Information You Need
CONGRATULATIONS on the arrival of your new baby!
Bringing home a new baby is an exciting time for any family. You will experience many physical and emotional changes. We hope this will answer some of your questions. If you have any questions or concerns, please call us:
- If you have a fever over 101° F.
- If your vaginal discharge develops a bad odor.
- If you develop a breast lump that doesn't go away by nursing, pumping or warm compress and massage prior to nursing.
- If you have heavy bleeding.
- If there is discharge from your cesarean wound.
- If you have severe abdomen, calf or chest pain or shortness of breath.
- If you feel your emotional state may bring harm to you or your baby.
Soon after you get home, please call the office any time Monday through Friday between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm to book a follow-up visit in six weeks. Please be aware that we are closed for lunch between 12:30pm - 1:30pm.
Continue a well-balanced diet high in protein and iron. Don't forget to drink plenty of fluids. Continue taking your prenatal vitamins for at least six weeks or as long you are breastfeeding. To avoid constipation, eat fruits, drink plenty of water and walk. You can also use stool softener, such as Colace, if needed.
Start out by taking care of yourself and your new baby. You can gradually resume normal activities of daily life. When you feel able to, start with short walks for mild exercise and fresh air. Wait to start more vigorous exercise until after your six-week visit. Make sure you have enough time each day to rest. Start Kegel exercises immediately. Kegel exercises tone your pelvic-floor muscles. This, in turn, controls bladder leaks, helps the perineum heal and tightens a vagina stretched from birth. Squeeze the muscles that you use to stop the flow of urine. Hold for up to 10 seconds, then release. Do this 10 to 20 times in a row at least three times a day.
You can expect to have vaginal bleeding for two to four weeks and spotting for up to six weeks. If you over-exhaust yourself, bleeding can increase, which means that you should rest. We do not recommend tub baths and intercourse as long as you have bleeding (due to the increased risk of infection).
Use the peri-bottle with passage of urine and stool as long as you have bleeding. If you have stitches, they will dissolve by themselves in one to two weeks. To decrease discomfort of sutures or hemorrhoids use the Sitz bath three times daily and line your peri-pad with cold Tucks pads.
If you are breastfeeding, you will produce only colostrum (a small volume of fluid that is high in protein) for the first two to three days; after that, you begin to produce milk and you may experience breast engorgement (filling of the breasts). You can relieve this by nursing more frequently or pumping your breasts. Use a warm compress on the breast for 10 minutes prior to nursing or pumping to help milk flow. After nursing, leave some milk on the nipple and let it dry. If the skin on your nipple breaks you can use lanoline cream.
If you are bottle-feeding, avoid stimulation to your breasts, such as rubbing in the shower, massaging your breasts or expressing milk. Wear a snug bra, preferably without underwires. If your breasts get engorged, use icepacks and take Tylenol or Motrin as directed. Engorgement will last only 24 to 48 hrs.
After cesarean section, you will be able to care for yourself and your new baby. For the first two weeks, lift nothing heavier than your baby. Allow yourself plenty of time when climbing up or down the stairs. Follow the guidelines in the activity section but don't be surprised if your progress is a little slower than following a vaginal delivery. Don't drive a vehicle while taking any sedating pain relievers.
It is normal to experience many different feelings in the first few weeks and months after delivery. We all expect to feel happy with our new baby and most of the time we are happy, but it's normal to feel sad and frustrated at times, too. If your negative feelings are overwhelming or you have any thoughts of harming yourself or the baby, call us immediately or go to your nearest emergency room.
For more helpful information about postpartum care, call Capital Women’s Care Howard County at 410-531-7557 or use our convenient online Request an Appointment form. Our postpartum care patients come to us from Fulton, Laurel, Maple Lawn, Columbia and Ellicott City in Howard County, MD and close-by cities.