POSTPARTUM ISSUES

Your Postpartum Visit should be scheduled early so it occurs six to eight weeks after delivery. At this visit, the progress of your postpartum recovery will be checked. Options regarding contraception will also be discussed.


When you go home after delivery the overall rule is to avoid fatigue. Cesarean section patients should not drive a car until they are confident they can hit the brake firmly in a panic-stop situation (at least two weeks) and are no longer taking narcotic medication.


Bleeding is rarely heavier than a heavy period. If it is, you may be doing too much and need to slow down. Call if it continues to be heavy, because occasionally there is a piece of placenta that did not expel.


Put nothing in the vagina for four weeks (this includes tampons, douching or intercourse) or until bleeding stops. If you have intercourse between the fourth and sixth week (before your postpartum visit) use foam and a condom for contraception. Do not count on the fact that you recently delivered or may be breastfeeding as a means of birth control.


Sometimes too many visitors increase fatigue. Feel free to tell people that your doctor indicated "limited visitors for two weeks".


Do the Kegel exercises to increase bladder support and help the congestion in your perineum. Bent leg sit-ups (curl ups) can be done at three weeks to shorten and strengthen your abdominal muscles. Even if you can only do one the first day, and add one each day, you will be doing 30 a day at the end of the month.


Your temperature should never be higher than 100.4 degrees F. Call if you experience fever higher than that.


Breast Feeding is recommended and encouraged. CEAS and Swedish Medical Center have lactation consultants available to help with questions. Breast pumps may be useful, especially for the working mother or premature infant. Hand pumps may be purchased at the hospital and electric pumps may be rented at a pharmacy or medical supply store. If breastfeeding is not chosen, or discontinued, we recommend using an iron-fortified formula.


Sore Nipples may be relieved by ice packs and regular feeding from both breasts. Avoid prolonged feeding sessions and ensure a good latch. Keep your nipples as dry as possible between feedings. Be sure to wear a good support bra and allow the nipples to air dry after feeding. Apply ointment (such as bagbalm, lanolin, cool tea bags, Vaseline and A&D) to any cracks.


Blocked Ducts are usually felt as a hard, firm mass without a fever. Gentle massage, hot packs, and frequent feeding from both breasts are the best relief.


Breast Infection (Mastitis) causes a red, warm and painful mass associated with a temperature over 100.5 degrees F. Should this develop, contact our office immediately.

Please have the telephone number of your pharmacy available at the time of your call. The usual treatment is antibiotics and hot packs. Avoid massage, as this can cause the infection to spread. Continue to breastfeed to avoid an abscess.


Weaning can be accomplished at any time. Planning ahead is helpful, beginning with a gradual decrease in the length and number of feedings. Avoid hot showers or any stimulation to the breast area that would encourage milk production. Continue to wear a good support bra, apply ice and bind the breasts tightly. Medication is not recommended to stop breast milk. It is recommended to use ibuprofen to decrease discomfort.

Post-partum Blues and Post-partum Depression:
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Women’s Behavioral Health Clinic (Swedish Family Medicine)

First Weeks