9 Postpartum Red Flags
At Tennessee Family Doulas, one of our primary areas of focus is supporting women and families during the first days at home with a new baby. We know that the joys of bringing a baby home are mixed with the challenges of interrupted sleep, new routines, and learning how to care for the baby.
During the first 6-8 weeks at home, your body will be in major recovery mode. It is normal to have bleeding like you would during your period (called lochia), perineal pain, tender breasts, hair loss, and a variety of aches (especially as your uterus returns to its regular size.). But, there are some abnormal signs that need immediate attention. If you experience any of these, reach out to your doctor or midwife:
#1 Painful urination. This could be a sign of a urinary tract infection.
#2 Heavy bleeding. Some bleeding after giving birth is normal, but if it increases rather than decreases (especially if there are large clots of blood) then it might be a sign of hemorrhaging.
#3 Headache. Experiencing a headache that won’t go away or is very intense, could be a symptom of high blood pressure or stroke.
#4 Fever. A fever higher than 100.4 degrees could be a sign of an infection or other medical issue.
#5 Lumps in your breast that are painful and new. This can be a sign of an infection called mastitis.
#6 A red or swollen leg. If the lower leg is red or swollen and feels warm or painful to the touch, it could be deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a blood clot.
#7 Chest pain, severe coughing or gasping for air. This could be a pulmonary embolism (PE) when a blood clot moves to a lung.
#8 An incision or episiotomy that is not healing or is red.
#9 Excessive worry. As hormones return to normal levels, many women experience some emotional ups and downs. It is also normal to feel overwhelmed with this new season of life. But, excessive worry, sadness, or despair that doesn’t go away can be a sign of postpartum depression.
Be aware of your body, keep all your postpartum appointments, and consider connecting with Tennessee Family Doulas for postpartum support. Our Postpartum Doulas are available for short shifts, daytime help, overnight support and even live-in care.
During our time with you, things will feel smoother and you will gain a sense of control. Your baby will become more predictable and you will continue to recover from birth. We can even help with meal preparation, sibling care, breastfeeding and bottlefeeding, postpartum depression, and so much more!