Caring For Yourself

Length of Stay

The length of time you and your baby stay in hospital depends on how both of you are feeling. For most vaginal births, you may stay until day 2 following the birth (e.g. if your baby is born on Monday, you may stay until Wednesday). For a caesarean birth you may stay until day 4.

Rest and Family & Friends

It is normal to feel tired after having a baby. Your body has done a lot of work for the past 9 months. It takes time for your body to adjust after giving birth. It may take 6-8 weeks before your full energy level is back.

Caring For YourselfDuring your stay with us it is important to rest as much as possible. Rest when your baby rests. It is also important to spend time alone with your baby to get to know one another before and after you go home. When you do not wish to be disturbed, please ask a nurse for a "Do not Disturb" sign to put on your door and take your phone off the hook.

Fathers, birth partners, baby's brothers and sisters can visit at anytime. Other family members and friends should be encouraged to visit you once you are home. If you are sharing a room please be considerate of the other mothers.

Many parents find these suggestions helpful:

  • keeping visits short while in the hospital and at home
  • accepting help from family and friends; meals, buying groceries, cleaning your house, looking after
    your other children
  • resting during the day, especially when your baby sleeps
  • eating well and drinking plenty of fluids, especially if you are breastfeeding

Your Check Up

You will need to see your doctor or midwife for a check up 4 to 6 weeks after having your baby. Call to make an appointment. However, if you have any concerns about yourself and your body, see your doctor as soon as possible.

Your Sexuality

It is your personal choice when you resume sexual intercourse. Once the bleeding has stopped it is all right to have intercourse, but only when you feel ready. You will notice both physical and emotional changes in yourself. It takes time to adjust to having a new baby. Like most mothers, you will probably use all your energy looking after your baby. You may feel quite tired for the first few weeks. Healing time is different for each person. Your doctor or midwife may advise you to wait 4-6 weeks, but you and your partner know what will be comfortable for you.

You may find your vagina feels dry after you have a baby. This can last several months and may make sex uncomfortable. Changes in hormone levels can cause this. You can go to your drugstore without a prescription and get K-Y jelly or Astro Glide. Use this as a lubricant to help with uncomfortable intercourse.

Your Temperature

Your healthy body temperature is between 36ºC and 37.5ºC. A temperature above 37.5ºC or 100ºF is a fever. Do you feel hot? Have chills? If yes, then you should check your temperature!

Call your doctor or midwife if your temperature is above 37.5ºC or 100ºF for more than 24 hours.


Your Vaginal Flow

After the birth of the baby your vaginal flow can last up to six weeks. For the first 2-3 days your vaginal flow will be red/brown. It then changes to a light pink/ brownish colour and after about 10 days becomes clear or slightly yellow-white. This white or yellowish flow lasts about six weeks. You should not have bright red bleeding or any clots after the first few days. Your flow should not smell bad or make you itch. Changing your pad every time you go to the bathroom is very important. Do not use tampons in the first 6 weeks after giving birth.

After giving birth to your baby you may get your menstrual period as early as 2 months after delivery. It may be a longer amount of time before you get your menstrual period if you are breastfeeding.

Remember - you can still get pregnant even if your period has not started!

Call your doctor or midwife if you have:

  • heavier bleeding or clots
  • vaginal flow that makes you itch
  • vaginal flow with a bad smell

Comfort

Each day you are in the hospital or at home, you should feel less discomfort.

Soaking in the tub several times a day may soothe your bottom. Clean and rinse the bathtub after every use.

Always wipe from front to back after going to the toilet. This helps prevent urinary infections in women and girls of all ages.

When you are breastfeeding, you may feel cramps. This is very normal. Breast-feeding makes your uterus contract so you may want to take medication for your discomfort before you breastfeed. Ask your doctor or midwife what to take for these cramps or discomfort. It is safe to take Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen when breastfeeding, unless you are allergic to them.

Call your doctor or midwife if you have:

  • pain or cramping that does not seem to be getting better after 1 week
  • pain or burning when you urinate (pee)

LHSCPatients, Families & Visitors


Last Updated March 24, 2009 | © 2007, LHSC, London Ontario Canada