96 Pregnancy and Childbir th
In the first weeks after birth
Caring for a new mother
Mothers need care after birth just as the baby does. People
are often so busy looking after the baby that the mother’s
needs may be forgotten.
• To prevent infection the mother should not have sex or
put anything in her vagina until her bleeding stops.
• She should get
a lot of
• She should
try to stay
clean. It is
her to wash
and to keep her
genitals very clean. While
bathing, do not sit in water until
1 week after the birth.
• A new mother needs to eat more
food than usual. She can eat any kind of food: fish, meat,
beans, grains, vegetables, and fruit will all help her heal from
the birth and have energy to be a good mother.
• She should drink plenty of fluids.
• If she is breastfeeding her baby and giving no other milk, the
breastfeeding can protect her from getting pregnant again
too soon. For full protection, see the directions on page 218.
• If she has a tear at the opening of her vagina, she should
keep it clean. She can apply a hot, damp cloth and honey
to the tear to help it feel better and to heal more quickly. If
the tear causes burning, she can pour water over her genitals
while she passes urine.
Any plant medicines used to help her genitals heal should
be clean (boiled is best). Do not put plant medicines inside
• She should start a family planning method soon, especially
if she ever feeds her baby something other than breast milk.
For her good health, she should start using a family planning
method before she has sex again, or she could become
pregnant too soon.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012