Please schedule your postpartum visit 6 weeks from your delivery date. At that visit, we will review your postpartum recovery and discuss birth control options.
Every woman experiences the postpartum period differently. Some women are overjoyed at becoming a new mom . Others are simply overwhelmed with new motherhood. Both responses are normal. Some women experience both sets of emotions, sometimes even in the same day.
Lochia, or vaginal bleeding, may continue up to 4- 6 weeks. In the beginning, your flow may be like a period and then gradually taper down. Do not use tampons during this time. You may notice an increase in your blood flow as you increase your activity. Use that as a sign to slow down a little bit.
Walking is a good way to get back into the exercise mode after having a baby. Start activity as soon as you feel able and start slow. Maybe it is just a walk around the block at first. Refrain from strenuous exercise (abdominal crunches, running, biking, etc) until your 6 week postpartum check up.
Is it the baby blues or postpartum depression? Sometimes it is not easy to tell. It is normal to experience a wide range of emotions in the postpartum period as the hormones in your body are fluctuating widely. It is normal also to be teary from time to time. (Remember you are also exhausted from taking care of your new one). Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you are unable to get out of bed and perform your daily tasks and care for the child. Also contact us if you feel you may hurt yourself or your baby. These are signs more consistent with postpartum depression and may need treatment with medication.
We recommend waiting until your postpartum visit at 6 weeks before resuming intercourse. If you do resume sexual activity prior to your postpartum visit (and the discussion about birth control), please make sure you use condoms to prevent pregnancy. Please do not rely on breastfeeding as a reliable form of birth control. You may ovulate before your first period and could become pregnant.
It is safe to resume driving approximately 2 weeks after your delivery. If you have had a cesarean section, you cannot be taking narcotic pain medication and drive. Of greatest concern is the safety of yourself and those around you. You need to be able to quickly apply your breaks on an instant and not hesitate due to pain. If you cannot do this, then it is best to wait another or week or two before driving a car. Try the step test. Stand on the 2nd step from the floor and then jump off and land with two feet. If the landing causes a lot of pain, best to wait before driving.
Breastfeeding is recommended and encouraged. Through Rose Medical Center, lactation consultants are available even after you leave the hospital. They can assist you with breast feeding issues or acquiring a breast pump. You can contact The Lactation Program at (303) 377-3016.
Sore nipples generally occur early on when you and your baby are learning how to nurse. It may be a sign that your baby is not latching on correctly. You should have the lactation consultants evaluate you and the baby nursing. Some simple tips for treating sore nipples include applying lanolin ointment to the nipples once they have dried after each feeding. You do not need to wipe it off prior to nursing. Some people recommend placing black tea bags on your nipples or even cabbage leaves.
Clogged ducts often occur while breast feeding. You may notice a firm lump in one area of your breast. Place a warm compress on this area 5 minutes before you begin nursing. Nurse the affected breast first. Gently rub the area from the outside in, milking the duct. Different holds while nursing (i.e. football hold) may also help. Usually, the duct will unclog with these efforts within 24 hours.
Mastitis is a localized infection of the breast, generally occurring on one side or the other. Your breast will become very sore. When you look at it, you will see red streaking or redness in an isolated area. This is accompanied by a fever, malaise and a flu-like feeling. Please call the office if you experience these symptoms, as you will need antibiotics to treat the infection. It is important that you continue nursing on the affected breast. You will not pass the infection to your baby.
There are no quick tricks for weaning. When you decide to stop nursing, your breasts will still produce milk for several days. You may experience engorgement, as when your milk initially came in. It can be quite uncomfortable. Wearing a good supportive bra (sports bra) day and night, taking ibuprofen and using cold compresses (a bag of frozen peas) can help with the discomfort. If you can, resist the urge to pump. It will only lengthen the time it takes to wean, as your brain is still getting the message to produce milk. Prolonged hot showers can worsen the discomfort as well.