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Postpartum Issues
Your post partum visit should be scheduled early so it occurs 2 to 6 weeks after delivery. At this visit the progress of your postpartum recovery will be checked. Options regarding contraception will also be discussed.
 
When you go home after delivery the overall rule is to avoid fatigue. Cesarean section patients should not drive until they are confident they can hit the brake firmly in a panic-stop situation (usually 2 to 4 weeks) and are no longer taking narcotic medications.
 
Bleeding is rarely heavier than a heavy period. If it is, you may be doing too much and need to slow down. Call if it continues to be heavy, because occasionally there is a piece of placenta that did not expel. Usually, women bleed 2 to 6 weeks following delivery. Breast-feeding may lessen this length.
 
Put nothing in the vagina for six weeks (this includes tampons, douching or intercourse) or until bleeding stops. If you have intercourse before the sixth week (before your postpartum visit) use foam and a condom for contraception. Do not count on the fact that you recently delivered or may be breastfeeding as a means of birth control.
 
Sometimes too many visitors increase fatigue. Feel free to tell people that your doctor indicated "limited visitors for two weeks."
 
Do the Kegel exercises to increase bladder support and help the congestion in your perineum. Bent leg sit-ups (curl ups) can be done at three weeks to shorten and strengthen your abdominal muscles. Even if you can only do one the first day, and add one each day, you will be doing 30 a day at the end of the month.
 
Your temperature should never be higher than 100.4 degrees F. Call if you experience fever higher than that.
 
Breast-feeding is recommended and encouraged. Lactation consultations are available. Breast pumps may be useful, especially for the working mother or premature infant. Hand pumps may be purchased at the hospital and electric pumps may be rented at a pharmacy or medical supply store. If breast-feeding is not chosen, or discontinued, we recommend using an iron-fortified formula.
 
Sore Nipples may be relieved by ice packs and regular feeding from both breasts. Avoid prolonged feeding sessions and ensure a good latch. Keep your nipples as dry as possible between feedings. Be sure to wear a good support bra and allow the nipples to air dry after feeding: Apply ointment (such as Bag Balm, synthetic lanolin, cool tea bags, Vaseline and A&D) to any cracks.
 
Blocked Ducts are usually felt as a hard, firm mass without a fever. Gentle massage, hot packs and frequent feeding from both breasts are the best relief.