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Chapter 16: After the Birth

When a child takes birth the air gets into its lungs and it starts breathing. After commencing the act of breathing the baby cries for the first time. This crying is because of the reaction of the air getting into the lungs. If the child doesn’t breathe and cry, it is held with its feet up and the head is gently stroked to help it breathe.

Then the umbilicus is tied and is severed with a sanitized scissors. After this the child is given a bath with soap and lukewarm water and clothed. For sometime the child does not need feeding. Then drops of warmish water mixed with sugar are put into the child’s mouth.

The newborn will generally be in a state of dreaming. It needs lot of rest because it has undergone external and internal transition. Earlier it was dependent on the mother’s nutrition but now its own digestive system has to start functioning.

During pregnancy the child depended for oxygen on the mother’s breathing but after delivery its own respiratory system has to start functioning. It now takes its own oxygen from the atmosphere and ejects carbon dioxide during breathing. Its internal functioning would have undergone a major change and its external condition and environment is also totally changed. Earlier in the womb of the mother the temperature was 37.5 Degrees Centigrade but now it is in an environment which has transient temperature conditions.

During delivery too the child is subject to lot of pressure which needs mitigation. At this time the child will be like a postoperative patient who has just come out of an operation theatre who, above all, needs lots of rest. It will be like a machine, which has just come out of the shop floor, which needs delicate and careful handling. In this circumstance the best that can be done for the child is to provide him restful environment that it overcomes the hardship faced during the process of delivery.

Dr Jalali writes:

“Tickling the child to laughter, lifting it up repeatedly, changing its garments frequently and showing it to others are not desirable acts which one should refrain from. The child is not a toy and it needs rest and peace. Avoid speaking loudly in its presence and refrain from lifting him up and down in an attempt to soothe him. Hugging and kissing the child too are not good for him. 1

The mother too needs lots of rest and strength. During the nine months of pregnancy she would have gone through lots of travails. Especially after delivery she would be very weak as if she has lost most of the blood from her body. At this time the thoughtful husband: should provide to her all possible comforts and with good nutrition try to put her back to normal health. If medical attention and medication is required, then it should be provided without any loss of time. If the husband is negligent at this juncture then the wife will remain dull and weak and the consequences will have to be borne by him too.

  • 1. Ruwan shinashi kudak, p. 223

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