Take Care of Yourself

Make an appointment to see your healthcare provider two to six weeks after your baby is born. This is your post-partum checkup. It’s important to take care of yourself too!

  • New – NIH Launches Moms’ Mental Health Matters
    National Institutes of Health (NIH) has launched Moms’ Mental Health Matters, a new initiative to raise awareness among pregnant and postpartum mothers, their families, and health care providers about depression and anxiety during pregnancy and after the baby is born. Free materials in English and Spanish are available including an action plan, posters and a conversation starter postcard. You can view additional information on their website.

Think About Birth Control

Surprise! You can get pregnant again just two weeks after giving birth! Having another baby so soon can affect your health and the health of your next baby. Talk with your partner about using birth control. See the Family Planning section for more information.

What to Expect

For six to eight weeks after delivery your body will go through many changes. Learn more about:

Call Your Healthcare Provider IMMEDIATELY If You Have:

  • Heavy, bright red bleeding or large clots
  • Fever more than 100° F
  • Painful cramps
  • Hard, painful lumps in your breasts
  • Increasing pain in episiotomy (stitches)
  • Pain when you urinate (pee)
  • Feelings that you might hurt yourself or your baby

Caring for Your Breasts

Whether you breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby, it is important to take care of your breasts after your baby is born. If you are breastfeeding, see How to breastfeed for more information.

Women who bottle-feed also need to take special care of their breasts after the birth of their baby. Some mothers’ breasts get very hot, hard and swollen when their milk comes in and they are not nursing their babies. The swelling usually goes down after a day or two.

There are some things you can do to increase your comfort:

  • Put ice packs on your breast for 15 – 20 minutes
  • Use a warm washcloth on the breast if the ice does not help
  • Put your baby to the breast for a few minutes

Call your doctor or clinic if you have chills or fever and your breasts are still swollen and uncomfortable after two days.

Resources

My Health Journal – This publication will help you keep all of your health information updated and in one place. You can download My Health Journal in word format to your computer for personal use.
Word format (for download)
PDF version (3.98 MB)*
Plain text version

Taking Care of Me – A new baby may mean little time for mom to care for herself. This self-help guide gives postpartum women practical health tips on emotional health, stress, nutrition, exercise, family planning and reproductive health, and alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
PDF version (427 KB)*
Plain text version

Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby – Interactive “talking book” for expectant mothers.