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Postpartum Care for New Mums: Nutrition and Self Care

This week, we had the opportunity to host an interactive WhatsApp chat on newborn care and development. Our Guest expert,  Dr Kelvin Kinuthia answered questions on postpartum care for new mums which answers we have compiled below.  Dr Kelvin Kinuthia is a consultant Obstetrician based in Magharibi specialists clinic. He has special interests in family planning, minimally invasive surgery, antenatal and postnatal care.


What is a preferred diet for nursing mums?

Nursing mums require a balanced diet with lots of fluids.


What activities are safe to do in the first few days after cs? What activities should I avoid?

Immediately after CS, one should avoid strenuous activity such as heavy lifting. One may perform simple household chores and walkabout. No sex for the first 6 weeks.


How should I take care of my stitches? What ointments should I use?

It depends on the type of stitches used during your operation. Most surgeries are performed using absorbable sutures that require no special ointments.


What can I do for postpartum pain?

Consult your doctor for painkillers.


How can you tell whether your cesarean scar is healing or something to get concerned about?

While it is normal to have mild to moderate pain after a CS, it should concern you if the pain not only persists but also increases one week after the operation. By the second week, the pain should be managed by your pain killers. Swelling and reddening of the surgical site are also danger signs to look out for.


When should you get worried about keloids?

Keloids are a concern due to their appearance mainly. Sometimes, they might hurt a little, or cause discomfort and itchiness. Aside from their appearance, Keloids should not worry one.


What if I give birth normally with stitches? How do I take care of them so that I can heal faster?

After a vaginal birth, some tears and cuts require stitching. We recommend maintaining good hygiene and cleaning the area with warm salty water.


Is it advisable to take care of yourself after birth(with the partner around), or must one get hired to help or a relative?

This differs from person to person. Some people are able to handle the newborn and themselves without external help. Best practice what you are comfortable with as there is no wrong way to go about it.


What are the warning signs and symptoms that should prompt me to seek care after giving birth?

Reduced foetal movements, vaginal bleeding, lower abdominal pain/cramping, leakage of fluid from the vagina, severe vomiting and diarrhoea, blurring of vision, difficulty in breathing, severe chest pain, fever, and swollen painful thigh or calf.


What causes mastitis and how dangerous is it to a lactating mum? What are the symptoms to look out for?

Mastitis is an infection of the breast tissue, mostly bacterial in origin. The symptoms are usually pain, swelling and sometimes pus discharge. It requires urgent medical attention.


I’m a first-time mum and I heard most mums complain about cracked nipples, what’s the cause and how is it treated?

Cracked nipples are mainly due to challenges in the baby latching on to the nipple. That, and being a first-time mum. Once cracked, the nipples should be kept clean and well oiled (you may use lanolin cream, but don’t forget to wash it off before breastfeeding).


What does it mean if the baby is in the posterior position and is the baby safe while in that position?

It means that the intrauterine baby’s back of the head is on the mother’s rectum/back. It may lead to prolonged labour and needing a Cesarean section.

How will one heal stretch marks?

Not much can be done about the stretch marks, but you can visit a dermatologist for options


What can I eat to ensure a continuous flow of breast milk?

Lots of fluids, balanced diet. Malted drinks like cocoa also help. For some people, fennel helps.


What usually causes a baby to be born prematurely?

There are many causes. It could be due to the foetus having an issue, the mother having some conditions such as a weak cervix or medical conditions.


What will happen to the foetus when one is pregnant and cries more often?

The fetus will not be affected. But the mum may need to seek help from a professional regarding her crying as it may be a sign of depression


How long does milk take to come out?

Some women will have milk coming even as they are in labour, while for some you may have to wait for 2-3 days.


When can one start applying nipple creams to prevent cracking? How to clean the nipple before giving birth?

No need to apply anything to prevent cracking. The best way to avoid cracking is proper breastfeeding technique and using warm soapy water to clean before rinsing with clean water.


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