Just 44% of women who give birth in Kenya receive support from a skilled birth attendant (SBA). This means thousands of women are going through long and painful labor alone. This can be traumatic, especially if something goes wrong. So, how do you cope after going through distressing labor?
Express your emotions
7% of mothers in Kenya go through labor and birth alone. Giving birth is scary and you may feel like a failure if things don’t go to plan. Don’t bottle these feelings up, though. Talk to friends and family members about your experience. Many of the women in your life will have gone through a similar experience, so it’s good to let all your emotions out.
Research shows that talking about emotions is good for your mental health, for acceptance, and for self-soothing. If you’re one of the 21% of Kenyan women who had a friend or family member by your side during your labor, it’s best to talk things through with them. There may be gaps in your memory which they’ll be able to fill in. They’ll also be able to support you as you try to move on from your experience.
Seek professional help
One study found that labor complications were more likely when an SBA was present. An SBA is usually a nurse, midwife, or doctor, so you’d expect them to be able to deal with any labor or birth issue. However, mistakes still happen. In Kenya, this is often because doctors are overworked.
Every year, 3,000 women in Kenya experience obstetric fistula – a birth-related condition that can be debilitating. When an SBA makes a mistake, it can affect the baby’s life too. For example, they could have bruises or fractures if instruments are used during delivery. More serious cases can result in cerebral palsy. This often happens when a professional doesn’t monitor the labor properly or when there are delays intervening in the birth. You can get help from a cerebral palsy lawyer if your baby is born with the condition. They’ll investigate your case and negotiate the appropriate amount of compensation for you and your baby.
Bonding with your baby is more important than ever after a troublesome birth. Be sure to spend as much time as possible doing skin-to-skin contact. It’s recommended that you do skin-to-skin time with your baby for between three and six months. This experience is relaxing for both you and your tot and it’s a great bonding exercise. Where possible, try to breastfeed too.
61% of babies in Kenya are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. Breastfeeding encourages you to spend more time with your baby so your bond will be greater. It even stimulates a maternal hormone in your body which will help your nurturing instinct.
Sadly, many women go through traumatic labors which they’ll never be able to forget. But it is possible to move on from them. Hopefully, these tips will help you get all the help and support you need to do this.