Taking home a new baby is one of the happiest times in a woman's life. But it also presents both physical and emotional challenges. :
- Get as much rest as possible. You may find that all you can do is eat, sleep, and care for your baby. And that is perfectly okay. You will have spotting or bleeding, like a menstrual period, off and on for up to six weeks.
- You might also have swelling in your legs and feet, feel constipated, have menstrual-like cramping. Even if you are not breastfeeding, you can have milk leaking from your nipples, and your breasts might feel full, tender, or uncomfortable.
- Follow your doctor's instructions on how much activity, like climbing stairs or walking, you can do for the next few weeks.
- Doctors usually recommend that you abstain from sexual intercourse for four to six weeks after birth.
In addition to physical changes, you may feel sad or have the "baby blues." If you are extremely sad or are unable to care for yourself or your baby, you might have a serious condition called postpartum depression.
Dept. of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health
- Pregnant and Postpartum Women (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
- Recovering from Birth (Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health) Also in Spanish
- Recovering from Delivery (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Your Body after Baby: The First 6 Weeks (March of Dimes Foundation)
Diagnosis and Tests
- Warning Signs to Look for After Having a Baby (March of Dimes Foundation)
- Exercise after Pregnancy (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)
- Partners, Friends, and Family of Pregnant or Postpartum Women (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
- Postpartum Birth Control (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)
- Your Postpartum Checkups (March of Dimes Foundation)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Left ventricular recovery in an African cohort of patients with peripartum...
- Article: Assessing postnatal care for newborns in Sub-Saharan Africa: A multinational analysis.
- Article: Immigrant women's and families' views and experiences of routine postnatal care:...
- Postpartum Care -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- After vaginal delivery - in the hospital (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Losing weight after pregnancy (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Questions to ask your doctor about going home with your baby (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Questions to ask your doctor about post pregnancy care (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Vaginal delivery - discharge (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish