Recovery after birth

After giving birth, get as much rest as you can and give yourself time to heal. Don't be afraid to take the pain medication that was ordered or prescribed by your doctor or midwife.

Signs to call your doctor after birth

No matter what kind of birth you had, call your doctor or midwife if:

  • Your bleeding turns bright red or gets heavier, even while you're resting.
  • You have blood clots larger than a Loonie ($1 coin).
  • You have a fever over 38°C, chills or flu-like symptoms; you feel dizzy or faint even while you're resting.
  • Your vaginal flow has a bad smell.
  • Your stitches open up or drain, or the skin around your stitches gets red and/or becomes more painful.
  • You have a painful lump in your breast, or a red area on your breast.
  • You have pain when you urinate (pee).

Recovering from a vaginal birth

If you had a vaginal birth:

  • Avoid baths until your bleeding has stopped.
  • Don't put anything into your vagina until your bleeding has stopped
  • Use pads, not tampons
  • Don't use douche (it's never a good idea)
  • Don't have intercourse (sex)
  • If you have stitches around your vagina, use your peri-bottle to clean the area for two to three weeks until the stitches dissolve.

Recovering from a C-section

If you had a C-section:

  • Don't lift anything heavier than the baby for two weeks; don't lift anything heavier than the baby in a carrier for four weeks.
  • Don't drive for two weeks.
  • Don't do any ab exercises for six weeks.
  • Follow the directions given to you by your doctor or midwife.

Birth control

If you've just given birth, sex is probably the last thing on your mind. However, the best time to discuss birth control options with your partner is right after birth. It's possible to get pregnant the first time you have sex again, even if your period hasn't returned. Now is the time to get prepared for when you want to have sex again.

While breastfeeding makes it less likely to get pregnant again, it is not a guaranteed method of birth control.

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