This excerpt from a 1922 article, “Care of the Baby at Birth,” was written by by Dr Ralph Lobenstine and addresses the care of the mother immediately after childbirth.
The original story avoided getting too much into the nitty-gritty of postpartum life, noting in the introduction, “Dr. Lobenstine’s articles contain important information for parents. We feel that some of this material is not appropriate for publication in a general family magazine. A complete discussion of this important subject has been put in a pamphlet which any parent may obtain by sending ten cents in stamps to THE DELINEATOR Child Health Department.”
The first month of the new mother: General advice
The average lying-in period for the mother is quite uneventful, at least so far as complications are concerned. If she has had careful instruction and supervision during pregnancy and her health is good, and if her labor has not been too prolonged and has been conducted in a surgically clean manner, she should progress evenly and rapidly.
It is well to remember, however, that no matter what one’s social or economic position may be, the weeks following confinement are most important ones, so go slowly. The mother’s future health and happiness depend much upon taking things quietly and peacefully at this time…
The mother who has had no complications may sit up in bed on the fifth to the eighth day. She may sit in a chair on the ninth to the fourteenth day, and after the fourteenth day, walk about slowly and gradually, depending on the need and ability of each particular case.
Many mothers are forced to resume a fairly normal life again at the end of two weeks; others pride themselves in this, but this is altogether unwise. It should be avoided it possible. Make almost any sacrifice to have a rest and to come back slowly to household responsibilities at this time. Three weeks of quiet are well worth while. Many women have organic trouble the rest of their lives because they overexert themselves after childbirth.
Patients who are able to progress slowly should not go out of doors until the fourth week. The writer is conservative in this, but he knows the importance of this period of rest. All exercise should be begun slowly.
In closing, may the writer warn all new mothers and some fathers against undue anxiety and needless fretting. Happiness in the possession of a precious young life may be utterly marred by the loss of one’s sense of proportion.
If you are a fortunate young mother and are worrying, worrying over every little trifle, there is surely some consolation and relief in recalling the big inescapable fact that at the very moment you are so distressed, thousands of other mothers are doing exactly the same as you and with little or no real cause. No one can be blamed for anxiety over realities.
Make a friend of your doctor and your nurse. They are genuine help in times of need.