Giving Birth is Not Easy! Take Care

Posted by Seema Nigar Alvi on Thu, Apr 15, 2021  
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Someone has aptly said, Birth is, without a doubt, one of the greatest self -expressive and creative processes we can embark upon in womanhood. The wonder of life begins in the womb of a woman. Gloria Steinem-the American feminist, journalist, and social political activist, once said, Childbirth is more admirable than conquest, more amazing than self-defense, and as courageous as either one. Intrapartum care is imperative in order to ensure good care of the women going for labor as well as the safety of the newborn during labor as well as after birth.

Good quality intrapartum care is needed for ameliorating the following:  1. Maternal morbidity and mortality  2. Neonatal morbidity and mortality 3. Early breast feeding  4. Satisfaction quotient and happiness level  5. Safe environment and protection from avoidable harm In obstetrics, the intrapartum period is defined as the period from the initiation of labor till the end of the third stage of labor while the intrapartum care implies the care render to the baby and the mother at the time of delivery. Intrapartum Infections Intrapartum stage is quite vulnerable to infections. As we know infections are major contributors of maternal, neonatal and fetal complications. Commonly seen infections include ascending genital tract infections and blood-related infections spreading from the mother to the newborn. Ascending genital tract infections are mostly of bacterial polymicrobial origin.

Chorioamnionitis is the most frequent one and is characterized by the infection of amnion and chorion. Intrapartum risk factors responsible for the chorioamninitis comprises of prolonged labor, frequent multiple examination during labor, bacterial vaginosis, meconium, epidural anesthesia and use of internal monitoring. Complications 1. Maternal exhaustion 2. Infection 3. Fetal distress 4. Postpartum hamaerrhage Scope of Intranatal Care-  1. Hygiene and Cleanliness 2. Smooth delivery without any threat of injuring the mother or the baby 3. Preventing unwanted complications such as hypothermia, Birth is undoubtedly a hugely significant and life-changing incident.

The process of childbirth not only poses challenges to the mother and baby at the time of birth but also major physiological changes that facilitate the baby to adapt to life immediately after birth namely cardiovascular changes, regulation of body temperature, digestion, establishment of respirations and development of surrounding infection. Prompt and immediate vigilance and timely interventions from health professionals can positively influence baby's short as well as long term health and development. Immediate care of the woman after birth is crucial and includes assessment of her physical (any trauma sustained) and psychological condition, treatment of any complication, etc. Failure to do so can have detrimental repercussions on the physical, emotional and psychological wellness of the mother. The immediate care of the newborn should be synergized between assessing physical needs of woman and giving her ample space to relish the momentous and life changing event of her life.

Problem Statement- Despite the best practice initiatives taken by international organizations such as WHO and UNICEF, unsafe intrapartum practices still continue to exist. Most of the healthcare professionals are still using simple plain linen for draping the newborn and at some places the baby is even received in tray. This throws serious jeopardy to the newborn and is an important cause of hypothermia. Even the initial breast feeding is delayed as the newborn is not immediately handed over to the mother. Options Available Providing properly insulated towels-one for cleaning and the other for wrapping is an ideal option for avoiding falling body temperature resulting in hypothermia. This is a pioneer initiative as it not only provides sterilized towels for first handling of the baby and also checks the danger of hypothermia.

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