Postpartum FAQs  

Should I be looking for anything specific that I should call about after I go home from having my baby?
Is breastfeeding this hard for everyone?
How do I know if I have postpartum depression?
When can we have sex again after baby?
When can I start birth control and what are my options?
When can I start exercising?
How do I get this pregnancy weight off?

Should I be looking for anything specific that I should call about after I go home from having my baby?

Call us at 607-770-7074 (24/7) if you have:

  • Bleeding that is soaking more than a sanitary pad an hour and/or large clots (bigger than a large egg) that does not decrease after an hour of rest
  • Sudden severe arm or leg pain that does not go away with or without swelling of that leg or arm
  • Temperature of 100.4 or more that does not decrease with Tylenol or ibuprofen
  • A red streak on the breast that may feel hard to the touch with flu-like symptoms
  • Vaginal discharge that is a different color and that has a foul odor which may or may not occur in combination with low abdominal pain
  • Frequent painful urination not associated with where your stitches are
  • Any signs of infection where your stitches are – redness, swelling, hot to the touch, pus, or foul odor.  Itching, as long as it’s not severe, is a normal part of healing.
  • Any signs of postpartum depression – things like excessive crying, appetite changes, helplessness, and inability to find joy in any activity.  If you start to notice these things, or if someone you’re close to does, please call us as help is available.  More severe signs include thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby, scary fantasies, or hallucinations.  Please either call us or report to the emergency room immediately if you experience these more severe symptoms.
  • Anything you’re concerned about related to your health
  • For questions related to the baby, please call the pediatrician/your baby’s doctor – they will be able to better assist you

Is breastfeeding this hard for everyone?

Breastfeeding can be a challenge in the first weeks of your baby’s life, or it can be the easiest thing you have ever done.  For most, there is a time in the beginning where you and the baby are both learning this new dance that is breastfeeding.  This can last hours, days, or weeks.  Keep in mind that your milk is the healthiest food you could give your baby and it does get easier if you stick with it.  If you’re having problems, please let us know so that we can help and/or refer you to a lactation consultant.  Also, please see the section on breastfeeding on our links page.

How do I know if I have postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression is very common.  Some studies say it happens to as much as 80% of new moms.  It may be hard to tell at first that you’re not feeling quite yourself as sleep deprivation can be severe in the first couple of weeks with the new baby.  It is normal to get the “baby blues” in those first couple of weeks - you might notice you’ll cry for no reason and be a bit irritable with your partner.  Postpartum depression comes in when these symptoms worsen and last more than two weeks.  It can also include symptoms like excessive crying, appetite changes, feelings of helplessness, and inability to find joy in any activity.  If you start to notice these things, or if someone you’re close to does, please call us as help is available.  More severe signs include thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby, scary fantasies, or hallucinations.  Please either call us and/or report to the emergency room immediately if you experience these more severe symptoms.  Also see the links page for more information on postpartum depression.

When can we have sex again after baby?

Generally, we have you wait until after your six week postpartum exam to start having sex again after the birth.  However, if your bleeding has stopped, you have not had any complications, and you really want to have sex, proceed with caution.  Whenever that first time happens, take it slow, use lubrication (Astroglide works well), stop if it hurts, and make sure you’re taking precautions to prevent pregnancy (you can ovulate within 4 weeks of the birth and therefore can become pregnant that soon).

When can I start birth control and what are my options?

Birth control options if you are breastfeeding are limited to progesterone-only, hormone-free, or low-estrogen methods for the first six months as estrogen can sometimes decrease your milk supply in higher amounts.  Some examples include Mirena IUD, Implanon, Micronor, Paraguard IUD, diaphragm, Essure and having your tubes tied – see our links page for more information and/or ask your provider.   If you are bottle feeding you may start on birth control either on discharge from the hospital or at six weeks.  Please call us or make an appointment if you are interested in starting birth control.

When can I start exercising?

After a vaginal birth you will want to rest for at least two to four weeks before starting to slowly increase activity, and six weeks is a reasonable time to return to most activities.  Remember to let your body heal.  Even if you didn’t have stitches, you will still need to give your body a chance to rebound.  If you have had a c-section birth, it is best to slowly increase activity only after talking to your doctor or midwife.  Return to usual activities may be safer around eight weeks after the c-section birth.

How do I get this pregnancy weight off?

First, remember that it took you almost a year to gain the weight with your pregnancy.  Just as gaining weight in a slow, steady manner is healthy during pregnancy; it is also healthy to lose the weight gradually, as you are more likely to keep it off.  Dieting during breastfeeding or in the first eight weeks after birth is not a good idea as you need extra protein and calories to heal from the birth and to support breastfeeding.  Starting a daily exercise program (once released for activity by your provider) will help as will limiting portion sizes and not over-indulging in any food group.  It will be a challenge to get the exercise in with the new little one, but if you make the time it will pay off in feeling better about yourself and having more energy for the kids.  For a good eating plan for after the baby is born – go to the food guide pyramid web site listed on our links page under pregnancy nutrition.

 
   
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