A friend’s guide to pregnancy
I Love 9 Months, a company run by three women, launches Sahodari, birth companions who will guide you to and through the joys of motherhood
Finding out you are pregnant can be both exciting and intimidating. As families turn nuclear, women often find themselves lacking support during and post pregnancy. “Earlier, most women had the other women in their household to turn to for advice. Nowadays, women handle everything from visits to the doctor to immunisation appointments for their child, themselves. With little help or support, they are often stressed. Early-stage motherhood and the post-pregnancy period are times when women need maximum support, mentally and often physically,” says Ganga Raj, a fitness consultant.
Step in Sahodari (sahodari.in; 6235050999), a group of trained birth companions, introduced by I Love 9 Months, a company run by Ganga Raj, Anjali Raj and Suma Ajith. “A sahodari provides practical and emotional support to pregnant women and new mothers,” says Varsha KR, Head of Operations, I Love 9 Months, Kerala. Each sahodari is trained to check vitals as well as to assist with some yoga and babycare.
There are different packages offered to subscribers, from pregnancy, labour and birth packages to post-pregnancy ones. While the pregnancy standard package includes vital checks, fitness advice, trimester-specific advice and antenatal education, the labour and birth package has support for 72 hours and help with breastfeeding. Post-pregnancy services include advice on nutrition, breastfeeding support, post-natal Ayurvedic therapy and baby massage.
Emotional support is available in all packages. “Becoming a mom is an emotional time for any woman. She has so many questions but is afraid to voice them, for fear of being termed a bad mom. Most women go through post-partum blues which, if left unchecked, can lead to depression. The sahodaris are trained in identifying post-partum depression,” says Ganga.
Today, there are four sahodaris, all based in Thiruvananthapuram. More will be trained as I Love 9 Months hopes to spread its wings to the rest of Kerala, before launching in other states. Each sahodari attends a two-month training course. While Ganga trains them in all forms of fitness training for prenatal and postnatal mothers, Anjali holds Lamaze classes and imparts childbirth and breastfeeding techniques. Suma conducts lessons in health and hygiene, infection control and infant development. “She also trains them in the latest in technology,” says Ganga. The sahodaris are also trained by Dr Anne Varghese, a psychologist who works with National Institute of Speech and Hearing and Dr Sunil Kumar from Sanjeevani Ayurveda Hospital & Research Centre. There is a ‘retraining and reskilling session’ every Saturday post-training.
The company is no stranger to maternity wellness. Its app, ilove9months (on both the Apple store and Google Play), is dedicated to antenatal and postpartum wellness.
From algorithms for conception to tracking your baby bump, and from a personalised Q&A forum handled by experts, to infant health trackers, the free app that was introduced last year includes exercises and Skype lessons in Lamaze. “We even have expectant fathers posing questions. Most of them ask how best to support their wives during the breastfeeding period. Our daily recipes are a hit too,” smiles Anjali, a Lamaze-certified childbirth educator and lactation consultant.
Plans are afoot to launch regional versions of the app. In fact, an ilove9months app in Malayalam should be out shortly, followed by Telugu, Tamil and Hindi.
- Baby Shusher
- Emits a repetitive “shush” sound that has been found to soothe infants and help lull baby to sleep.
- Baby Monitor All-In-One
- Can be synced to multiple Android devices so that you or any other caretaker can monitor your infant.
- An easy way to track your baby’s feeds, nappy changes and even sleep.
- Helps you quickly and easily pick out the best pictures of your child, and then turn them into beautiful short films.
- Baby Shusher
- Baby Monitor All-In-One
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