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Postpartum practices among the Igbos in Nnewi Southeast, Nigeria



Postpartum practices among the Igbos in Nnewi Southeast, Nigeria



West African Journal of Medicine 32(4): 272-276



Women all over the world engage in some forms of postpartum practices aimed at keeping mother and child healthy. Although some of the practices are beneficial, some are of no value while some are out rightly harmful. The objective of this study was to determine the prevailing postpartum practices engaged in by Igbo women of South Eastern Nigeria. The above knowledge could be used to reinforce the beneficial ones while discouraging the harmful ones. This is a questionnaire survey of mothers attending infant welfare clinic of our hospital augmented by in-depth interviews of patients, nurses and nurse midwives. Three hundred and thirty (330) mothers were studied. The peak age group was 26 to 30 years (30%), 93% were currently married while trading was the most common occupation. Most of the mothers, 270 (81.8%) regularly drink hot water, 282(85.5%) bathed with hot water while another 270(81.8%) consistently took hot food. Three-quarter of the women or 250(75.8%) took very peppery food, 218(66.1%) tied cloth across the abdomen, 210(63.6%) applied hot compresses to the abdomen while 230(69.7%) regularly did sitz bath with hot water. One hundred and forty six (44.2%) resumed sexual intercourse within 12 weeks of delivery while menstruation returned within 12 weeks in 68(20.6%) of the mothers. Fifty four mothers(16.4%) test breast milk with ants to detect spoilt milk while 64(19.4%), 100(30.3%) and 176(53.3%) took hot water, palm wine and tea respectively to improve the flow of breast milk. Ninety four (28.5%) regularly apply mascara to their babies eyes to 'clear' the eyes. Although some of the postpartum practices engaged in by Igbo women were neither useful nor harmful, some were out rightly dangerous and should be discouraged. The findings would be incorporated in antenatal health talks.

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Accession: 055075682

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