Postpartum Discharge Instructions
- Wash your breasts with water daily for cleanliness.
- Air dry nipples after each feeding.
- If nipples are sore, apply a few drops of breast milk after a feeding and let air dry.
- If breasts are engorged, apply warm packs and express milk.
- Wear a well-fitting bra for support.
- Use ice packs to relieve discomfort from engorgement.
- Avoid handling your breasts and do not express milk.
- Non-breastfeeding engorgement will subside in 24-36 hours.
- After-pains, or cramping, are normal. This cramping means that the uterus is contracting to return to its non-pregnant size. The uterus takes five to six weeks to return to its non-pregnant size.
- Usually lasts about ten days to four weeks. The color will change from bright red to brownish to tan and will become less in amount and finally disappear.
- Menstruation: your period will resume in approximately six to eight weeks, unless breastfeeding.
Care of Episiotomy
- Sitz Bath: sitting in a tub of warm water for 15 minutes, two to three times per day, will help relieve the discomfort.
- Local agents, such as Tucks, Witch Hazel and Lanacaine, may be applied to the stitches.
- Stitches will dissolve in one to three weeks.
- Use a mild analgesic (Tylenol or Advil) for breast engorgement, uterine cramping and episiotomy discomfort.
Diet & Nutrition
- Continue taking your prenatal iron and vitamin pills until your postpartum visit.
- It is important to eat a well-balanced diet and drink plenty of fluids. Drink two quarts of fluid per day if you are breastfeeding.
- You may get “baby blues” after delivery. You may feel let down, anxious and cry easily. This is normal. These feelings can begin two to three days after delivery and usually disappear in about a week or two. Prolonged sadness may indicate postpartum depression. Help is available through the Women & Infants' Day Program.
- Rest! Do not do heavy housework or heavy exercise for two weeks. Avoid driving for one to two weeks. Check with your doctor for limitations on activities if you have had a c-section.
- Avoid sexual activity, douching or tampons until your postpartum visit.
- Is advisable as soon as you resume sexual intercourse. Foam and condoms are safe and easy to use. Birth control methods will be discussed further at your postpartum visit.
- Call your obstetrician's office two to three days after discharge to make an appointment for six weeks.
When to call your doctor/midwife:
- Fever greater than 101, with or without chills.
- Foul-smelling or irritating vaginal discharge.
- Excessive vaginal bleeding.
- Recurrence of bright red vaginal bleeding after it has changed to a rust color.
- Swollen area, painful area on the leg that is red or hot to the touch.
- Burning sensation during urination or an inability to urinate.
- Pain in the vaginal or rectal area.
- Crying and periods of sadness beyond the two weeks.
- Cesarean incision that is red, draining or painful.