Chapter 15: The first weeks after the birth
Give emotional support
It is important to give the mother emotional support. Customs and rituals that
honor the mother or celebrate the birth are one way to recognize the work she has
done in labor.
What to do if the mother feels very upset or sad (depressed)
Most women feel strong emotions after giving birth. This is normal. Some feel sad
or worried for a few days, weeks, or months. When this happens, you can help by
listening to the woman’s feelings and explaining that the feelings are common.
When these sad feelings are very strong, it is called depression. It may be
difficult for the woman to care for herself or her baby. She may even act crazy.
A woman who is depressed needs help. She needs help caring for her home and
family, and she needs help to stop feeling so upset. If possible, someone should
stay with the woman to help and to be sure she does not hurt herself or her baby.
There are also some traditional rituals
and remedies, as well as modern
medicines, to help a woman feel better.
The modern medicines are expensive and
can cause other problems, so they should
only be taken in extreme cases.
A woman who had feelings like this
after a previous birth is more likely to
feel them again after this birth.
What to do for the baby
Encourage the baby to breastfeed and
watch how she grows
The baby should breastfeed every few hours, from the
first hour after the birth on. A baby who is breastfeeding
enough and who is healthy should urinate and pass
stool within the first 24 hours after birth, and regularly
after that. She should not have signs of dehydration, and
should gain weight. Keep the baby warm and dry, and
play with her.
A Book for Midwives (2010)