vernix has a lot of benefits to the newborn baby in that it acts as an antimicrobial that is useful in defending the baby. Vernix also acts as an unbeatable moisturizer for the baby. The largest concern about a hospital bath is the kind of bath products they use on the newborns. Some of the moisturizers, as well as the soaps, have harsh chemicals that are not good for the newborn. Hospitals also come with drug-resistant germs that the newborn is at risk of contracting during those baths. There is proven benefit in delaying the first bath by as much as 24 hours. While most mothers may be too tired to say no to some of these routine procedures after birth, it is imperative that a mother makes her choices known before she goes into labor to ensure that they are followed. Otherwise, there is a chance that no one will listen at that point.
8. You Need to Circumcise
This is a contentious topic in itself and most people prefer to keep it hush- hush. Most people believe that circumcision is a lot healthier and hygienic for males. While most people circumcise their children for religious reasons, there are those who believe that circumcising a child at birth is more convenient as the baby heals faster. While most people insist that infant circumcision is good and should be advocated, it has been proven to have no added value to the baby’s well being.
The only problem that has been seen in uncircumcised males are UTIs. With UTIs, proper hygiene can help reduce the chances of a person contracting them. A new mother has the right to say No to circumcision and allow the baby to make the choice for himself in later years. Giving the child that opportunity is a fundamental right as it is his body and as much as we regard female circumcision as genital mutilation, the same applies to the baby boy and the right to choose should never be taken away.
7. No Visitors for A Few Days Please!
When the new cuddly, sweet smelling baby shows up, everyone wants a piece of the joy. After hours of labor, a woman is either battling an episiotomy or a C-section wound, not to mention the trauma that comes with childbirth. No-one will ever tell a woman this but the truth is that the easiest part of labor in childbirth. The rest is traumatic and incredibly painful. After labor, a woman just wants to rest and heal her wounds, as well as get time to get used to the new person who now depends on her.
No one prepares her for the fact that babies do not sleep that well. Sleeping like a baby is a confused adage that should be revised unless it’s meant as sarcasm. Babies sleep for about two to three houses, wake up and require diaper changes, about thirty minutes of nursing and cuddling before they go back to their sleep and they keep repeating this until they get to the twenty or so hours they are meant to spend asleep. Unfortunately, even when they are deep asleep, they can hear and it is another session of trying to sooth them back to sleep. With all these things going on in a woman’s life, the last thing she needs is visitors. Unless she learns to say ‘NO’ she may wind up getting seriously overwhelmed.
6. When Are You Losing the Weight?
There is a new trend with celebrities where after giving birth, they reappear one week later looking better than they did before they got pregnant, having lost all the baby weight, and then some. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Gwyneth Paltrow have been seen flaunting their post-pregnancy bods looking like a million dollars and dishing out advice on how to shed the weight fast.
While it is advisable to maintain a healthy BMI and women are encouraged to eat healthily and do some moderate exercise so that they can get rid of the baby weight, there is no hurry to do so. Studies show that women who exercise too early after the birth wind up with some long-term complications, notably backache. Pregnancy is a big process and after months of things shifting from where they are supposed to be to other places, a woman needs to give herself and her body time to get back some of its strength before getting back to aggressive exercises. While we understand that the pressure to conform is high, the first fifteen days or so after labor should be used to bond with the newborn and to recover one’s strength before hitting the gym. Women who have just given birth are also advised to seek clearance from their OBGYN before resuming any form of exercise.
5. I Think it’s Time for Us to Detox
Or not. This is supposedly not a diet, but a way to remove harmful toxins from your body. These toxins are what makes the woman retain fat according to those who subscribe to this fad. Unfortunately, when one is on that diet, the only thing one ‘eats’ are green juices for not less than ten days. Being a new mom straight out of labor, this is one of those things you should say no to.
You just delivered over five pounds in terms of baby and then the afterbirth. Your strength is limited. What you require is an opportunity to get back your strength and what better way to do that than to eat a balanced diet and at least a little more than your daily requirement to cater for breastfeeding? The pressure to fit into that killer dress is huge and it doesn’t help that people keep promoting this fallacy that if one does not lose the baby weight like yesterday, then it will be there to stay. Baby weight is hard to lose, but with the right food portions, the right exercises and a little more time, it will go away. It took nine months to gain the weight, taking one month to lose it is very dangerous and unhealthy.
4. Let’s Get It On
According to Baby Centre, it is advisable to wait for a while, at least until there is no more lochia before you can resume intimacy. This will take at least 15 days. As much as a woman’s partner may be anxious to go back to intimacy, a few days will not hurt. The pressure to go back to normal is usually very high, but with a newborn and having gone through labor, the last thing on a woman’s mind is being intimate. Learning to say No, in this case, is commendable.
Even after the 15 days, a woman should not be pressured unless she feels ready to go back to it. Care should be taken to ensure that one considers the partner’s feelings as well as their own because in some cases waiting and waiting has been known to become a normal thing and before you know it, the baby is four years old. As soon as the woman heals and she feels comfortable with it, she should try to take back her role as an intimate partner in order to avoid conflict in the home, which in itself will be added stress on top of the stress a newborn brings. Having time for intimacy also makes the woman feel appreciated and the bonding between her and the husband will make her feel at ease and will increase her bonding experience with the child.
3. Baby Bunk Mate
According to the Bump, this is one of the things to definitely say no to. Sure, it is easier to feed a baby when he is in the same bed, as it takes care of the midnight walks outside the room to nurse the child or soothe him. Unfortunately, most doctors agree that sharing the same bed as newborn increases the chances of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The good news is that co-sleeping does not have to mean sharing the same bed. It could mean sharing the same room, which not only keeps the mom at ease but has been said to be beneficial to the newborn as it improves his senses.
People have become so creative these days that baby cots have been fashioned in such a way that they can be hooked to the bed, thus making co-sleeping safe and the method is truly convenient for the mother and her partner. The co-sleepers come with a mosquito net to keep away pesky mosquitoes and it is on the same level as the bed so lifting the baby for nursing and putting him back is made easier. It is also convenient because the mother will be able to watch over the baby as he sleeps, especially for those babies who suffer from acid reflux.
2. Off to the Nursery
After hours of labor, the prince or princess is finally here but before you can even say ‘I name you Cindy,’ she is whisked away into the nursery. While some babies are born with some medical conditions that necessitate special care or monitoring in the intensive care unit, a baby who does not require any of that can be left with the mother. According to Consumer Reports, allowing a healthy baby to stay with his mother promotes breastfeeding and bonding.
Allowing the mother to keep the baby with her will help her learn all the babies hunger cues and she will also learn how to feed the child faster as breastfeeding is not as easy as it is cracked out to be. This will strengthen the infant-maternal bond and will play a critical role in minimizing the risk of postnatal depression. Some hospitals frown on this as they do not consider rooming with the new baby as baby friendly, but a new mother has the right to say no to the shift. After bonding and if the mother feels she needs a few minutes of shut-eye, asking for help is also okay and she should feel free to ask the nurses.
1. Clamp that Cord
When a baby is born, most doctors rush in there to cut the cord without any hesitation. According to Mama Natural, early cord clamping (ECC) was previously believed to reduce postpartum hemorrhage. However, in recent years this has been proven to be wrong, yet it is still practiced in most hospitals and not many doctors will agree to let the cord pulse first.
Delayed cord clamping has been shown to help in increasing the amount of blood that goes into the baby after birth. It has also been proven to reduce the risk of anemia in later years. Even if one is tired and fraught with emotions after birth, the woman still has a right to say no to early cord clamping. The cord can be left on for 3 to 5 minutes or until the cord has stopped pulsing. Whichever way, one should always ensure that she makes it known to the care providers that this is their wish and that their wishes should be respected. There are no known risks to doing this and if there are any, the mother-to-be who feels strongly about it should sign a waiver absolving the hospital from any problems that occur.