Pregnancy and Childbirth
SYMPTOMSA variety of problems can occur during pregnancyranging from backache, constipation, stretch marks, and gas, to hemorrhoids, varicose veins, and miscarriage.
INTRODUCTIONPregnancy is that special 40-week period between conception and birth when the child grows and develops. A weight gain of 20-35 pounds is desirable and, in most cases, is in keeping with good health. But a number of problems can occur. Here are several of them. For more information, see "Morning Sickness," "Premature Labor," and "Miscarriage."
Many of the problems occurring during pregnancy are related to hormonal changes, nutritional needs, or various expansion pressures as the fetus continues to grow.
NUTRITIONProper nutrition is important. There is a 20% increase of blood volume during pregnancy. This requires additional complete protein.
A healthy diet during this time would include 2 fruits a day, 7 vegetables (including salads, grains, and other worthwhile foods), etc. Complex carbohydrates, best obtained in whole grains, are important.
Complete, vitamin/mineral supplementation is also important.
Vitamin A protects the immune system and avoids eye abnormalities, cleft lip, and cleft palate. Do not let vitamin A intake go over 10,000 IU daily. Excessive intake of vitamin A is linked to cleft palate, heart defects, and other congenital defects. Foods rich in vitamin A may also cause problems. But foods with natural beta-carotene are not harmful. (This is because it is only converted to vitamin A as it is needed.)
All the B complex is important. They help prevent leg, back, and joint pains in the mother during pregnancy.
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) prevents stillbirths, low-birth weight babies, and heart disorders. In late pregnancy and post-delivery, B1 requirements are greatly increased.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) prevents short limbs and cleft palate.
Vitamin B3 (niacin, niacinamide) prevents irritability, depression, disorientation, fatigue, nervousness, and muscular weakness.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) prevents several fetal abnormalities, including seizures, cleft lip, and cleft palate. Take 100 mg daily until birth, followed by only 50 mg daily. This is because an excess of B6 after delivery can hinder the amount of mother's milk produced.
Folic acid prevents anemia and birth defects. It is involved in cell growth and DNA production. But it is vital that this supplementation be started prior to conception. Take 400 mg daily. If there is not enough folic acid in the system during the first six weeks of pregnancy, spina bifida and anencephaly can result. But most women do not know they are pregnant until several weeks after conception has occurred. Therefore it is crucial that you be taking this vitamin regularly.
Vitamin C prevents infections and small babies.
Vitamin D works with calcium, to build strong bones.
All the vitamins are very important, but so are the minerals.
Magnesium helps prevent birth abnormalities and miscarriage.
Calcium prevents weak bones and teeth, premature births, and damaged nerves.
Although phosphorous is important you always get enough in your food. Too much blocks iron and calcium absorption. Soft drinks eliminate calcium. See "Bones, Strengthening."
The trace minerals are also important. Nova Scotia dulse and Norwegian kelp are good sources.
Iodine prevents thyroid problems, abnormal development, and certain types of mental retardation.
Zinc prevents dwarfism and limb defects.
Manganese prevents certain brain abnormalities.
Inadequate folic acid, manganese, and zinc (as well as amino acid imbalances) have been linked to mental retardation and deformities in the fetus.
Do not eat junk food of any type. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, spicy, fried, or overly processed foods. If possible, avoid all drugs.
SPECIAL NOTESIf at all possible, have your baby by natural childbirthand with the help of a midwife.
Be sure and breast-feed your baby for at least the first three months, and longer if possible. (see "Breast-feeding.")
Do not use an electric blanket. Studies indicate it may increase risk of miscarriage and problems in development.
Aspirin has been linked to fetal deformities, bleeding, and complications during pregnancy.
Do not use cinnamon in large quantities during pregnancy.
The drug, etretinate (Tegison), is prescribed for psoriasis, and can cause birth defects.
Avoid the following herbs during pregnancy: feverfew, goldenseal, black cohosh, tansy, angelica, bloodroot, celandine, dong quai, Oregon grape, rue, cat's claw, barberry, cottonwood bark, and pennyroyal.
Keep yourself healthy, so you can continue eating an adequate diet. Avoid long fasts, cleansing diets, or strictly limited diets during pregnancy and lactation (see "Eclampsia").
Do not take anything containing shark cartilage during pregnancy. It reduces production of new blood vessels.
Do not take supplements containing phenylalanine. This is an amino acid which can alter brain growth in the fetus. The sweetener, Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), contains high levels of phenylalanine.
A drug prescribed for acne (isotretinoin, under the trade name of Accutane) can cause birth defects.
Avoid mineral oil; it inhibits the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
Two medications, used to control seizures, increase by four times the risk of producing a baby with heart defects. These drugs are phenobarbital and phenytoin (Dilantin).
Drinking large quantities of coffee, cola drinks, or other caffeine sources can result in birth defects.
Certain chemicals in drugs can stunt fetal growth. These include acetaminophen (Tylenol, Datril, and others); antacids (Pepto-Bismol, Alka-Seltzer, Rolaids, Tums, Di-Gel, Maalox, Gelusil); aspirin; cough remedies; cold pills; antihistamines; estrogens; and decongestants.
INDIGESTIONEat smaller meals and chew your food well. Acidophilus, peppermint tea, ginger, and aloe vera juice will help. Also see "Indigestion." Do not take baking soda to alleviate indigestion, because the sodium content will increase fluid retention.
ANEMIAIt is important enough that you obtain enough iron, so you can avoid simple anemia. Natural iron herbal formulas, which include yellow dock and dandelion, will build up the blood. Chlorophyll, kelp, dulse, rice bran, whole grains, beans, dried apricots, and green leafy vegetables are other sources. But the very best source of iron is blackstrap molasses.
You should be aware of the fact that bottled iron supplement tablets frequently have the wrong kind of iron in them. Because it is not natural, it can block the absorption of vitamins E and A. Vitamin E is the antiabortion vitamin, and is needed in order to bring a baby to full term. Also see "Anemia."
CONSTIPATIONConstipation can lead to high blood pressure, water retention, toxemia (toxic blood), and injure both the mother and baby. It can also produce leg cramps, backache fatigue, and varicose veins. Also see "Constipation."
BACKACHEThe increase in weight and shift in center of gravity can cause problems if the mother does not maintain proper posture and avoid fatigue. The hormone, progesterone, tends to relax the muscles.
Do not wear high-heeled shoes, and do not stay in one position too long (see "Backache").
DIZZINESSEspecially during the second trimester, blood pressure drops as the uterus presses on major blood vessels.
Do not arise or change positions quickly. Breathe deeper when you sense that you need to do so.
BLEEDING GUMSThe gums tend to swell and become softer because of increased estrogen output. Give your teeth and gums special care, lest bleeding and infection occur.
GASFlatulence will tend to occur more frequently during pregnancy than normally. Try to determine which foods are causing the problem. Make sure you are obtaining enough fresh fruit and vegetables. (Also see "Bloating.")
MOOD CHANGESHormonal changes, stress, and nutritional needs affect this. Be sure and obtain enough B complex vitamins. Know that mood changes during pregnancy are normal and generally temporary.
FREQUENT URINATIONChanges in kidney function and uterine expansion frequently cause this. But do not reduce intake of liquids, thinking this will solve the problem!
GROIN PRESSURELigaments near the uterus can kink and spasm, causing a "stitch" on the right side. In later pregnancy, more direct pressure on the groin area can occur.
During a spasm, breathe deeply and bend toward the point of pain. Lay down and rest until the pain leaves. Be sure and maintain adequate daily exercises.
INSOMNIAThis is especially likely during the final weeks of pregnancy. At this time, it is more difficult to sleep comfortably.
Do not sleep until you feel like doing so. Include more B complex vitamins in your diet. (Also see "Insomnia.")
HEARTBURNThe expanding uterus presses on the stomach and causes fluids to push back up into the esophagus.
Do not eat fried, greasy, spicy foods. Avoid baking soda, coffee, alcohol, and antacids.
Do not bend over or lay flat for several hours after a meal.
While in bed, place pillows under or behind your abdomen. (Also see "Heartburn.")
VARICOSE VEINSThese will usually disappear after childbirth. Walk a mile a day, to increase circulation. Change positions frequently, and never cross your legs. Sit with feet elevated. If necessary, wear support hose. Do not wear bands on the legs (see "Varicose Veins").
HEMORRHOIDSConstipation and uterine pressure can induce formation of these. Drink more water. Increase intake of roughage, to soften stools. Keep legs elevated on a stool while eliminating. Apply cold witch hazel compresses to help shrink them. (Also see "Hemorrhoids.")
STRETCH MARKSThese are strips (often wave-like) which appear on the abdomen, breasts, buttocks, and thighs. They are pressure marks and do not totally leave, but after childbirth can become difficult to see.
Apply oil, once a day, all over the areas where the marks are likely to appear. The formula includes ½ cup of olive oil, ¼ cup of aloe vera gel, 6 capsules of vitamin E, and 4 capsules of vitamin A. Cut open the capsules, mix it all together, and apply.
LEG CRAMPSExtra weight on the legs, nutritional deficiencies, and too much salt in the diet can cause this.
Elevate the legs while sleeping, so they are higher than your heart. Do not stand in one place too long. Flex your feet every so often. Take adequate calcium and potassium. Apply a heating pad to the cramping area.
ENCOURAGEMENTWith the eye of faith, with child-like submission, trust your life to God, and He will wonderfully guide you. His promise is, "I will instruct and teach you."
SYMPTOMSNausea and vomiting by the mother between the sixth and twelfth weeks of pregnancy.
CAUSESAlthough called morning sickness, it can occur at any time of the day. Morning sickness is caused by rising progesterone levels, and is quite normal.
Morning sickness is said to be a cleansing of the body, to prepare a clean environment in which the fetus can properly develop.
But about 1 woman in 200 experiences an abnormal amount of vomiting and severe nausea. This can result in acidosis, malnutrition, dehydration, and significant weight loss.
Possible causes of this abnormal condition include drug toxicity, vitamin deficiency (especially of B6), pancreatitis, bile duct disease, inflammatory bowel disorders.
It can also be caused by the production of high levels of human chorionic gonadotropin, which is a hormone. Cysts in the uterus or multiple pregnancy can be the cause.
Morning sickness generally does not continue beyond the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. If there is persistent vomiting or nausea later, consult with your health-care provider.
At its worst, morning sickness can degenerate into hyperemesis gravidarum. In this situation, the mother-to-be has far too much vomiting and nausea; is overly dehydrated; not urinating properly; and cannot keep food, water, and juice down for over a period of 4-6 hours.
This condition can lead to pulse irregularities, electrolyte imbalance, and even kidney and liver damage. Ketones produced, when stored fat is broken down, can damage neurological development in the fetus.
How to avoid this danger? Do not stop eating and drinking fluids, even though you feel nauseated and vomit.
Because morning sickness is caused by rising progesterone levels, you need a complex carbohydrate (or possibly protein) snack upon awakening in the morning. This will relieve much of the nausea.
Keep crackers or whole-wheat toast near your bed and eat some as soon as you arise in the morning. Pop them in your mouth, chew well, and swallow; then place your feet on the floor.
It helps to keep some food in the stomach all day long. Eat small and frequent meals, but do not overeat. When needed, snack on whole-grain crackers, possibly with a little nut butter (but not peanut butter).
Another method is to carry some raw almonds with you, wherever you go. Make sure they are not old and stale.
Do not go without food or drink even though you feel nauseated and may vomit. You must continue to have both!
Vitamin B6 and the entire B complex is important. Essential fatty acids and a complete line of nutritional supplements should be taken.
Drink lots of fluids: water, fruit or vegetable juice, broth, or certain herbal teas.
Avoid fried and fatty foods.
Helpful herbs include dogwood, catnip, dandelion, mint, peppermint, and red raspberry leaf. Ginger is helpful in relieving nausea.
ENCOURAGEMENTThe Lord Jesus came to our world to save those who would come unto Him. But He can save no one against His will. In Him you can find the rest, courage, and peace of heart that you so much need.
SYMPTOMSThe fetus is ejected by the body prior to when normal delivery should occur.
CAUSES AND TREATMENTThere can be cervical incompetence, ectopic pregnancy (implantation of the fertilized egg into a fallopian tube), abruptio placentae (placenta separates from the uterine wall), placenta previa (implantation of the placenta over the cervical opening).
Other causes include emotional stress, general malaise, glandular disorders, and pregnancy-induced hypertension.
But a frequent, and often underlying, cause is malnutrition.
There can be deficiencies of vitamins, trace minerals, and/or protein. Vitamin A, folic acid, zinc, and complete amino acids are especially important. Vitamin E is the "antiabortion vitamin."
Taking iron supplements can block the absorption of vitamin E, resulting in a miscarriage.
It is vital that the mother-to-be take full vitamin/mineral supplementation, eat sufficient amounts of good nourishing food, and avoid junk food of all types.
Ignore the advice that you should eat what ever you want. If it is junk food, do not eat it! If it is real food and you crave it, then eat it.
Getting enough minerals in your diet will help you avoid a craving for sweets, chocolate, etc. The cravings come because not enough vitamins, minerals, and complete proteins are being consumed.
There can also be malabsorption syndromes, such as celiac disease. Do pulse tests (which see) to identify offending foods.
If you have had an earlier miscarriage, in order prevent another one, start on a fully nourishing diet six months before planned conception.
Helpful herbs include cramp bark and alfalfa.
ENCOURAGEMENTJesus understands. Go to Him and give Him all your heart. Trust your future to Him, and He will wonderfully guide.
SYMPTOMSThe baby is born a number of weeks ahead of schedule.
CAUSES AND PREVENTIONPremature labor is the onset of rhythmic uterine contractions prior to fetal maturity, and is most likely to occur between the 20th and 37th weeks. About 5%-10% of infant deaths are premature.
For possible causes and prevention, read "Miscarriage." It may avert this possibility.
ENCOURAGEMENTThe closer we are to God, the happier we are. Take time with Him in prayer. Lay out before Him all your trials and sorrows, and He can provide the answers you need.
TOPICA few helpful facts about when you give birth to your child.
TO MAKE LABOR EASIERTake training classes, to help you relax during contractions, to reduce pains, help train the coach to assist, and how to recognize potential problems.
Helpful herbs include blue cohosh and corn ergot.
TO STOP POST-PARTUM HEMORRHAGERaspberry tea can be used to stop post-partum hemorrhage. Give it either orally or intramuscularly).
TO STOP AFTER-BIRTH PAINSWild yam, cramp bark, and black haw are specific herbs which help reduce after-birth pains and cramping throughout the pelvic area. Hot fomentations over the area, after a warming liniment has been rubbed into the skin, is useful.
Warm whole baths help the pain subside. Make sure the bathtub is sterile beforehand.
Fast on vegetable juices and broths until the pains are gone.
Once the pain is relieved, apply a castor oil pack for an hour.
ENCOURAGEMENTLet God's Word, the Bible, be a lamp to your feet and a light to your path. In Him you can find the help you need.
SYMPTOMSPre-eclampsia: Sudden weight gain, high blood pressure, albuminuria, headaches, dizziness, spots before the eyes, epigastric pain, edema (swelling) of the legs and feet.
Eclampsia: Symptoms of pre-eclampsia, plus convulsions and coma. The convulsions begin with fixation of the eyeballs, rolling of the eyes, twitchings of the face, arms, and hands. Then coma with temperature at 103o-104o F. The person can die in the coma.
CAUSESBeginning about the turn of the century, physicians have sometimes prescribed women to keep their weight down in order to have smaller babies (which are easier for the doctor to deliver).
But such arbitrarily restricted dietslow in protein, salt, and watercan lead to serious consequences.
The sudden weight gain occurs because of fluid retention, due to low blood protein, high blood pressure, and albuminuria.
If pre-eclampsia is not treated properly, then it develops into eclampsiaan even worse form of the disorder.
Both forms of this disorder occur after the 20th week of pregnancy. The orthodox treatment is to place the woman in the hospital, wait until convulsions occur, and then give her barbiturates. But what she needs is nourishing food.
Diet, blood pressure, and weight must be watchedbut proper nutrition and fluid intake is most important.
A balanced high-protein diet. Do not restrict salt. Take seaweed products for trace minerals, also a full vitamin/mineral supplement. (See "Pregnancy-related Problems" for a detailed list of nutritional needs.)
Take B6 (100 mg daily until birth, then only 50 mg daily) and 10-12 glasses of water or fruit juice a day, especially in the hot months.
ENCOURAGEMENTThe old song says, "Trust and obey, for there is no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey." And how very true that is.
TOPICHelpful suggestions on nursing your child. Try to nurse him for 9 months, if at all possible.
NUTRITIONBreast-fed babies are less susceptible to SIDS. In addition, they have less allergies, respiratory diseases, hypoglycemia, obesity, and gastroenteritis. In addition, both mother and child are happier and bond together better. The infant has better health and adapts much better to later physical and emotional situations which develop.
A high-calcium diet is very important in maintaining a good milk supply. (See "Bones, Strengthening" for lots of information on obtaining enough calcium.) Be sure and get enough sunshine for vitamin D.
A high-protein diet is also very important. Take B complex, plus all the other vitamins and minerals, along with a sizeable amount of brewer's yeast at every meal. You tend to have to stuff yourself on yeast and calcium foods in order to have enough milk for your baby.
Keep yourself healthy, so you can continue eating an adequate diet. Avoid long fasts, cleansing diets, or strictly limited diets during lactation.
Keep your bowels open, and clean with high-fiber foods.
Drink lots of lemon juice.
Avoid sage tea, for it dries up the milk.
Avoid mental depression, violent exercise, beans, onions, and cabbage. They upset the baby.
Do not smoke while nursing! Avoid caffeine, liquor, junk food, fried food, and drugs.
Be happy, rest often, and pray that God will help you raise a child who is dedicated to Him.
To increase milk supply, helpful herbs include milkweed, caraway, goat's rue, and fenugreek.
To reduce milk supply (or the pain of breast engorgement), the herb, goldenrod, is helpful.
For sore nipples, use sunshine or the light of a light bulb close enough to feel warm but not burn.
From the beginning, give the baby a little water, gradually increasing the amount. Give tomato juice, starting with a half teaspoonful at about the age of one month. At 3 months, begin a little blended food. By 9 months, the baby should be eating a variety of carefully prepared natural foods.
When the baby is six months old, dilute 4 teaspoons of whole-wheat flakes in boiling water till entirely dissolved, put through a fine sieve, and add to the baby's bottle (if you are giving him a bottle by then). A little powdered oatmeal can also be added.
When the first teeth appear, begin feeding wholesome simple foods in puree form, such as greens, vegetables, fruit juices, and gruels.
Do not give the infant cane sugar in any form. This can lead to fever and various ailments. Use malt sugar. Do not give infants honey or orange juice.
Do not give the infant meat!
Feeding an infant meat, cane sugar, white-flour products, candies, or soft drinks causes him to lose his taste for simple, natural foods; and is responsible for rickets, scurvy, tonsil trouble, night terrors, anemia, and convulsions.
BREAST-FEEDINGThere are certain principles which, if followed, will avoid sore, fissured, and possibly infected nipples.
Try to wash your hands before handling your breasts.
Position the baby properly. His entire body should face you. His buttocks should be in one hand, and his head in the bend of your elbow.
The other hand is under the breast, with all four fingers supporting it. But do not place your fingers on the areola (the darker area around the nipple).
(Ififyour hands are clean, you can rub the nipple lightly to firm it. Pinching it lightly flattens the nipple, to fit his mouth better.)
Do not try to toughen your nipples by vigorously rubbing them. This can damage them.
As you tickle the baby's lower lip with your nipple, his mouth will open wide. When it is open wide, pull his body in quickly. His mouth should fix on the areola, and the nipple should be deep in his throat. At least an inch of the areola should be in his mouth. In this way, there is no movement of the nipple as the infant sucks.
If you feel pain, do not delay, but immediately use your finger to break the suction and reposition him. Place a finger inside the corner of the infant's mouth to allow air to enter and break the vacuum.
La Leche says that 95% of the nipple soreness problems are caused by the way the baby sucks, and can be corrected.
Leave him on a breast as long as he is sucking effectively (swallowing every suck or two). If he begins pausing, burp him, wake him, switch sides, and let him nurse as long as he wants. Feeding time is usually 20-30 minutes.
(But, for the first few days, it may be necessary to limit feeding periods to 5 minutes on each breast, before rotating to the other. It is very important that you work with the baby properly, so that you avoid fissures developing on, or near, the nipple.)
Do not let him remain on the breast after he has finished actively feeding. (See "Mastitis" for reasons for many of these precautions.)
The next time you start, begin on the breast you ended with previously. Always have him nurse on both sides.
You will find that the baby will want to nurse oftenfrequently 8-12 times a day in the early weeks. God designed that these frequent feedings would bond the infant to his mother.
Break the suction of the infant's mouth on the breast by inserting a finger into the corner of his mouth, not just pulling the nipple out of his mouth.
After feeding, empty the breasts manually or with a breast pump until supply and demand reach an equilibrium.
Air-dry the breasts after each feeding, before covering them. (Exposing the breasts to the air for 20 minutes at a time, two or three times a day, is helpful.) A 40-watt bulb can be placed near them for 15 minutes at a time. Never use breast pads that might retain moisture (especially those with plastic in them). Do not wear bras with plastic liners. If needed, place a folded handkerchief there.
Nipple cleanliness is important, but never use soap on the nipples; it dries them out. The milk contains its own oil and also a self-cleaning antiseptic. Leave a little on at the end of each feeding, to lubricate and soften the nipple.
Baby saliva contains an enzyme which softens the skin. So, if possible, wash the nipples with clean water. (Water or alcohol applied to the nipple will toughen the skin and assist in preventing sore nipples.) Or, better yet, place some mother's milk on them.
If a nipple becomes sore, put a little milk on it. The nipples should be checked daily; and, if they are sore or cracked, treatment should begin promptly; do not wait. (See "Mastitis.")
Clothing worn next to the breast should always be soft and non-irritating. Cotton is generally best.
Avoid plugged ducts. Binding clothes, fatigue, or prolonged periods without nursing can cause them. If not dealt with promptly, infection can begin. A place on the breast will feel hard and painful to the touch. Get rid of it by massaging the breast, starting at the chest wall and working down with a circular motion. It is important that you let the baby nurse on that side frequently. The sucking clears out the duct better than anything else, generally within 24 hours.
Feed the baby before the breasts become too full; the infant has difficulty grasping the breast. Stasis of milk (when it is not flowing on out, but remaining in the breast too long) helps lead to mastitis.
If the baby is fed before he is hungry, he will not suck the nipple too vigorously. Never allow him to chew the nipple.
If the nipples become sore, place some cold grocery-store tea (containing tannic acid) on a folded tissue and lay it on the area for 20 minutes; then dry and expose it to air for 20 minutes. Rinse it before the next nursing. The tannic acid will promote healing.
Poultices of comfrey root or leaf may be used for sore nipples.
If a nipple is cracked, pierce a vitamin E capsule and apply the oil just after nursing. Do not use very much.
If the baby is not taking as much milk as you are producing, and you are getting too full, apply hot, wet, compresses to the breast. This will open up the ducts and increases the flow. Then nurse the baby more often and longer. Drink more fluids, so you can urinate every hour.
Also see "Mastitis." That article will also explain prebirth preparation of the nipples.
ENCOURAGEMENTOnly the love that flows from the heart of Christ can heal. Only He can restore the wounded soul. Submit your life to Him every day and obey His Written Word, and you will find the help you need.
SYMPTOMSBreast inflammation: redness, pain, fever, inflammation, chills, hard swelling, malaise, headache, and possibly swollen cervical and/or axillary lymph nodes.
CAUSESMastitis generally occurs between the fifth day after childbirth to the second or third weekand especially occurs to mothers nursing their first baby. Usually limited to one breast, it must be treated promptly or an abscess may develop. But treatment must be started within 12-18 hours after the first symptoms are noted.
The breast and milk duct system has been invaded by staphylococci invading a fissured or cracked nipple.
Causes include shallow grip on the nipple by the infant (see "Breast-feeding"), incomplete emptying during each feeding, blocked duct, poor nipple care and hygiene, irritating clothing, engorged breast because of trying to wean the child off milk, irritating clothing, or lack of proper nipple preparation prior to lactation. See "Breast Feeding" for proper routines.
Breast engorgement results from incomplete emptying each time. There can be excessive sucking by the infantif he is not properly positioned on the nipple (see "Breast-feeding").
Do not stop nursing the baby because you have mastitis! The milk is not infected, the baby needs it, and you must keep giving it for months to come. The milk gives the baby valuable antibodies. If you stop nursing, the mastitis could more easily lead to an abscess in the breast.
Go to bed, drink lots of clear fluids, and nurse more frequently.
Alternate hot and cold compresses are often all the treatment required. Apply a hot compress for 3 minutes, then cold for 30 seconds. Do this 3 times, and repeat the series 2-3 times each day.
Sometimes a continuous cold application is preferred. If so, give a hot footbath at the same time.
Nurse the affected breast twice as often, but for shorter periods of time. Try to keep it emptied. Let no one tell you that you should stop nursing if you have mastitis! Keep nursing; you will recover more quickly and the baby will not be injured.
Obtain plenty of rest, including frequent rest periods throughout the day.
PREVENTIONThe article, "Breast-feeding," contains many important points.
Prevention of mastitis begins prior to childbirth. For 2-3 months, the mother-to-be must get her nipples ready for lactation. She should massage the nipples daily with chickweed ointment. Vitamin E may also be used. Perform the "nipple pull" several times each day during a shower.
During breast-feeding, position the baby right. Place the baby on breast correctly, emptying the breast fully, and break suction properly. This should be followed by emptying the breast with a hand pump, if necessary. Nipple cleanliness is also important. Proper clothing should be worn. All this and more is explained in "Breast-feeding."
Also see "Fibrocystic Breast Disease."
ENCOURAGEMENTThere are many whose hearts are aching under a load of care. Go to God with your trials and problems, and find in Him the solutions you so much seek.