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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Self Care at Home

Your Periods

  • Most women start their periods again in four to eight weeks after delivery. If you are breastfeeding, it may take longer.
  • The first periods are often heavier than normal, but you should be back to normal within three to four periods.
  • Even though you may not have a period, you may still be ovulating; you can still become pregnant.
  • If you get your period before your four-to-six week checkup, continue to use sanitary napkins.
  • Do not use tampons until your doctor or nurse midwife says it is OK.

Sexuality

  • Both tired feelings and changes in your hormones may affect your sex drive. This is usually a temporary change, but it does not take away the need for closeness and affection between you and your partner.
  • Ask your doctor or nurse midwife about when you may have sex.
  • When you do have sex, you may feel some soreness. It may help to use K-Y Jelly or another water-soluble lubricant, especially if you are breastfeeding - there is usually less vaginal lubrication during lactation.

Family Planning

  • It is difficult to tell when you will start ovulating. If you do have unprotected sex, you can become pregnant.
  • Ask your doctor or nurse midwife what types of birth control you can use.
  • You can ovulate while you are breastfeeding, so do not rely on breastfeeding for birth control.

When to Call Your Doctor or Nurse Midwife

In general, you will probably feel quite well after having your baby. But if you note any of the following signs, call you doctor or nurse midwife right away:

  • Fever greater than 100.4 degrees F.
  • Any fever with chills.
  • Vaginal bleeding that has a foul odor.
  • Vaginal bleeding that is heavy. This means that you are completely soaking a sanitary napkin in less than one hour or are passing blood clots larger than a golfball.
  • Difficulty urinating or a burning feeling when you urinate.
  • Pain or redness in or on your leg.
  • Tenderness or red areas on your breasts.
  • Constant, sharp stomach pain.
  • Episiotomy stitches that turn red, hurt when you touch them, ooze liquid (discharge), become foul-smelling, or come apart.
  • If you had a cesarean and the area of the cut turns red, swells, feels warm to your touch, or hurts more than it did before. Also, if there is oozing or foul-smelling liquid coming from the cut or the cut opens up.
  • A bad headache or blurred vision.
  • Severe swelling in your hands or feet.
  • Any time you are unsure whether if what you are going through is normal or not.
Last UpdateDecember 2, 2011
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