You are going home after a vaginal birth. You may need help caring for yourself and your newborn. Talk to your partner, parents, in-laws, or friends.
You may have bleeding from the vagina for up to 6 weeks. Early on, you may pass some small clots when you first get up. Bleeding will slowly become less red, then pink, and then you will have more of a yellow or white discharge. The pink discharge is called lochia.
Bleeding usually decreases in amount during the first week, though it may not stop completely for several weeks. It is not uncommon to have an increase in red bleeding around 7 - 14 days when the scab formed over the spot where your placenta was shed.
Your menstrual period is likely to return in:
You may lose up to 20 pounds over the first 2 weeks after having a baby. After that, weight loss of around 1/2 pound per week is best. Your health care provider can explain more about losing weight after pregnancy.
Your uterus will be hard and round, and can most often be felt around the navel. You may feel contractions for a few days. They are most often mild, but they can be stronger the more babies you have had. Sometimes, they can feel like labor contractions.
If you are not breastfeeding, breast engorgement may continue for a few days.
You will need a follow-up appointment with your health care provider in 4 - 6 weeks.
Take tub baths or showers, using only plain water. Avoid a bubble bath or oils.
Most women heal without problems, although it may take many weeks. Your stitches do not need to be removed. Your body will absorb them.
You can return to normal activities, such as light office work or house cleaning, when you feel ready. Wait 6 weeks before you:
To avoid constipation (hard stools):
Ask your health care provider about what you can do to relieve the discomfort and speed the healing of your episiotomy.
Try eating smaller meals than normal and have healthy snacks in between.
Any hemorrhoids you develop should slowly decrease in size. Some may go away. Methods that may help the symptoms include:
Exercise can help your muscles and your energy level, but don't start until you feel ready and slowly increase the amount. And still get plenty of rest.
Lovemaking can begin around 6 weeks after delivery, assuming the discharge or lochia has stopped. Check with your doctor.
In the days or even months after delivery, some moms feel sad, disappointed, tired, or withdrawn. Many of these feelings are normal, and they often will go away.
Pee often and drink plenty of fluids to avoid bladder infections.
Call your health care provider if you have vaginal bleeding that:
Also call your health care provider if you have:
Katz VL. Postpartum care. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL, et al, eds. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2012:chap 22.
Updated by: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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