Taking Care of Yourself

Plan to see your healthcare provider two to six weeks after your baby is born for a regular post-partum check up. Make your appointment as soon as possible. It’s important that you take care of yourself too!

What to Expect

The first six to eight weeks after delivery your body will undergo many changes. Click on the following topics for more information:

Call your healthcare provider immediately if you have:

  • Heavy, bright red bleeding or large clots
  • Fever greater 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 the birth of your baby. If you are breastfeeding, see the How to breastfeed section for more information.

Women who bottle-feed their baby will also need to take special care of their breasts following 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:

  • Use ice packs on the breast for 15 or 20 minutes
  • Try 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

Think About Birth Control

As surprising as it may seem, you can get pregnant again just two weeks after giving birth! For your health and for the health of your next baby, you and your partner need to talk about birth control. Check out the Family Planning section for more information.