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Notes from Another Sphere - Part Two

Journal Entries from A Pre- and Post-Natal Counselor's Experience at A BBMP Hospital

Varsha Shridhar

March 17th
This time, Dr. D.M is not the senior consultant, as she is off on leave. Instead, Dr. S. T, a more junior consultant, leads the way. Something about Dr. S.T tells me that she might be a little more judgmental in her attitude than D.M. Perhaps it is her statement that “some mothers are so bad that they don’t even bring their kids to the clinic for their regular immunizations”, a statement that makes me wince a bit. Dr. S.T has some good ideas, though. She starts off the clinic by introducing herself and the team. She tells moms the drill: get your baby weighed and measured here, get their shots there, then go visit the counselor (me) on that side of the room, and so on. She also spends a good ten minutes explaining the importance of washing hands before eating and cooking, and after using the toilet. Dr. S.T is Telugu, and speaks in Kannada. However, the majority of the c…

Notes from Another Sphere - Part One

Journal Entries from A Pre- and Post-Natal Counselor's Experience at A BBMP Hospital
Varsha Shridhar
3rd March 2016
My first day at the BBMP Urban Primary Healthcare Center in Koramangala. I get there around 11am, by which time the clinic in in full swing. Babies are being measured, weighed and injected with whatever shots are deemed appropriate, mothers are chatting, the attenders in their blue sarees are ordering people about… a typical scene in a government hospital. I find my contact, Dr. D.M, inside one of the consulting rooms. She is marvelously efficient - within a few minutes, I have a spot at one corner of her clinic, a set of chairs around me, and the attender is leading in my first few patients. I am an antenatal and postnatal counselor. This means I talk to pregnant moms and new mothers about their worries and concerns, I give them advice on nutrition, I counsel them on how to take care of themselves, their babies and their families. I speak to the family members, if …

Reclaiming Birth Shakti

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Reclaiming Birth Shakti


Mangala Ramprakash


Google "cesarean rate in Bangalore" and you'll find a slew of articles bemoaning the disproportionate rise of c-section births in urban India. There are a host of reasons given such as doctors being too busy and unwilling to dedicate the time and availability for a normal birth, lack of staff and infrastructure (even in the poshest hospitals) to attend to simultaneous normal births given their uncertain lengths, the financial angle, and the ubiquitous fear factor that lead both the doctor and expecting mother to settle for a controlled surgical birth. There are even some blame-the-victim reasons given by defensive doctors that women these days are too unfit, too unhealthy, too fat, too superstitious, too old, too posh to push.
It's a minefield out there for a woman looking to give birth naturally in a setting that is designed for the convenience of the staff and the hospital. Even in a "normal delivery", women are sub…

Breastfeeding: The Basics

What Everyone Should Know about Breastfeeding Deeksha Sharma Like all mothers you can successfully breastfeed your baby, which is the most natural way to feed babies. Breast milk is complete nutrition (i.e. food and drink) for an infant for the first six months of life. During this period, an infant needs exclusive breastfeeding and no other food or drink, not even water, is required. Newborn babies need to be given to the mother to hold immediately after delivery. They should have skin-to-skin contact with the mother and begin breastfeeding within one hour of birth. Colostrum, the first yellowish mother's milk that comes during the first 2-3 days after birth is the first immunization. Nothing should be given before the first breastfeed. Babies should be breastfed unrestrictedly, day and night, and on demand. Breastfeeding the baby frequently causes production of more milk. Breastfeeding helps protect babies and young children against dangerous illnesses. …

Fertility Awareness

Venetia Kotamraju
When I was at school, at a mixed boarding school in England, many if not most of us were on the pill by the time we left aged 18. Once you turn 16 in England you are entitled to a free supply of the contraceptive pill, subject only to a routine and regular check up by your GP. Some were on the pill to regulate periods or to clear up acne, but for many of us it was just something we started to take as soon as we entered the realm of sex. The terrible spectre of teenage pregnancy was forever before us. It would mean the end of our education, the end of our career prospects, and that pretty much meant the end of life as we knew it. So if there was even the slightest chance we might get into some kind of sexual situation at some point, even if it was just a drunken fumble on the walk back from the pub, it was better to be safe than sorry. Condoms too but you couldn't rely on them nor on the testosterone-fuelled teenager you were with, so to the pill we turned…