Health News Thu, 8 Mar 2007

Titbits of sound and safe delivery

A GNA feature by Audrey Dekalu

Accra, March 8, GNA - Spotlessness should be the catch phrase of every woman carrying a baby in her womb. It is not costly to her health and that of her unborn baby. In fact she is not better off without it. Cleanliness is also a special glow that gives a pregnant woman the freshness and beauty she must enjoy during the pre-natal and post-natal periods.

A relaxed and positive mind is another added value to pregnancy. She must not cultivate rigid and other negative emotions that would affect her unborn baby.

Meditation should be the key. A pregnant woman should recite positive affirmations and pray without ceasing.

She must also be careful of what she observes around her and maintain a healthy and balance diet.


"Regenerative Health and Nutrition" project being implemented by the Ministry of Health on pilot basis and made available to the Ghana News Agency observed that during the pre-natal period, there is an increase in the hormone level that causes more oil and perspiration to be released as well as vaginal secretions. The project, supported by the African Hebrew Development Agency from Dimona in Israel, is also to introduce plant-based nutrition for pregnant women.

It focuses on exercises during pregnancy, including deep relaxation techniques that are beneficial to management of pain in labour thereby improving the health of expectant mothers during the pre-natal period. These decrease the chances of complicated labour and delivery and facilitate the delivery of a healthy infant.

According to the document, special care should be given to the perineum. In the early months of pregnancy, a tub bath or shower may be taken, but in the later period spanning seven months and above to the period of delivery, a shower is most preferable.

This is because it is cumbersome for a highly pregnant woman to get in and out of a tub with the associated possibility of slipping and injuring herself and the unborn baby.

A pregnant woman should wash her nipples with mild soap and make sure she removes any crusts to prepare for breastfeeding. Dry brushing or pinching can toughen the nipples.

The hair of a pregnant woman must be shampooed frequently while oral and dental hygiene should not be overlooked. Proper calcium intake should be ensured to protect the teeth.

What one should wear during pregnancy is very important and pregnant women should be conscious of their apparel. A pregnant woman should wear a good supporting brassier to hold her breast firm and it should be something that can be adjusted to the increased size of the breast and must also be comfortable. A tight elastic dresses should not be worn on the legs since it may cause or aggravate existing varicosities.

Clean and loose fitting clothes preferable those made from cotton should be worn and must be comfortable and not binding on the abdomen. Low heel shoes should be worn since high heels could affect the lower back and the lower abdomen and force a pregnant woman to lose balance. Douching is something that should not be encouraged at all during pregnancy and no intercourse is advised during the last months for fear of infection.

The document also focuses on deep relaxation techniques which enable a pregnant woman to achieve an altered state of consciousness - the day dream state.

Like day dreaming, deep relaxation is a perfectly normal, safe and healthy phenomenon. In this state one is conscious and yet remains oblivious to external distractions.

During daydreaming and deep relaxation, the mind adjusts to the alpha frequency range. The difference, however, is that in deep relaxation the mind is directed to specific beneficial goals you wish to achieve and not fantasies of daydreaming. Just as a magnifying glass concentrates the sun's energy powerfully focusing it into one spot, deep relaxation concentrates one's thoughts into one's powerful suggestion.

The document explained that during the post-partum period, hygiene is equally important because of the bleeding and drainage that occur after delivery. The body should be washed thoroughly with particular emphasis on the perineum areas and the breast. If there is a slight tear or episiotomy, the mother must look out for signs of redness, swelling, puckering or discharge from the vagina. She must change her pads frequently while her underwear must also be changed daily and more frequently.

The breast should be washed making sure the nipples are given the special care it deserves before the nursing of the baby. One good lesson a woman should not learn after getting pregnant is that " Cleanliness is next to Godliness". Women should conceive and fulfil the religious obligation to be 93fruitful and multiply". However this divine mandate calls for good hygiene. 8 March 07

Source: GNA