The days and weeks after your baby is born are known as the postpartum period. It lasts for 3 months after delivery. You can expect that your body will change as it returns to its nonpregnant condition. These changes are different for each person. For example, if you had
Many minor postpartum problems can be managed at home. For example, home treatment is usually all that's needed to relieve mild discomfort from hemorrhoids or constipation. If you have a problem and your doctor gives you specific instructions to follow, be sure to follow those instructions.
It's common to need some time to get back to your normal activities. It's important to focus on your healing and taking care of your baby for the first 6 weeks. Start other activities slowly as you feel stronger. Ask your doctor when it's okay for you to have sex again. The average time is 6 to 8 weeks after delivery. If you had any problems during your pregnancy or during labor or delivery, your doctor may give you more specific instructions about activities.
It's likely you won't have serious health problems after giving birth. But problems can happen. Ask your doctor what to watch for and what to do if you have concerns.
Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind of care you may need. These include:
You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be able to take care of this problem at home.
If you're not sure if a fever is high, moderate, or mild, think about these issues:
With a high fever:
With a moderate fever:
With a mild fever:
Temperature varies a little depending on how you measure it. For adults and children age 12 and older, these are the ranges for high, moderate, and mild, according to how you took the temperature.
Oral (by mouth) temperature
A forehead (temporal) scanner is usually 0.5°F (0.3°C) to 1°F (0.6°C) lower than an oral temperature.
Armpit (axillary) temperature
Blood in the stool can come from anywhere in the digestive tract, such as the stomach or intestines. Depending on where the blood is coming from and how fast it is moving, it may be bright red, reddish brown, or black like tar.
A little bit of bright red blood on the stool or on the toilet paper is often caused by mild irritation of the rectum. For example, this can happen if you have to strain hard to pass a stool or if you have a hemorrhoid.
A large amount of blood in the stool may mean a more serious problem is present. For example, if there is a lot of blood in the stool, not just on the surface, you may need to call your doctor right away. If there are just a few drops on the stool or in the diaper, you may need to let your doctor know today to discuss your symptoms. Black stools may mean you have blood in the digestive tract that may need treatment right away, or may go away on its own.
Certain medicines and foods can affect the color of stool. Diarrhea medicines (such as Pepto-Bismol) and iron tablets can make the stool black. Eating lots of beets may turn the stool red. Eating foods with black or dark blue food coloring can turn the stool black.
If you take aspirin or some other medicine (called a blood thinner) that prevents blood clots, it can cause some blood in your stools. If you take a blood thinner and have ongoing blood in your stools, call your doctor to discuss your symptoms.
Symptoms of a vaginal infection may include:
Shock is a life-threatening condition that may quickly occur after a sudden illness or injury.
Adults and older children often have several symptoms of shock. These include:
Pain in adults and older children
Symptoms of difficulty breathing can range from mild to severe. For example:
Severe trouble breathing means:
Moderate trouble breathing means:
Mild trouble breathing means:
Certain health conditions and medicines weaken the immune system's ability to fight off infection and illness. Some examples in adults are:
Symptoms of a bladder infection may include:
Symptoms of a kidney infection may include:
Symptoms of a pulmonary embolism may include:
Severe vaginal bleeding means that you are soaking 1 or 2 pads or tampons in 1 or 2 hours, unless that is normal for you. For most women, passing clots of blood from the vagina and soaking through their usual pads or tampons every hour for 2 or more hours is not normal and is considered severe. If you are pregnant: You may have a gush of blood or pass a clot, but if the bleeding stops, it is not considered severe.
Moderate bleeding means that you are soaking more than 1 pad or tampon in 3 hours.
Mild bleeding means that you are soaking less than 1 pad or tampon in more than 3 hours.
Minimal vaginal bleeding means "spotting" or a few drops of blood.
Some of the problems with breastfeeding that you might have include:
If you have pain when you are breathing, you may be at immediate risk for a pulmonary embolism if you also have:
Symptoms of postpartum depression may include:
Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The problem probably will not get better without medical care.
Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.
Based on your answers, the problem may not improve without medical care.
Based on your answers, you need emergency care.
Call 911 or other emergency services now.
Sometimes people don't want to call 911. They may think that their symptoms aren't serious or that they can just get someone else to drive them. Or they might be concerned about the cost. But based on your answers, the safest and quickest way for you to get the care you need is to call 911 for medical transport to the hospital.
It's common to feel tired after labor and delivery. Caring for a new baby, loss of sleep, and the normal physical changes as your body returns to its nonpregnant condition can add to your fatigue. It's important to focus on your healing and taking care of your baby for the first 6 weeks. Start other activities slowly as you feel stronger.
Here are some tips to help with fatigue in the first few weeks and months after delivery.
Don't skip meals or go for long periods without eating. Choose healthy foods.
Go outside, take walks, or keep your blood moving with your favorite workout. If you don't have your usual energy, don't overdo it. If you had any problems during your pregnancy or during labor or delivery, your doctor may give you more specific instructions about activities.
Don't take on extra activities or responsibilities.
Let them help you care for your baby.
Sleep problems are common when you are caring for a new baby. These tips may help you get a good night's sleep.
Call a doctor if any of the following occur during self-care at home:
Current as of: November 9, 2022
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