After Childbirth - Postpartum Period

Your first hours of recovery

As amazing and wonderful as it may be to finally hold your new baby and have the task of giving birth behind you, this is also a time that you need to rest and regain your strength and energy. The postpartum period begins after having your baby and continues as your body returns to its pre-pregnant state lasting a minimum of six weeks. During this recovery time, it is important to get plenty of rest and good nutrition. Breastfeeding will assist your uterus to contract and resume to the usual size of a small pear. Breastfeeding is also great because it helps you lose the baby weight you put on in the pregnancy very quickly and effortlessly. 

Some very common experiences that you may experience during this time but will go away soon are: Sweating a lot especially at night as your body releases fluid retained from the pregnancy. 

Vaginal discharge (lochia) will continue for up to 6 weeks following the birth. It should lessen in color and amount. If it returns to a heavier, bright red bleeding with or without cramps you should call the office. Use maxi pads rather than tampons during this time

Hair Loss - This usually ends within 2-3 months after giving birth and results from major hormone shifts.

Hemorrhoids - Usually subside in 2-3 weeks. If they were not present before your pregnancy, there is a good chance they will completely disappear. In the meantime, prevent constipation by drinking lots of water and eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Over the counter preparations such as Witch Hazel on cotton balls, or Tucks, Hydrocortisone cream, or Preparation H may be helpful.

Mood Swings - Hormonal changes, fatigue (not enough sleep), and the new responsibilities that come with having a new baby can all contribute to mood swings, irritability, and crying spells. It is important to get as much rest as possible during this time. Sleep when the baby sleeps and take advantage of opportunities to take naps. If you are feeling more than just a little moody or have thoughts of harming yourself or baby you please call the clinic to speak with the nurse midwife or go to the nearest emergency room. 

The Hospital

After you have your baby at the hospital you will rest and recover for a minimum of one day and if it is your first baby you will stay for two days. If you have a cesarean section you will stay a minimum of two days. If you need a cesarean section, an obstetrician will oversee the remainder of your care.

It is recommended you stay home the first two weeks focusing on taking care of both yourself and your new baby. Light housework such as meal preparation and laundry are fine. Let others help you during this time and rest as much as possible. It is best for both of you to stay away from anyone who has a cold or is not feeling well. It is also a wise idea to have anyone who holds the baby wash their hands first since a baby's immune system is not fully mature to fight off illness. 

We will see you in the office at 2 and 6 weeks after the birth of your baby. We are here for you all the time in between, if you have any concerns or questions.