After Delivery – Post Partum Instructions
REST AND HOUSEWORK
- If help is available, use it well, and get plenty of rest.
- Do NOT try to keep up with housework the first few weeks.
- Avoid heavy lifting, including young children.
- Post Partum exercises can be started when your vaginal discharge is no longer red. If your vaginal discharge increases, cut down on your activity. You can expect a vaginal discharge for 2-6 weeks after delivery.
- Driving is acceptable as soon as you are no longer using pain medication and are able to brake effectively without any concern for your episiotomy site. If you are still concerned about pain, you will not be able to move quickly enough to stop a car. Prior to starting the engine, try moving your foot quickly from the accelerator to the brake. If you have any discomfort or have any question concerning your ability, do not drive.
- The only danger in climbing stairs is the possibility of falling. Therefore, be especially careful because your center of gravity has changed since delivery.
- If you haven’t already done so, be thinking of a means of contraception.
- Resumption of intercourse is entirely an individual matter. Generally, it can be resumed after your bleeding has stopped, which may be anywhere from 2-6 weeks. Let your comfort be your guide. If anything is uncomfortable, don’t do it. If you plan to have intercourse prior to your postpartum check, the use of foam and condoms is suggested.
***Remember that breastfeeding is NOT a form of contraception and you will need to use contraception prior to having intercourse unless, of course, you plan to see Dr. Fogwell soon for another pregnancy.***
- Eat well-balanced meals. If you need to diet, wait until you are at least six weeks post partum. Your body needs this time to heal properly to return to its pre-pregnant state.
- Continue taking your prenatal vitamins or iron for three months after delivery.
- If you are breast feeding, wait to diet until after the baby is weaned. Continue the prenatal vitamins and 1500 mgs. of calcium daily throughout lactation plus an additional three months.
POST PARTUM DISCOMFORTS
- Wear a good supporting bra at all times. If your breasts become hard, full, and uncomfortable, Use ice packs for relief and/or a mild analgesic such as aspirin or acetaminophen (Tylenol).
- Surfak, Colace, or Metamucil are effective stool softeners and can be purchased over the counter at any drug store. If you become constipated, you may try an ounce of Milk of Magnesia or a Dulcolax suppository. If this is not effective, you might purchase a “Fleets” enema from the drug store. Should you decide to wean the baby, this can be done by gradually decreasing breast feedings until all are eliminated.
- Hemorrhoids can be treated with Preparation H or Anusol creams which are sold over the counter. Warm tub baths are also helpful for comfort. “Tucks” pads may be soothing for relief of hemorrhoid pain. Do all you can to prevent constipation and avoid straining to have a bowel movement. Drink at least eight glasses of water daily, eat fruits and vegetables, and get a moderate amount of exercise daily. You may use a bulk agent such as Metamucil.
CARE OF INCISION
- You do not need special care for a routine Cesarean section incision. A dressing is not necessary unless you find that your clothing or your sanitary pads rub or irritate the area. A plastic cover is not necessary to use while showering after your discharge from the hospital. Do keep the incision clean and as dry as possible. If you have steri-strips (small pieces of tape) across your incision, you may remove them as they start coming off. If you notice redness beneath a steri-strip, all strips should be removed to prevent further irritation.
CARE OF EPISIOTOMY OR VAGINAL TEARS
- Sitting in a tub of warm water can ease episiotomy discomfort. It is not necessary to put anything in the water. A squirt bottle of warm water can also be used to clean the episiotomy each time you urinate. Patting the area dry will be more comfortable than wiping.
- A few postpartum exercises can be started 24-48 hours after an uncomplicated vaginal delivery (Kegal, pelvic tilt, partial sit-ups, or alternate knee to chest).
- Do NOT overexert yourself doing these exercises. Use moderation.
POST PARTUM CHECK-UP
- Unless you have been instructed otherwise by your physician, please call the office for an appointment for a post partum check for approximately 6+ weeks after delivery.
Call the office if any of the following occur:
- You have bright red bleeding greater than a period.
- You have a temperature above 100.4.
- You have leg pain and swelling.
- You have burning or pain with urination and/or difficulty voiding.