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The Period

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This is the phrase applied to the time follow big labour till the mother is able to be about again. It is also called the puerperium. For the first few hours after labour the mother should continue to lie on her back, and after that time as she pleases.

Sleep is of infinite value. The nurse should lose no time in clearing away all soiled things, tidying the room, and leaving the mother to rest, taking care to be within easy call.

After the mother has had a good rest, a regular routine should be begun.

Diet.----The mother should be• fed at abso lutely regular hours to a minute. The material should be chiefly liquid, the quantities small, the intervals correspondingly brief. The fol lowing will be found a suitable dietary : 6 a.m.: Cup of tea, with fresh toast and butter or plain bread and butter.

8 a.m.: Tumbler hot milk, bread and butter; or porridge and milk; or bread-and-milk saps.

11 a.m.: A small cup of thin soup, no bread. 1 p.m.: A large cup of soup With finely chopped vegetables, dry toast; or some milk pudding and milk.

4 p.m.: A cup of tea and a biscuit.

7 p.m.: A tumbler of hot milk with bread and butter.

10 p.m.: Gruel.

During the night, but only if desired, a cup of hot milk may be given.

Water may be given in small quantities whenever wished.

A drinking-cup is used, the mother not being permitted to sit up for any purpose.

This diet is quite sufficient for the first four or five days. After the bowels have been moved, but not till then, the mother being well and free from any feverishness, the 1 p.m. meal may consist of a lightly-boiled egg, with milk and bread and butter; or a fish with bread and butter.

5 p.m. will then be the afternoon tea, and the other meals as before.

After two or three days longer, chicken, cut let, &c. may be given at 1 p.m., with a potato and a little vegetable.

Attention to the bladder must be given by the nurse from the beginning. Within six or eight hours after labour the bladder should be emptied. If this does not happen, the patient may be allowed to move round to try to empty the bladder, and if this fails, warm cloths should be applied over the front. If medical assistance

is obtainable, delay should not be permitted in sending, and if that is not at hand, the nurse should delay as long as possible before she takes the responsibility of doing anything herself.

If, however, because of pain or the time that has elapsed, it becomes necessary to pass a catheter, the nurse cannot take too much care to avoid infection of the bladder. The catheter —the pure rubber by preference—should first be boiled for several minutes (see p. 634). Then, before removing it from the boiling water, the nurse should sterilize her hands, that is render them free of infective material, by the course stated on p. 636. The catheter should then be removed from the boiling water and dropped into a perfectly clean vessel with a solution of carbolic acid (1 to 40), or of lysol (half tea spoonful to a pint). The patient is then turned on her back, and the clothes so arranged as regards the light, that, with the thighs sepa rated, a good view of the parts is obtained and the urinary entrance plainly seen. A perfectly clean towel is then placed under the patient, the parts then carefully cleansed with warm water and soap, and then carefully bathed with lysol solution of the above strength. Then the nurse, holding the lips of the passage apart with one hand, gently passes the catheter into the urinary passage with the other, a slight screwing movement being used. The outer end of the catheter should dip into a vessel per fectly clean. On withdrawing the catheter the nurse should take care to pinch it in order to prevent any urine running from it over the parts, and the parts should be cleansed anew with lysol solution and dried with gamgee.

The catheter should be immediately washed; clean water should be run through it; it should then be boiled and laid aside in a piece of clean gamgee.

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