Mwaka Mwandwe :
“Disability is caused by breastfeeding while pregnant.” Is a common misconception about disability in #Namibia featured in our #SafetyReport.
Once is it established that a female is pregnant, ensuring that you protect your entire well being is crucial, not only to guarantee a safe delivery of a healthy baby but also for you, as an expectant mother to remain healthy. A mothers physical, mental and psychological state has an impact on her unborn baby.
It advised to space children, not only to guarantee the developing baby has adequate attention but also for the mothers body to recover and heal from all the changes it under went throughout the course of the pregnancy.
However, sometimes it so happens that a woman falls pregnant while still breastfeeding. The question is, Does this have an implication on either the unborn baby and the breastfeeding child?
Scientifically and biologically, if you are carrying as a safe pregnancy, this should not worry you too much. It is expected that this situation may cause uterine contractions that are not severe and are generally a result of the release of oxytocin, which your body produces during breastfeeding. This will not likely cause a premature delivery or miscarriage.
Other concerns boarded on hormones being produced by the body and are present in the milk may cause disabilities to the breastfeeding child, are predominantly baseless.
However, if the following symptoms are present while a pregnant mother is breastfeeding then consulting a doctor is a must to discuss your options that may encompass weaning your child:-
If you have a high risk pregnancy or in a precarious position of having preterm labour
If you experience bleeding or uterine pain
If you are carrying twins (www.americapregnancy.org)
It should be borne in mind that disabilities (mental or physical) in children are caused by several factors around genetics i.e. if a genetic does not work well or is not present, problems with chromosomes (these are the basically carry and transfer genetic information), environmental factors such as what the mother is exposed to e.g. alcohol, nutrition (if the pregnant woman has poor nutrition it may cause premature death, underweight and damaged spinal/neural systems for the baby),www.medicinenet.com)
It is therefore important to always seek consistent medical checkups and monitor your babies growth by enrolling in an antenatal care program at your local clinic and hospital, in order to reduce the risk of having a baby with disabilities and allow for child spacing & planning options.
It should also be borne in mind that we need to end the stigma and discrimination around children and people born different from what is perceived as the standard of normal. People with any form of physical or mental challenge require our love, support and encouragement to learn how to integrate their uniqueness with the community and promote their development as well as those around them.
Mwaka C. Mwandwe holds a BA in Psychology and History from the University of Zambia. She has been passionate about public health since she was 18 years old with key interest toward Adolescents and inclined to behavioral change and social justice. Her work experience, mainly in the NGO sector, have been bordered on Sexual Reproductive Health, life skills, human rights and the promotion of Gender Equality. She loves to read varieties of books, watch movies and subtitled series. Her favorite pet is a cat and if she had the chance, she would declare a world junk food day so she can proudly store chocolate for it. She has been Volunteer Manager for SAFIGI since 2016.
SAFIGI Outreach Foundation Ltd is a not for profit organization based in Zambia with a vision to raise a generation where girls are empowered, equipped and fulfilled in every aspect of their life, for the development of the entire world. To know more about SAFIGI’s goals and activities, visit http://www.safetyfirstforgirls.org