This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
After the child has been born and its immediate wants attended to, the binder or abdominal bandage should be applied to the mother. The binder consists of a double thickness of strong muslin cloth or a large linen towel. It should be applied in such a way as to give the mother the least possible amount of inconvenience in the application. In fastening, it should be drawn so as to fit the body snugly and should be pinned from before downward. The bandage is generally applied more tightly than is necessary, the serious consequence of which is not infrequently prolapsus of the womb. In case there is any marked tendency to hemorrhage after the birth, a folded towel should be laid over the womb beneath the bandage. The soiled clothing should next be removed. The patient should be washed and wiped dry, and a dry clean sheet with old cloths for absorbing the discharges should be placed beneath the patient. Care should be taken that the patient is warmly covered. A slight shivering will often occur, but this is generally from nervousness. If the patient has lost much blood or is very weak, the head should be placed low; only a very small pillow or none at all should be used. The patient should now be allowed to rest. Simple drinks may be allowed at pleasure, but stimulants are rarely called for. The patient will generally fall to sleep if allowed to do so, and wall awake after two or three hours very much refreshed. Food may be taken at regular times, but should be simple and unstimulating. Milk, toast, oatmeal porridge, and occasionally soft boiled eggs, should constitute the chief diet. Beefsteak and other meats are better avoided.
Attention should be given to the bowels and bladder. If the bowels do not move by the second day, an enema should be administered. Either tepid water or flaxseed tea may be employed. The bladder should be emptied within a few hours after labor. If there is inability to urinate, a warm fomentation may bo applied over the bladder between the thighs, or a warm douche administered. This will usually bring relief, especially the latter measure, the patient being directed to urinate while the douche is being given. If these simple measures do not succeed, it will be necessary to use a catheter. The bladder should be relieved two or three times a day.
For the first day, the discharge from the womb is of a bloody character; after this, it gradually becomes watery, and in from three to five days it becomes thicker. This is termed the lochial discharge, and generally continues from one to three weeks. It is often checked for a day or two at the time when the milk secretion begins. In order to prevent the discharge from becoming offensive, as is sometimes the case, the vaginal douche should be taken at least twice a day; and when the discharge is very profuse, more frequently. The water employed should be quite warm, and should contain a teaspoonful of carbolic acid dissolved in a tablespoonful of glycerine or alcohol to the quart of water. The injection of hot water not only cleanses the parts, but stimulates complete contraction of the tissues, and thus prevents danger from hemorrhage, and hastens the process by which the organ returns to its natural size. A solution of permanganate of potash in the proportion of a teaspoonful of the crystals to a quart of water, is also an excellent injection for use when the discharge is offensive. The carbolic acid solution should be thoroughly shaken before it is used. When blood reappears in the discharges after a few days, it is an indication that the process referred to is not taking place regularly and satisfactorily. This is generally the result of the patient's getting up too soon.