It is said that a pregnant lady has got not just three trimesters, but four. The fourth trimester is the three months post-delivery which needs to be taken care of, just like the first three trimesters. The new moms probably won’t even care about their body at this point, as their focus will be on the newborn and nothing else. But remember this golden rule: you need to be healthy in order to take care of your little one!
In India, people follow different ways/methods of postnatal care in different regions. In Kerala, we follow the ‘prasavaraksha’ (postnatal care), right after delivery which involves oil massages, hot water bath, herbal drinks, medicines for lactation and to regain the fitness and general health of the mother, the traditional way. It aims at:
- Compensating the blood loss in the delivery
- Correcting the digestion and metabolism
- Improving lactation and the quality of the breast milk
- Reducing the pains and weakness
- Regaining general fitness
- Supporting the uterus its shape and size, after delivery
I am penning down the postnatal care that I have taken after my two deliveries.
Oil Massage and Hot Water Bath:
Body massage is the highlight here and usually, it starts as soon as the mother comes home after delivery. Mine was delayed for 2 weeks, as I had to undergo cesarean. Doctors suggest that we need to give time for the surgery scar to heal.
Here in our culture, we have a 28-days long bathing session, which starts with a whole body massage with the dhanwantharam kuzhambu/thailam (oil) mixed with raw turmeric paste (pacha manjal) except on the face, whereas nalpamaradi thailam (oil) and raw turmeric paste is put on there and will be bathed with very HOT water fused with some herbs, after resting for about an hour! This is mainly done for the faster healing of body tissues, to help with the contraction of the uterus and to stimulate blood circulation.
Belly binding is done after the bathing session where the tummy of the mother is tied tightly with a cotton saree/cloth to reduce the baby belly. It also helps in squeezing out the impurities in the uterus.
- Chuvannulli Lehyam — This is a perfect blend of small onion, almond, gingelly, ghee, thippalli, elavargam, dry grapes, shathavary along with some other ayurvedic medicines. It is known for curing menstrual back pain. I used to take it twice a day.
- Thengin Pookkula Lehyam — Pookkula is basically the whole bunch of flowers of a coconut tree that would yield tens of coconuts, and is full of nutrients. Consuming this also helps in boosting breast milk, recouping the lost health and fitness and curing backaches. My mom still makes me have it, daily (oh and my baby is now almost 7 and half months old..Lol)!!
- Jeerakarishtam — Cumin is the basic ingredient of Jeerakarishtam. We consume it post delivery essentially to normalize the digestive system. It also is a lactation booster.
- Dhashamoolarishtam — It is a general health tonic, which aids to gain immunity and strength. It is a blend of ayurvedic herbs that cools the body and nourishes the tissues. Since it contains 5-7% of natural alcohol, consumption of a high dose of it may lead to burning sensations and stomach disturbances!
- Water (hell lot of it), brown rice with ghee, spinach, yoghurt, green leafy vegetables, carrots, almonds, cashew nuts etc serves as lactation boosters. Also one should make sure that the food we eat should be easily digestible, or otherwise there are chances for constipation!
- Mutton Soup — Mutton soup has all the goodness in it and is definitely a superfood (did that sound weird?)! It is one of my favourite dishes as well.
As I mentioned earlier, these are the postnatal care that I have undergone, since I could be at my mom’s place for and after the delivery.
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