After enduring months of cravings, questions and discomfort (including labor pains), you’ve successfully made it to the other side of this journey. Congratulations! Giving birth is no small feat.
Life with a newborn brings many changes — lots of cuddles but also some challenges. At Baptist Health, we know it’s not easy to prioritize your health when you’re hardly sleeping. But it’s important. We can help.
What Is the Postpartum Period?
The first six weeks after your baby is born are called your postpartum period. During this time, your body undergoes many changes as it heals. It’s not uncommon to feel tired, sometimes overwhelmed and just plain uncomfortable with the changes occurring in your body as it recovers.
Your Baptist Health nurses will offer instructions on how to care for yourself and your new baby at home. You should also make an appointment to see your midwife, doctor or nurse practitioner between two and six weeks after you deliver. That’s a good time to talk about birth control and other post-birth issues.
Postpartum Care: Why Choose Us?
Don’t hesitate to reach out to your provider if you have any questions or concerns even before your postpartum follow-up appointment. We offer a range of support services for moms who have recently given birth.
When you come to Baptist Health for postpartum care, you can expect:
- Experience and compassion: Baptist Health is dedicated to caring for moms and their babies. Many of our experienced OB/GYNs and nurses have extra training in obstetrics and breastfeeding. Your provider will be by your side through any challenges you may face after baby’s birth — big or small.
- Personal attention: Our providers are committed to helping moms and babies recover from pregnancy and delivery with compassion and personal attention.
- Patient-friendly facilities: Our facilities are designed with the needs of moms of newborns in mind. All of our rooms are private, with amenities meant to keep moms and babies comfortable. Any necessary supplies (as well as our helpful team members) are always close by, should you need anything during your stay.
Mommy and Me Breastfeeding Support group: Breastfeeding is natural but most women find having support from other moms helpful. If you are a mom who would like to network with other breastfeeding moms and receive the support of Baptist certified staff, please join us at one or all of our breastfeeding support groups. Babies are welcome!
Postpartum Pelvic Rehabilitation: At Baptist Health a Certified Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioner with extensive experience and training in treating urinary incontinence and pelvic pain/pressure after delivery can help guide you through the fourth trimester. Our physical therapist provides supportive and passionate care, empowering moms through education and giving them the tools they need to help alleviate symptoms and get back to feeling like themselves postpartum. Talk to your obstetrician about a referral to any of our locations.
Postpartum Care: What to Expect in the Six Weeks After Delivery
A woman’s body undergoes big changes during pregnancy and delivery, physically and emotionally. Here’s what you should expect — and what warrants a call to your doctor — in the days and weeks after giving birth:
- Pain and discomfort: You’ll likely feel some aches and pains until your body fully recovers from childbirth, including:
- Perineum soreness: The area between the vagina and anus is under significant stress during childbirth. Many women feel sore when sitting or walking in the days after giving birth. Sitting on a cushion may provide relief until you heal.
- Cramps: You may feel lingering cramps as your uterus works to gets back to its pre-pregnancy size. They may feel like menstrual pains. If you have severe or worsening pains, call your provider.
- C-section pains: If you’ve had a Cesarean section (C-section) birth, the area around your incision will be sore until you’re fully recovered. Ask your provider about pain management. If the pain gets worse or you notice redness (signs of infection) around the incision or the incision begins to separate, call your doctor right away.
- Breast and nipple tenderness: After you give birth, it’s normal for your breasts to feel tender to the touch as your milk comes in. Your nipples may hurt in the first few days of breastfeeding. Any breast lumps, severe pains or redness should be checked by your provider. You can get excellent breastfeeding guidance from our caring lactation consultants. If you are bottle feeding, wear a good support bra. Use ice packs and pain medicine for discomfort.
- Vaginal discharge: After delivery, you will have a vaginal discharge called lochia usually lasting for about 3 weeks. The first 2-3 days after birth, lochia will be bright to dark red with a heavy to medium flow. Days 4-10 after birth, lochia should become pink to brown tinged and a medium to light flow progressing to a yellow/whitish color and a very light flow. If bleeding becomes heavier or turns bloody after day 4, call your obstetrician.
- Swelling: Call your doctor if you notice swelling around your face, hands, calves or legs.
- Fatigue or anxiety: It’s normal to feel a bit emotional, tired or anxious in the weeks after having a baby. Rest when the baby rests and accept all offers of help for housework and meals. You may cry more, even at the littlest things. This is important: If your “baby blues” last more than 14 days, or you are thinking of hurting yourself or your baby, call your obstetrician or 911 right away. Postpartum depression (PPD) can be a very serious condition, and our specialists can advise on treatment options. Learn more about the signs of postpartum depression and how we help many women overcome this condition. Find out more at PostPartum.net.