Recovering from giving birth


It takes time for your body to go back to the way it was before pregnancy. During your recovery, you may have:
pregnant mother

Vaginal discharge called lochia. It is the tissue and blood that lined your uterus during pregnancy. It is heavy and bright red at first, becoming lighter in flow and color until it goes away after a few weeks. Cramping and constipation.
  • Swelling in legs and feet.
  • Tender breasts that may leak milk. Your doctor will check your recovery at your postpartum visit, about 6 weeks after birth. Ask about resuming normal activities, as well as eating and fitness plans to return to a healthy weight. Also ask your doctor about having sex and birth control. Your period could return in 6 to 8 weeks, or sooner if you do not breastfeed. If you breastfeed, your period might not resume for many months. Still, using reliable birth control is the best way to prevent pregnancy until you want to have another baby.
  • Many women also feel sadness called “baby blues” after having a baby. These feelings usually go away quickly. But if sadness lasts more than 2 weeks, go see your doctor. Don’t wait until your postpartum visit to do so.
Keep in mind that adjusting to a new baby takes time, and your daily routines will change. Talk to your partner about sharing household and family duties. Ask for and accept help from family and friends. Caring for yourself—both physically and emotionally—will help you more fully enjoy your new baby and the rewards of motherhood.

At Home: When to Call the Doctor Once home, look out for signs of problems that might need a doctor’s care. Call your doctor if you have: • unexplained fever • more vaginal bleeding or you soak more than one pad an hour • more redness and swelling or pus from a C-section or episiotomy • new pain or swelling in legs • hot-to-the-touch, very red, and sore breasts or nipples that are cracked and bleeding • vaginal discharge that smells bad • pain with urinating or sudden urge to urinate • more pain in the vaginal area • flu-like symptoms, chest pain, or vomiting • feelings of depression • thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.
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