Care of Prospective Mothers During Pregnancy
PROSPECTIVE mothers should hold in their consciousness the ideals on the lines of which they would have their children evolve. A passive wish will not etch into the nervous system of the prospective child a formative desire--the mother must live her desires. Honesty must be lived--not simply paying debts agreed upon, but doing unto others as she would have others do unto her. This commandment, which is the foundation of ethics, is acted upon perfunctorily and ostentatiously by convention; but there is no soul-building force in it, and the mothers who would transmit ideal traits to their children must live them. In the performance of this function they may fool their neighbors, their friends, and their God; but they cannot fool the laws of biology--the laws of their being.
The grasping merchant prince transmits kleptomania to his beautiful daughter; the sins committed in secret are declared from the housetops; the tippling mother transmits dipsomania to her son; and the lustful parents stamp nymphomania on the daughter and libertinism on the son.
The reckless disregard for law and order that is racing rampant throughout the world is the materialization of the unholy practices etched into the plastic nervous system of children by parents.
Mothers, would you have your children normal, self-controlled, and happy? Then you must be. Do you want to have a normal--which is an easy--labor, and be able to nurse your child? Then live normally; avoid gluttony; control your emotion; learn to be poised; study (not read) "Toxemia Explained," and the "Cook Book." Cultivate the study and thinking habits. Enlarge your vocabulary by daily reference to a good dictionary. We cannot without words learn to think--stamp ideal habits on our children. We shall not need prohibition and other stupid laws when the mothers of our country cease to be food-drunkards and sensualists.
Fathers who are unwilling to do their part in the betterment of the coming race should not assume the responsibility.
Men and women must know more concerning their influence in shaping the lives of their children. Excesses of parents dull, and even inhibit, the moral development of children. Moral idiots are begotten in lust and conventional drunkenness. If the race is deteriorating, the fault lies in the habits and daily doings of parents.
If a mother wishes to have an obedient child--one that is sensible and lovable--she should live a sensible and lovable and obedient life herself, practicing self-control continually. If a mother would have a normal child, she must live a normal life.
Exercise.--All through pregnancy the tensing exercises, as given in my book, "Toxemia Explained," should be practiced daily. For the first few months, all the exercises may be used. As time goes on, the exercising may be a little less vigorous, selecting those exercises which do not bring much strain on the abdomen.
A limited amount of walking, housework, etc., may be carried on, always being careful about overstraining when lifting.
Bathing.--During this period the body should be kept particularly clean by giving the skin plenty of attention, so as to keep the skin-circulation as active as possible and elimination perfect. A warm sponge-bath should be taken, either night or morning, a thorough dry-towel rubbing should be given at night, or vice versa. Once a week the sponge-bath may be replaced with a hot-tub soap and water-bath, being careful not to soak the body too long in hot water. Hot-water bathing is enervating.
Douches.--If there is any leucorrhea, or any other discharge from the vagina, a douche should be taken each night before retiring, until it has subsided. Use quite warm water, with a tablespoonful of salt to the gallon of water.
Enemas.--If the bowels fail to move during the day, before retiring at night use a small enema of a pint of water. Put it into the bowels, allow it to remain for a short time, and then solicit a movement. If no results are obtained, do not worry--just let the bowels alone. If they do not move during the next day, repeat the enema at night.
Kidneys.--At least once a month, from the beginning of pregnancy, the urine should be examined by someone qualified to do so, to ascertain that all is well and no albumin is showing in the urine.
Corsets.--If a proper amount of exercise is taken regularly before pregnancy, and the ligaments and muscles of the abdomen and pelvis are so strengthened, very little support will be necessary. It is better to have as little binding as possible; but, if a support is necessary, there are some well-fitting maternity corsets on the market which are a great help. Supports are not necessary when eating and exercise are correct in amount.
Eating Habits.--The mother should not change her habits of eating during this period, except to see that she does not overeat. The breakfast should be light--merely a little fruit, such as apples, pears, oranges, grapefruit, berries, or any fresh fruit, according to season.
At noon, have a vegetable soup, prepared according to the directions given in the "Cook Book." Follow this with a good big combination salad.
At night, have the regulation Tilden dinners: meat one day, with two cooked, non-starch vegetables and a combination salad; the alternate days, a decidedly starchy food in place of the meat, with the vegetables and salad.
All fancy foods, such as pies, cakes, and desserts of all kinds, should be sidestepped. Just live as simply as possible.
Prospective mothers should watch their weight during pregnancy. Just before confinement a woman should not weigh more than ten pounds above her regular weight. At the beginning of pregnancy the increase in weight should be very little and the gain very gradual. If the weight increases too rapidly, the intake of food should be cut down, so as to hold the weight down.
Mothers should not follow the custom of eating for two, building excess weight, and suffer from the symptom-complexes of swollen limbs, varicose veins, kidney burden, Toxemia, surgery, enlarged womb, uterine catarrh, misplacements, fibroid tumor, and, in ten to twenty years, uterine cancer, etc. Children born of such parents develop into mediocre human animals. Their most characteristic inherited tendencies are appetite and passion. They mature early, and their sex-complex drives them into lust and every excess that gives a thrill. They soon bring on pronounced enervation and imperfect elimination, establishing chronic Toxemia, after which the organism subtilely builds organic disease. The tubercular diathesis builds pulmonary tuberculosis, after going through all the preliminary crises of Toxemia--namely, all the so-called catarrhal diseases. The mind and nervous system have their symptom-complexes. The glandular--the ductless and duct glands--have their share of composite derangement wished on them by Toxemia, occupation, and habits.
A child born of a gluttonous mother may die of childbirth injuries, or subsequent so-called diseases caused by disagreeing mother's milk or the hazards of post-natal readjustment
What is meant by post-natal readjustment is that a plethoric infant (a fat baby) will continue obese, and come to a premature end unless he is properly reduced. To do so requires much time Readjusting means proper food and exercise, continuing over a period long enough for the cell-tissue to be biologically educated out of its hydropic habit. Obesity is a disease, and, as in the case of all so-called diseases, when the cause is removed nature must have time to return to the normal.
Few fat people have the self-control to live in a manner, and for a sufficient length of time, for nature to get back to the normal. The same is true of all those suffering from all other so-called diseases. Should the fat boy live to maturity, his reproductive function will lack virility; and should he reproduce, the progeny would lack virility and vitality, and would die early. Most children of this type die within the second year, or suffer with digestive derangements, lose weight, become underweight from malnutrition, and continue throughout a life of thirty to seventy years of semi-invalidism. Fat babies are prone to die of diseases "peculiar to children." They do not bear up well under the so-called contagious diseases.
Morning Sickness.--Morning sickness is nature's punishment for past sins committed. Prospective mothers who have morning sickness have abused their privilege in all lines. They have sought pleasure to excess, have danced too much, and have imprudently cooled the body after being heated, by sitting in a draft, drinking too much water or soda-fountain beverages, or chilling the stomach too frequently with ices; and in their every-day lives they have eaten too much, too frequently, and of improper food combinations, and neglected to masticate and insalivate starchy foods properly. Instead of eating a reasonable amount morning, noon, and night, many have eaten five times a day, and sometimes oftener. The human body has its limitations, and everyone should try to learn what they are, and then respect them. The commonest drunkenness is food-drunkenness. Physical and mental pleasures enjoyed to excess are a form of drunkenness, and sooner or later bring on enervation. Those who are enervated fail to eliminate the waste-products of the body as fast as necessary, and toxins are retained in the system, bringing on what I define as Toxemia. People in this state are in line for catching colds, coughing, and having the lighter forms of so-called diseases, such as colds, headache, sore throat lasting a few days, fits of indigestion, constipation, and other so-called diseases.
A young woman getting married, after bringing on this state of her organism, is almost invariably troubled with morning sickness, because in all such cases there is a gastro-intestinal indigestion, if not catarrhal inflammation. A sensitive, catarrhal stomach is the commonest derangement of people who ordinarily pass as normal or healthy. Pregnancy in such subjects is accompanied by an extraordinary state of the stomach, which is called morning sickness--often it is an all-day sickness. These subjects continue abusing themselves with irregular eating and imprudent eating, which aggravates the so-called morning sickness. Those troubled with morning sickness should fast a reasonable length of time, and, when indulging in food, they should take a little fruit for breakfast. If fruit irritates the stomach, or the stomach rebels by becoming nauseated, this feeling should pass off before any more food is taken. If the discomfort lasts during the forenoon, no food should be taken at noon. Hot water, sipped slowly, in place of food, should bring some relief, and, to quiet the irritation of the stomach, hot water may be sipped at intervals all the forenoon. If the afternoon is spent in comfort without nausea, a light dinner should be indulged in in the evening--a small piece of broiled steak, a lamb chop, or any other meat desired, with one or two properly cooked vegetables and a combination salad. Bread or starches in any form should not be eaten. Certainly no eating of an improper character should be indulged in, such as cake, ice-cream, custard, as these will increase the nausea and prolong a recovery.
When comfortable, plain eating should be the rule: in the morning, if the stomach will accept it, a piece of dry toast, eaten without butter, masticating each morsel until liquefied in the mouth, and then followed with orange juice and water half and half, or any table beverage ordinarily used, except tea or coffee; at noon, fruit; and in the evening, the regulation dinner, similar to the one mentioned above. Avoid heavy eating until the nausea has entirely disappeared; then respect digestive limitations. Remember that self-control is transmissible.
Care of the Breasts After Childbirth.--Breast-pumps are builders of abscesses, if they are not used properly. When mothers are forced to their use, they should have them manipulated by someone who is well skilled in their use. I never advise the use of the breast-pump unless absolutely necessary. If there is no abuse or bruising of the breasts, there will be no cause for abscesses.
If for any reason it is necessary to dry up the breasts, it is not necessary to resort to the breast-pump to draw off the accumulated milk. This is often the cause of abscess. It is not necessary to take away the milk. If the breasts become feverish and swollen, the mother should lie down and put dry warm or hot applications over them. They may be painful for a short time, but it does not take more than a day or two to start the drying-up of the milk. This procedure is much safer and quicker than the use of the breast-pump. The milk dries up very rapidly after it has once started to do so. After about twenty-four hours of being swelled to the fullest capacity, the breasts begin to decline.
If the nipples become inverted, they should be drawn out daily and gently massaged.
The nipples may be hardened by gentle massage and daily washing with cold water.
Miscarriage and Abortion.--The word "abortion" means throwing-off of the foetus before the third month. It may be criminal abortion or brought on accidentally. After the third month it is called miscarriage. Abortions are frequently caused by over-excitement, long and tiresome rides, lifting and straining in housework, or excessive venery. This last-named cause is common to those wives whose consorts are sadly in need of knowledge of the true relationship of husband and wife. Excess brutalizes both husband and wife, breeds contempt, and often curses children before birth.
Mothers should keep quiet following an accident of the above-described kind. They should use hot douches three times a day. If there is pain, the family physician should be called. If no disagreeable symptoms appear, perhaps all that is necessary will be to use hot douches two or three times a day. No drugs are to be used in the douche, except a little salt or soda. When a disagreeable odor develops, a good doctor is needed. Cleanliness is the main thing; but, if there is any discomfort or fever following, a physician should be called who will give intra-uterine treatment. Neglect may cost a life.