Recovery after delivery

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:50 pm
After your baby is born, you should visit your health care provider within two to six weeks. There are some serious conditions that can develop after a pregnancy, so if you have questions or problems before then, don't hesitate to call your health care provider immediately. Before you even leave the hospital, check to see if you're protected against rubella. If not, arrange to get a shot. Light bleeding is normal for the first three to six weeks, though discharge usually turns from red to brown or yellow after a few days. However, call your caregiver right away if you experience any of the following: heavy, bright red bleeding or large clots, a fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, severe cramps, hard, painful lumps in your breasts, increased pain in any stitches, discomfort when you empty your bladder, or feelings that you might harm yourself or your baby. Many women experience postpartum depression. New mothers may feel depressed, cry easily, or just feel very tired. These feelings are often due to a lack of sleep; it doesn't mean you don't love your baby. If you have some of these feelings, you may want to talk to your family, a friend, or another mother about it. If you need help coping with your feelings, call your health care provider. To help the recovery process along, eat a variety of healthy foods and drink 6 to 8 glasses of water and other liquids each day, just as you did while you were pregnant. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. They're not healthy for you and can harm your baby if passed through your breast milk. Try to sleep when your baby sleeps. If you feel stressed, take a break. Put your baby in the crib and take a shower or bath. Call a friend, or ask a family member or a friend to watch the baby while you go for a short walk. If you feel as though you're under too much stress, call a health care provider and ask where you can get help. Taking good care of yourself and your baby is very important. For more information about recovery after childbirth, contact a health care professional.

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