Recovering from Delivery
Congratulations, Mom! Meeting your baby is one of the happiest times in a woman’s life, but it also presents both physical and emotional challenges. It is important to rest and take care of yourself so you can take care of your baby. Learn more about recovering from delivery.
When to Call the Doctor
You should call your doctor about your postpartum health if you:
- Have a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or above
- Soak more than one sanitary napkin an hour, pass large clots (larger than a quarter), or if the bleeding increases
- Had a C-section or episiotomy and the incision becomes very red or swollen or drains pus
- Have new pain, swelling, or tenderness in your legs
- Have hot-to-the-touch, reddened, sore breasts or any cracking or bleeding from the nipple or areola (the dark-colored area of the breast)
- Your vaginal discharge becomes foul-smelling
- Have painful urination, a sudden urge to pee, or are unable to control urination
- Have increasing pain in the vaginal area
- Have new or worsening belly pain
- Develop a cough or chest pain, nausea, or vomiting
- Have bad headaches or vision changes
- Become depressed or have hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, or any thoughts of harming your baby
Make sure to schedule a visit with your doctor 3-6 weeks after delivery. Your doctor will make sure you are recovering physically, see how you are doing emotionally, answer questions and address any needs you might have.
- Check your weight and blood pressure
- Check your belly for tenderness and your incision if you had a c-section
- Examine your breasts
- Inspect your external genitalia for healing from birth
- Do a speculum exam to check your vagina and cervix
- Do an internal exam to check that the uterus has shrunk appropriately
- Discuss how you are doing emotionally
- Discuss birth control options
- Discuss when it is safe to start having sex again
- Discuss when it is safe to get pregnant again
- Discuss when it is okay to return to work
About 80% of women experience the “baby blues” which are feelings of sadness or mood swings in the first few days after childbirth. Changing hormone levels are thought to be the cause of the baby blues. Once these hormones even out usually in about a week, the blues will get better. If these feelings persist for longer than 2 weeks, talk with your doctor to determine if postpartum depression may be the cause of your low mood. Learn more about postpartum depression.
Want to wait a while?
You need to take time to heal and replenish between pregnancies. It is best to wait 18-24 months before getting pregnant again. The most effective birth control are methods which are long acting and reversible. The two most common are Implantable contraception (the implant) and the Intrauterine device (IUD). These methods are effective for 3-10 years and will allow for pregnancy after removal. These two methods are very effective in preventing pregnancy, but do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like chlamydia or herpes. Condoms remain the best way to prevent STIs.
- About Birth Control
- Birth Control Methods: How well do they work?
- Implantable Contraception
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