Women & Infants offers a variety of health education programs aimed at keeping you and your family healthy. For more information about our programs, call the Health Education Department at (401) 276-7800 or view and register for one or more of our classes.
If you have any questions about your health or breastfeeding, you may also call the Warm Line at 1-800-711-7011 from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m., Monday-Friday, and from 9 a.m. - 5 .pm., Saturday and Sunday. You may also call your caregiver or your baby's caregiver.
Feeling tired after having a baby is normal. Get as much rest as possible and try napping when your baby sleeps. Gradually increase your activities as you feel up to it. If you have had a cesarean birth, you have also had major surgery. Limit your activity to caring for your baby and giving your body time to recover.
If you have received stitches as part of an episiotomy, that area may be uncomfortable. Try soaking gauze pads in cold Witch Hazel and place on a maxi pad for 10 to 20 minutes or sitting in a sitz bath or tub of warm water for 20 minutes, three times a day. Use whatever non-aspirin medication your physician has recommended on your discharge instructions.
It is recommended that you use condoms with foam. You can buy both at a pharmacy. If your doctor has ordered birth control pills for you, you should use another form of birth control (such as foam and condoms) for the first month until your menstrual periods become regular.
After your six-week checkup, you may return to your choice of birth control. Keep in mind that some forms of birth control affect breastfeeding. Discuss the options for ongoing birth control with your doctor or nurse midwife.
Family planning is also important for moms of preemies. Many women feel overwhelmed after preterm birth. While it can be hard to think about yourself, it is important to take control of your reproductive life. This includes using appropriate birth control methods and getting pregnant again only when you are ready to get pregnant.
Whether you are feeding your baby at the breast or with a bottle, your body will naturally produce milk. As your milk supply increases, your breasts may become very tender and/or swollen. This is called engorgement and begins on the second or third day after your baby's birth. It will last about 24 to 48 hours.
Call the Warm Line at 1-800-711-7011 if you have any questions or concerns.
After your six-week checkup is a good time to start exercising again, but talk with your doctor before you start a formal exercise program. Your body will return to its pre-pregnant state naturally, except for muscle tone. Exercise will help you regain this tone.
You can try Kegel exercises to help tighten the muscles around the vagina. You can begin these shortly after delivery. Tighten the muscles that surround the opening of the vagina and rectum as if you are trying not to urinate. Hold for several seconds and then slowly relax. Repeat five to 10 times, several times a day.
In addition, you can help your body return to normal by using good body mechanics. Sit, stand, and walk with proper postural alignment. Bend at your knees to pick things up. Avoid bending from the waist, which strains and pulls the back muscles.
Your body needs time and a balanced diet to recover from pregnancy and adjust to meeting the needs of your new baby.
For any significant problems such as severe constipation, please contact your health care provider for a laxative or stool softener or other medical advice. If you would like a nutrition consult, have your health care provider make a referral to the Women & Infants Outpatient Nutrition Services Department at (401) 274-1122, ext. 42749.
Bleeding from the vagina is normal in both vaginal and cesarean births. It usually lasts 10 days to three weeks. The color of the bleeding will change from bright red to brownish to tan, and will become less in amount and then disappear. You can take showers and baths at any time, but do not douche before your six-week checkup.
Some new mothers develop complications following their delivery whether it was a vaginal or cesarean birth. Call your doctor if you have any of the following signs or symptoms:
Your emotional health is just as important as your physical health. As the number one medical complication of pregnancy and childbirth, one in five women suffers from a mood disorder during their pregnancy and postpartum period. Know that you are not alone. Seeking help is the best thing you can do for yourself and your family.