Harmful Traditional Practises After Giving Birth

Despite the fact that some traditional birth practices have reduced with western education and civilization, in parts of Nigeria some of the following harmful traditional practises still take place.

In the northern part of the country, one of the harmful practices a pregnant woman in labour may be subjected to is “Gishiri cut” or “Yankan Gishiri”.

A traditional practice that involves performing surgical cut on any aspect of the vaginal wall using razor blade or knife. Yes, razor blade. The commonest site is the anterior vaginal wall or less commonly posterior and lateral walls.

It is commonly done during the first delivery as a solution to obstructed labour. It is usually performed by traditional birth attendants, local herbalist or barber.

At the end, complications such as severe bleeding leading to shock, excruciating pain, vesicovaginal fistula, and spread of infections like HIV and hepatitis and painful intercourse may occur later.

Some other harmful practises is wankan jego which includes taking hot bath, lying on hot bed and taking large amount of ‘kunun kanwa’ [a lake salt rich in sodium. It’s still widely practised although with greater awareness of how hazardous such practises can have on their health the practise is diminishing.

The practise is very rampant in rural areas where literacy is low and firewood is relatively cheap and available. Immediately after the woman delivers, she is subjected to bathing with scalding hot water, morning and night.

After the bath,  the new mother remains in a well-heated room with a fire or fire glowing underneath a specially constructed dried mud bed, which can retain heat for several hours. A special gruel or pap is prepared from guinea corn or millet with potash and pepper is given to the mother regularly as medicine to increase the quantity and quality of breast milk.

Meanwhile, potash has high sodium content but very little potassium and can cause hypertension and heart failure, but do they know this?

Other complications that may occur due to wankan jego include burns injury, severe hypertension, eclampsia and heart failure, and subsequent death.

Finally, these practices do not have any benefit on the women who practice them and in contrast have hazardous effects, and hence our society should abandon them for the better.

These are some of the harmful practises practised in the Northern part of Nigeria, do we have any such in the South and East? And are there such practises with new borns?

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4 Things You Can Blame On Pregnancy

Tell me, did you ever use pregnancy as an excuse to get out of a situation you don’t want to be in? Well I did! But seriously, it’s the only reward you get during pregnancy that is, until you give birth to your baby. One look at your bump and people will let you off. I didn’t have to queue to enter BRT bus, even in banks, men take one look at me and allow me get to the front and do my transaction like fast fast.

It makes all the pains and sores of pregnancy a little more bearable, and here are some of the things we blame on pregnancy;

Pregnancy brain

This is the short form for forgetfulness. If you’re pregnant and you forgot to do something or how to do it, don’t worry people won’t blame you, they’d blame it on pregnancy brain. My MIL heard my husband blaming me for forgetting to put his packed lunch in the car, you can’t believe she berated him, “don’t you know she’s pregnant? Pregnant women have a tendency to forget” Since then, I made forgetfulness my excuse, and he was quick to let things go, funky yeah?

Weird food combinations and cravings

Trust me, every unhealthy food that I wouldn’t eat on a normal day without being questioned is what I eat when I’m pregnant, I especially loved “nzu (chalk)” and cold water, garri and groundnut and no one can take them from me. Some women hate eating the foods cooked by their hand during pregnancy, they’d rather they eat their neighbour’s food or one cooked by someone else but them. Did I tell you about how I loved eating rice and okro? Which I would normally not eat.


Not engaging in any strenous activity

If you don’t want to wahala yourself, pregnancy is your best excuse, “Eh! Can you please help me sweep the floor, I can’t bend” Even strangers become generous when they see you are pregnant, “let me help you carry that bag” they’ll offer to help because it looks heavy”. Even though you might be overwhelmed by the attention and everyone being at your beck and call, don’t get used to it, because it’s not healthy. To be strong you need to move around and work.

Body aches

Your ribs may hurt, your body may ache and you may constantly need a pain relief medication. For me, my legs were always swollen, so I’d beg hubby for a massage, with my leg stretched on the table I’ll relax and have dear hubby minister to my needs, after all it’s our baby. If I’m good, I get a body massage too.

But pregnancy can do mean things to someone, your back will hurt, your legs may ache and your feet will be all swollen, there will be times when you’d need help standing up from the chair and you may be waddling like a whale instead of walking.

At the end when you sight and hold your wriggling baby in your hands, your joy will know no bound, and all the pains will be forgotten. Meanwhile, use pregnancy to get some pampering, but don’t be lazy!

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