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Discharge and Postpartum

Moving Through Emotional
and Physical Changes

Postpartum Care and Discharge Teaching

The postpartum period begins after the delivery of your baby and ends when your body has nearly returned to its pre-pregnant state. This period often lasts 6 to 8 weeks.

During the postpartum period, you will move through many changes, both emotionally and physically. You are learning how to deal with all the changes needed with becoming a new mother. You and your partner are also learning how to care for your newborn and how to function as a changed family unit.

You need to take good care of yourself to rebuild your strength. You will need plenty of rest, good nutrition and help during the first few weeks.

Maternal Discharge Information

All patients should contact their provider’s office to schedule a postpartum exam as soon as they are discharged.

You should immediately call your provider or go to the nearest emergency room if you experience shortness of breath, fever 100.4 F or higher, passing large clots or soaking more than one pad per hour, foul vaginal/incisional odor, experience green/yellow discharge or have red streaks on their breasts.

Until your postpartum exam, you should follow these special instructions:

  • Six weeks of pelvic rest is recommended. This means no intercourse, use of tampons or douching.
  • You should only shower (no baths) with non-perfumed soap.
  • No heavy lifting/straining (nothing more than your baby weighs)
  • No driving while taking narcotic pain medication.
  • No strenuous exercise. Walking is okay and you should increase activity as tolerated.
  • If you had a cesarean section, keep your incision dry and look at it daily. Report any signs of infection to your provider.
  • For vaginal deliveries, continue to utilize your per-bottle rinse and/or sitz baths for two weeks if you continue to have discomfort.

Newborn Discharge Information

All patients should contact their newborn’s pediatrician for an appointment on the day of discharge. This should be scheduled in the first 1-2 days unless otherwise directed by the pediatrician’s office.

Immediately call the doctor or go to the emergency room if your baby has a fever higher than 100.4F, is not feeding well, is excessively fussy or you feel your baby needs to be seen sooner than scheduled.

Until your first pediatric visit, you should follow these special instructions for your newborn:

  • For routine newborn care and cord care, refer to your discharge booklet.
  • Follow safe sleep precautions. Place baby alone in a crib and on his/her back.
  • If you baby is a boy and has been circumcised, apply Vaseline gauze with each diaper change for 2-3 days.

Warning Signs

(When/Where to return or call your doctor)

Call 911 if: Your baby has difficulty breathing, turns blue, has blueish lip

You have:

  • Pain in your chest
  • Obstructed breathing or shortness of breath
  • Seizures
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else

Contact Your Provider if You:

  • Your baby has a temperature less than 97.5F or greater than 100.4F.
  • Eats poorly or refuses to eat.
  • Is repeatedly vomiting.
  • Does not have a wet diaper for 12 hours.
  • Does not produce stool for 48 hours.
  • Is difficult to wake or has low energy.
  • Has an unusual or high-pitched cry.
  • Has an uncommon or severe rash.
  • Has white patches in the mouth.
  • Has redness, drainage or foul odor around the umbilical cord.
  • Has signs of dehydration, including dry or cracked lips, dry skin, dry or rough tongue, is irritable or is more sleepy than usual.