OMUGWO: Traditional Igbo After-birth Care
There is always delight and anticipation in the air when and Igbo family are expecting a new child.
The family unit is at center to Igbo culture. And whilst pregnancy can be an exciting, scary and nerve-wracking experience all rolled into one. It is a process that Igbos hold in very high regard.
Despite this, pregnancy can be a challenging time where your body and lifestyle will go through many unexpected changes.
These changes can leave new mothers feeling overwhelmed without a robust support network made up of family and friends.
Igbo culture’s answer to these post-natal challenges is a practice called “Omugwo”.
As part of the Omugwo process the mother, mother in law or close female relative stay with the new mother in the first few weeks/months to assist and care for the new mother and baby.
During Omugwo the new mother is fed a special diet and given traditional massages to help her body return to the pre-pregnancy state.
The aim of Omugwo is to offer new mother a robust form of after-birth care, it is necessary so that the new mother can rest well to regain her strength. Family support also means conditions like post-natal depressions become less prevalent.