Warning: session_start(): Cannot send session cookie - headers already sent by (output started at /home/ifeume1/naturalnigerian.com/wp-content/themes/nn/header.php:3) in /home/ifeume1/naturalnigerian.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-welcome-message/wp-welcome-message.php on line 371

Warning: session_start(): Cannot send session cache limiter - headers already sent (output started at /home/ifeume1/naturalnigerian.com/wp-content/themes/nn/header.php:3) in /home/ifeume1/naturalnigerian.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-welcome-message/wp-welcome-message.php on line 371

Source

I had a baby about 8 years ago. After the baby, my stomach was quite dark, which was alarming as the rest of my body remained fair complexioned.  I was pretty certain nothing would ever remove that color. Also, like Kate Middleton has shared with us, I had a slight bump as a leftover from the pregnancy.

Two weeks later, the bump and the dark color were gone. My stomach was flat (even flatter than it is now, 8 years on).

I am going to attribute this to genetics as well as the care I was given post pregnancy by my mother. In Igbo tradition, it is called omu gwo. She “bathed” me, cooked for me and helped care for my baby so as to give me some time to rest/recover and acclimatize myself to motherhood.

Again, this is one of the things that I think our ancestors did right. I am sharing my experience today in case there is anyone out there that may benefit from it.

During bath time, my mother would literally slap my stomach with a towel that had been dipped in almost scorching hot water. To say that it was a labor of love on her part is to grossly understate it. The water was always so hot that she would barely be able to hold the towel in her hand while she wringed some of it out before slapping and then rubbing my stomach down with it. Yet, she did this twice a day for over a week. I would then be made to sit on a sitz bath. We used only hot water but some people add beneficial herbs like Eucalyptus leaves.

My meals were typically yam pepper soup also known in Igbo as ji mmiri oku, or Ofe Nsala/White Soup soup with pounded yam. The soups were cooked with a blend of spices that would were specially chosen for new mothers. They are Uziza ,Ehuru and Uda (these are Igbo names, more information below). These are purported to help flush any lochia out. *This is very important as any lochia that remains in the body after a certain amount of time may cause puffiness in the face and legs.

Uda

Source

I did not have much of an appetite (plus I am not a big fan of yam) so I would usually have the peppersoup ( mmmiri oku) or the Ofe Nsala and not the yam itself. On reflection, I suspect that this helped to keep my weight down.

Ehuru – Calabash Nutmeg

 Source

The one part of the “treatment” that I did not follow was using a wrapper to tie my stomach down in order to flatten it. My mum asked me to do so but I would always take it off whenever she went to work as it gave me a back ache. If you choose to do this, please know that I have heard a lot of people claim that doing so left them with folds on their stomach as the wrapper never really stays 100% flat against the stomach and since the stomach is still soft and somewhat malleable after birth, it would follow the bumps and creases formed by the wrapper. This is of course anecdotal; I have no scientific evidence tying the wrapper leads to any folds in the stomach.

Do you have any local tips for post pregnancy care?

Resources

*Pg 125, Chapter II.16, You and Your Health by Elizabeth Kafaru

Uziza (use seeds and leaves) – piper guineense – West African Pepper

Ehuru (use seeds) – Monodora myristica – Calabash Nutmeg

Uda (use seeds) – xylopia aethiopica – African Negro Pepper (huh? right?)

39 Comments

jenn

Thanks for this. i think the gods will indeed bless our ancestors for coming up with this practise. It is one of the most valuable traditions that has been passed down over the ages and it is incredibly helpful. I have had 2 ceasarian sections for my 2 kids and so i didn’t require sitz baths but i can honestly say that my tummy is as flat as ever and my post-op scars are barely visible. And all of this is thanks to my darling mum and the 2 months she spent with me. Now she didnt use hot water on my tummy cos of my scar but she made me ji mmiri oku every morning which she said helps the tummy go in as the womb involutes. She also got Abuba eke (python fat) which i applied on my scar every day after 6 weeks. Thanks to the half glass of fresh palmwine she gave me the day after delivery, i never had breastfeeding challenges and when i was engorged in my first pregnancy, she helped me ease it with hot water massages. She was an invaluable resource of knowledge and help. Thanks to my mum, i stayed sane. She made sure i rested, especially with my son who was such a colicky baby. But she also made sure i got enough exercise; she went on walks with me and encouraged me to start working on my tummy early. Seriously, our ancestors were geniuses because birth can be such an overwhelming experience and you need someone to be there for you who has experience and who better than your mum? My mother was amazing! People dont believe i had ceasarians because by 6 months i looked like i did prior to pregnancy, back in my size 10 clothes, healthy and adjusted. I pray i am alive by the time my daughter goes through this to be able to help her through her special time.

Reply
Rashidat

Wonderful article and thanks for sharing. I wish I’d seen your article 8years ago. Though, I’m Yoruba my mom also perform similar post-partum rites for me. I remember doing the sitz bath and ooooh talk about lighting a campfire under ya. I also remember the heating method with the hot towel, and you are right “God bless mothers.” I think the difference is in the foods, I ate mostly Moinmoin/Akara and Ogi, Efo (vegetable soup) and Amala and so on
Thanks again for the article, I’ll be sure to circulate it if that’s ok.
Take care.

Reply
Tosin Coker

I am Yoruba and my mother did similar for me after the birth of my first two children, I’m on my third now; this time a cesarean and I must admit, I didn’t realise how spoiled I had become for this post pregnancy care until now. My mother was unable to be here for me this time around and I am truly feeling it. I even find myself pouting like a little girl at times for not having her by my side. This is truly a tradition we must not lose!

Interestingly, despite my being born, raised and still living in the UK, it was almost instinctive that I rejected Western food after the birth of my child. Anything that was not one of our traditional dishes seemed to offend me. Your article here has indirectly highlighted why. Thank you for sharing, I will definitely be passing this link on to others in my circle.

Reply
Natural Nigerian

Kpele…must be tough not having your mother there. I actually thought that with the Yorubas, it was the mother in law that had to attend to the newly delivered wives. I guess that is not always the case.

Reply
Jennifer

Hi NN,
No you’re wrong. In Yoruba tradition, it’s not the Mother in-law who has to attend. That’s the first time I’m hearing that and whoever informed you on this, gave you false information. Your Mother visits you when you give birth, people are lucky to have the Mother in-law visit after that or even luckier, both of them visit at the same time. Not the Mother in-law ‘has’ to visit information you got, totally wrong. Please ignore. There’s no rule for who to visit one after childbirth in Yoruba history and tradition. Unlike the Igbo’s where there’s compulsory Omu Gwo (hope I got the spelling right), it’s not compulsory in Yoruba tradition. Our Mom’s do it, and in-law out of sincerity and good heart, not because it’s in the tradition because it isn’t.

Reply
Fadekemi

Thanks for this great insight… i have never had a child neither am i pregnant but this post is so insightful. I vaguely knew these things because i have never been around people that are pregnant. Also i don’t think my grandma did these things to my mother because all my aunts still have their post pregnancy tummys (even after 15 years for some). I am glad I have been enlightened now by these things on time, so i will know what to look out for when that time comes.

Reply
Serenity

The wrap reminds me of an old southern US Black tradition of wear a rubber girdle. People now consider it archaic, but look at your great grandmother’s belly. After 15 or more babies her stomach is not disfigured.

Reply
Michelle

What do you do with the placenta?

We’re planning to encapsulate and have a tincture made, as well, that lasts longer, and that can be taken during menopause.

Reply
omo

I need more information, @Jen can you please share some more, I am also looking for books on post pregnancy care. I know the yoruba culture has something similar, I miss my grandma , I would have love to interview her on this.

Thank you very much for sharing

Reply
Adeola @ The Mane Captain

chei, all the abuse for a flat tummy! Did they have a shape wear in those days? that’s what women in brazil wear to keep their tummy flat, at least according to a documentary I saw on Oprah a while back. I absolutely LOVE my figure, I’d be depressed if the tummy doesnt go back flat after giving birth. Nice to know for when my time comes. though I might have to tweak it into Yoruba practice and incorporate some western practices as well.
themanecaptain.blogspot.ca

Reply
Sisiekomi

Very informative. Tnx for sharing. I would definately do more research in other for me to tweak the different treatments.

Your blog is really very informative

Reply
heather

Wow, I hope I remember to look this up if and when I have a bambino! Well done to your mum.

Heather :)

Reply
jenn

@ Omo, my mum is a size 10 and she is a grandmother and has 5 kids. Its totally doable. i stick to her advise and that is BE ACTIVE. You dont necessarily have to join a gym or go on some crazy diet to get your figure back. She advised me to pair activity with breast feeding. This is actually fact-based cos your uterus involutes when you breast feed so it actually works in synergy with whatever exercise you do. She also said it was easiest to loose it in the first 6 months…and a lot of women i know second this opinion. I have heard that shapewear works but again, i had ceasarian sections so it wasnt really an option for me. But whatever you do, dont stress yourself. You dont need to go stir-crazy about getting your body back. some things may never be the same again eg my boobs arent as perky a they used to be….push-up have helped but hey, i have come to accept that i dont have a 25 year old bustline…tee hee! Just be active and enjoy your baby. its a wonderful time in your life.

Reply
Tee

Wow this is so helpful our mums are always the best# shoutout to my mother they want the best for us pls let’s try and be the best to our childrens aswel. Ori iyawa a gbewa ooo

Reply
Amaka

Really luvly write-up….i stumbled on your blog to see if i can help myself. I am due in less than two weeks and my mum and mum-in-law are both late…just wondering if there’s any how i can still get such help….even if its to pay someone to come help me.

Reply
Natural Nigerian

Hello Amaka, I am sorry that you are going through this without help. I don’t know about hired help for this kind of work. What about Aunts? They should be able to help. Even peers that have had their own kids can usually assist.

Best of luck!

Reply
Chiquita

I disagree. I believe that good genes play a major role in recovering your pre pregnancy tummy also you didn’t have a large postnatal bump to start with(some women still 8months pregnant right after giving birth) . I disagree because non of those things were done to me and I got my pre pregnancy tummy back at 2months pp. In fact I became smaller than my pre pregnancy size. I have went from my normal size 8 to barely a size 6(UK). My waist around the belly button was 23 inches at 2 months pp. The black tummy took a bit longer to clear up cos I couldn’t use anything on it(I sweat a lot so shea and cocoa butter or anything else was a no no). I’m light skinned as well.

Most times in some people those practices like scalding water on the tummy leaves them with flat but very wrinkled tummy and the sitz bath sometimes slows down healing.
I also have serious problems with the practices performed on newborns like twisting the arms and legs, lamp sooth on the belly button, hot water on the tummy etc.
My grandmother never did any of those to her kids or grand kids. It was a shock for me when MIL wanted to do them to my baby. Of course it put a strain on our relationship cos she couldn’t understand why I didn’t want it.

For me I believe the magic was exclusive breastfeeding and good genes.
I gave birth with a CS and didn’t tie any cloth or have anyone slap me with a scalding towel(even if I gave birth naturally I wouldn’t have let anyone come near me with one- I don’t believe in such practices). I lived on kellogs fruit n fibre and oatmeal and fruits for the first month. I didn’t eat the pound yam or yam pepper soup(I’m prone to constipation naturally and had a morbid fear of straining with my ab muscles so even though love yam so much, I stayed away from it till I healed completely). I didn’t drink anything for milk production. I’m an A cup with 31inch bust but I never had problems with milk. I took lots of fluids( water, milk and hot chocolate). I regained the weight when I weaned.

I agree that it is a good practice to have your someone especially your mother(it’s easier to say no to mum than MIL) to take care of you and baby and gently guide and ease you into motherhood. It is the one time you don’t want to be alone at all gfrom experience. But I strongly disagree with the hot baths and other gruesome practices(in some parts of ondo they actually puch and kick a woman’s tummy pp).

Reply
Nneoma

Thanks for sharing, the information was very help. Please i want to know if this method can still help me after 8 months. I have three children and they are all c/s, i have never experienced any Omu-gwo due to some reasons. This third one am still battling to get this flat tummy to no avail. So i want to no (if i start using this uda seed and eating miri-oku-ji can i still get my flat tummy back after 8months)?

Reply
Natural Nigerian

Hi Nneoma,

I very much doubt it. You should look towards clean eating and exercise now. Those spices were primarily to remove any blood that was still in the body after birth.

Reply
Chiquita

I’m sorry to hear that you are still battling with your tummy. Did u breast feed at all. That’s a sure fire way to get your tummy back. What type of incision were u given. I’m guessing that you may have rectus muscle separation. It’s almost impossible not to after 3 kids. My advice is do high impact aerobics. Whatever you do, stay away from sit ups and leg raises or any other ab exercise that makes u contract your abs. It only worsens the condition. Instead opt for plank(full plank, side plank) and the bridge. They are best for repairing split ab muscles. I know this cos I used to be a fitness instructor. Eat healthy, stay away from processed carbs. Drink water and reduce stress in your life. Good luck. If you have more questions, feel free to ask

Reply
askah mocheche mokaya

i had a baby three months ago through cesarean but my belly is still as if am pregnant. help me flatten my belly

Reply
Jennifer

That’s normal. Please don’t stress yourself about it. For other parts of your body, if you’re breast feeding and you’re active, it’ll help with your weight. Since you gave birth three months ago, you can start exercising but verify with your Doctor first (but I think you can), and don’t stress yourself too much all in the name of getting your body back. The treadmill is very helpful, if you have one at home (since it might be too tasking for you to join a gym), you can use it for at least 45 minutes in a day, or every two days, it really helps, again, don’t stress yourself. You can take yoga classes when you feel you have the time to, and go to the gym too. However, the earlier the better. Zumba classes might also be of help. Good luck and do not stress yourself. God bless you and your baby! And entire family too.

Reply
Victoria

Thanks to all. I’m a pregnant woman and dis is de 1st one. I now have a bigger burst, broad shoulder and a narrow waist. My fear now is how my tummy will look like after delivery. Can someone tell me what to do after delivery so as to come back to normal

Reply
lily

well, nice reading through would have felt better if i have had the experience already, can’t wait, God please

Reply
felicia

i gave birth to a set of twince with c/s over 3 months ago,and my tummy is still big.what can i do to get my flat tummy back,i don’t like de way i look after putting on my fitted gown.please help me!

Reply
tricia

My baby is 8months and am very fat and my tommy is big don’t t really knw wat to do pls help

Reply
adejoke

please. I would like recipe of the yam pepper soup and the rest. i’m 4months old now. I want to have handy by the time my bady arrives. thank you.

Reply

Add Your Comment

  • (will not be published)
  • XHTML: You can use these tags <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

    © 2014 Natural Nigerian. All rights reserved.
    x
    Hello! We are closing the Ahia on the 23rd of December, 2014. Our last shipments for the year go out then. You can continue placing your orders but they will be shipped from the 6th of January, 2015! Happy Holidays!
    ×

    black-woman-shopping-smilingHello! We are closing the Ahia on the 23rd of December, 2014. Our last shipments for the year go out then. You can continue placing your orders but they will be shipped from the 6th of January, 2015! Happy Holidays!

    Web Design BangladeshWeb Design BangladeshMymensingh