Postpartum Care

Taking home a new baby is one of the happiest times in a woman’s life. But it also presents both physical and emotional challenges.

  • Get as much rest as possible. You may find that all you can do is eat, sleep and care for your baby. And that is perfectly okay. You will have spotting or bleeding, like a menstrual period off and on for up to six weeks.
  • You might also have swelling in your legs and feet, feel constipated, have menstrual-like cramping. Even if you are not breastfeeding, you can have milk leaking from your nipples, and your breasts might feel full, tender or uncomfortable.
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions on how much activity, like climbing stairs or walking, you can do for the next few weeks.
  • Doctors usually recommend that you abstain from sexual intercourse for four to six weeks after birth.

In addition to physical changes, you may feel sad or have the “baby blues.” If you are extremely sad or are unable to care for yourself or your baby, you might have a serious condition called postpartum depression.

Postpartum Depression

Approximately 10 percent of mothers develop post partum depression (PPD).

If after a week or two of the “baby blues,” you are still feeling extreme anxiety, a sense of hopelessness, despair and/or negative feelings, to the degree that it interferes with your daily life, you may be suffering from postpartum depression. Other symptoms of postpartum depression include:

  • Disinterest in your baby or yourself
  • Inability to sleep (insomnia) or the wish to sleep all the time even when baby is awake
  • Loss of appetite or excessive need to eat all the day
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
  • Feeling of guilt or hopelessness
  • Panic Attacks
  • Extreme concerns or lack of interest in baby

Should you have any of these signs of postpartum depression, take steps immediately to get the help you need. Speak with your doctor and let him or her know what you are feeling. They have the experience and understanding to support you through this period. If necessary, he or she can refer you to the resources where you can find additional help.