​Postpartum care

While you’ll experience some postpartum care in the hospital just after delivery, the postpartum time continues for the first six weeks after delivery. During this time your body recovers and heals from childbirth. Whether you're breastfeeding or not, your breasts get larger and firmer as they make milk to feed your baby.

While you are still in the hospital, the care team at our birthing centers will encourage you to rest as much as possible and, if needed, provide pain management. Your baby will be in the room with you, so you and your family can learn how to care for him or her.

Our nursing team and lactation specialists are available to answer your questions about breastfeeding and support you as you care for the newest member of your family during your hospital stay and beyond. After you are discharged, we offer 24-hour support services for breastfeeding and postpartum moms.

Recovering from childbirth physically

After childbirth, it's important to focus on healing and taking care of yourself.

As you recover, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Bloody vaginal discharge that changes to brown, then whitish over the next few weeks after delivery

  • A tender vaginal area

  • Painful contractions that may continue after delivery as the uterus returns to its original size

  • Breast engorgement as you begin to produce breast milk

  • Fatigue and soreness

Be sure to schedule an appointment with your doctor after delivery to ensure you are healing properly.

Recovering from childbirth mentally

Studies show that now, more than ever there are substantially elevated anxiety and depression symptoms in pregnant and postpartum women compared to pre-COVID, with 37% reporting clinically relevant symptoms of depression and 57% reporting clinically relevant symptoms of anxiety. Higher symptoms of depression and anxiety were associated with more concern about threats of COVID-19 to the life of the mother and baby, as well as concerns about not getting the necessary prenatal care, relationship strain, and social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Christ Hospital is partnering with Galia Collaborative, aiming to help women better identify signs and symptoms of depression, distinguish between what may be considered the normal "baby blues" with more serious forms of depression and provide tools and resources to help women take action. Our intent is to break down many barriers currently in place that may keep women from addressing depression such as lack of information, not wanting to leave home or having child care and not knowing where to turn.

We anticipate meeting a wide range of needs through this partnership program, from women who simply benefit from a supportive conversation to potentially connecting someone to a physician or longer-term resource for additional care.

The program is a pilot funded by The Christ Hospital to help women better identify and treat postpartum depression as well as advocate for postpartum mental health support inclusion in maternity health insurance plans.  

"Women are often putting their families before themselves, so it's important for them to understand how recognizing and treating mental health needs is a benefit for themselves and their families."
Leanne Olshavsky, MD

Complimentary consultations are available to new moms delivering with The Christ Hospital Physicians.  Additional services and resources provided by the Galia Collaborative are available to all at normal pricing.  More information is available to you on Galia Collaborative's website.

Caring for yourself at home

During pregnancy your body went through many changes. Now that you’re home with your baby, your body is changing again. Some of these changes are physical, such as your breasts filling with milk. Others are emotional, such as feeling joy but at the same time overwhelmed with the responsibility of looking after your baby.

It's important to take good care of yourself and rebuild your strength. The following steps can help.

  • Follow your doctor's instructions and take any medication as prescribed.

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and drink water. Good nutrition will give you energy and help with milk production if you are breastfeeding.

  • Sleep when the baby sleeps. You'll be up feeding your baby in the middle of the night, so it's important to get some sleep during the day.

  • Wear a supportive bra.

  • Keep a cesarean section incision clean and dry.

  • Watch for the "baby blues." It is not uncommon to feel disappointment, cry for no reason, or be anxious during the first days or weeks after delivery. It's common for these feelings to go away soon after they start and usually without treatment. 

  • Postpartum depression is much more serious and lasts longer than the "baby blues." Symptoms include hopelessness, exhaustion, confusion or exaggerated mood swings. See your doctor if you experience these symptoms.

Motherhood is a big adjustment. The more you care for yourself, the more energy and peace of mind you'll have as you care for you baby.

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