Congratulations on the Birth of Your New Baby!
When it's time to go home, these general guidelines may be helpful. Please contact our office at (616) 588-1200 with any questions or concerns.
Maternal Support Group:
As part of our ongoing effort to provide you the most comprehensive pregnancy care available, we are pleased to be a part of the Maternal Wellness Program Support Group, designed specifically for postpartum moms. This is a cost-free support group, and there no need to pre-register. Babies and support people are welcome to attend. The support group meets every Tuesday from 10am to 12pm virtually via Zoom . For more information, please click here.
Activity: Don't be surprised if you are not "feeling 100%" on your first day home. You will gradually notice an increase in your stamina with each passing day. It usually takes around six weeks after delivery for your body to return to normal. You should increase your activity gradually each day. You should be able to resume a light exercise schedule within two to three weeks; however, avoid abdominal exercises until you have seen your doctor for your postpartum visit.
Diet: Now that you are no longer pregnant, you can be a little more liberal with your dietary choices. Nursing mothers must remember that nursing is more of a nutritional demand than pregnancy is and, as such, you must be careful not to skip meals. You should also increase the amount of fluids in your diet to ensure an adequate milk supply. Try to drink 8-10 glasses of water a day. Keep in mind that the foods you eat will end up in your breastmilk usually within two to four hours. This way, you can keep track of foods in your diet that may affect either the taste of your breast milk or that tend to make your baby colicky. A good rule of thumb: foods that tend to give you gas will do the same to your baby. We recommend that you continue taking prenatal vitamins while nursing.
Medications: You may take Tylenol or ibuprofen as needed for pain. Occasionally, over-the-counter medications may not be sufficient for pain relief. You may ask your physician to provide you with a written prescription for stronger medication.
Perineal Care/Stitches: It is very common to feel sore and bruised in the vaginal, perineal, and rectal areas after delivery. If you have had stitches, these will dissolve gradually and do not need to be removed. It is important to keep the perineal area as clean as possible. Each time after every urinating or having a bowel movement, the area should be rinsed with warm water and gently dried. You may use sitz baths for relief from discomfort (sit in a bath of 6-8 inches of warm water for 15-20 minutes, may repeat 2-3 times a day, and may add Epsom salts to the water). You may use a topical anesthetic spray such as Dermoplast for additional relief. If you are wearing a peripad, change it each time after using the restroom.
Incisional Care After C-section: If you had staples placed after your cesarean section, the staples will be removed prior to your discharge from the hospital. If you had stitches placed at the incision site instead, the stitches will dissolve and do not have to be removed. You may remove the steri-strips (small adhesive strips placed on the skin) in a week if they have not fallen off on their own. You may shower with steri-strips in place. Keep the incision site clean and dry. Call the office if you notice any increased redness, increased pain, or pus-like drainage from the incision site.
Breast Care for Nursing Mothers: Wear a good, supportive bra. Discuss issues with your pediatrician such as adequacy of the newborn's breast milk intake, supplementing with formula, or use of medications while breastfeeding. Call us if you have any problems with breastfeeding such as cracked or bleeding nipples. Localized breast tenderness or localized breast hardening or redness associated with a fever may be a sign of mastitis (infection of breast tissue). Please inform your physician if you experience any of these symptoms.
Breast Care for Non-Nursing Mothers: If you are not breastfeeding, we recommend wearing a firm bra and avoiding any stimulation to your breasts. Call us if you have any localized tenderness, redness, or fever.
Vaginal Bleeding: You will have vaginal bleeding for two to six weeks. The flow will gradually decrease in amount and darken in color. Nothing should be inserted in the vagina for six weeks. Use pads instead of tampons, do not douche, and abstain from intercourse until the bleeding stops.
Constipation/ Gas Pain/ Hemorrhoids: Try increasing your intake of fluids (6-8 glasses each day) and fresh fruits and vegetables. Citrucel Metamucil, and Colace may be taken as directed for constipation. For gas, you may take Gas X (Simethicone 40-80 mg.) three or four times a day with meals and at bedtime. For hemorrhoids, you may use Preparation H or Anusol as directed.
Postpartum Blues: Anxiety, irritability, and fatigue are common after delivery. The postpartum period may be a time of uncertainty and anxiety for new parents. When coupled with hormonal changes and lack of sleep, transient, mild depression known as "baby blues" is not unusual. Please call us if your symptoms last longer than a few weeks, if they seem severe, or if you are unable to take care of yourself or your baby.
Postpartum Office Visit: Call the office to schedule your postpartum appointment. You should be seen in the office six weeks after your delivery; however, you should contact us promptly if any of the following occur:
- Shortness of breath
- Heavy, sustained bleeding greater than or equal to one pad per hour, or if you're passing large clots
- Sharp stomach pain or severe cramping
- Very bad headache that persists after using prescribed dose(s) of Tylenol
- Fever greater than 100.5 F
- Localized redness or tenderness on your breasts associated with fever
- Redness, drainage, bleeding at the site of cesarean incision or separation of incision
- Foul smelling discharge from the vagina
- Feeling dizzy often (occasional is normal)
- Blurred eyesight; seeing dots or flashes of light
- Vomiting that doesn't go away; severe diarrhea or rash
- Swelling of calf/calves accompanied by pain or redness
- Pain or burning feeling while urinating; or leaking of urine
- Thoughts of harming self or infant