What should I expect following my vaginal delivery?

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Expect your energy level to be low the first few weeks after the baby’s birth. Listen to your body and pace yourself. Gradually increase your activity and exercise over time. During the first week, you may ride in a car and take walks, but rest as much as possible and avoid heavy lifting. In the second week following your delivery, you may begin exercises with activities like leg lifts, mild hip rolls, and very gentle sit ups. After three weeks, you may resume normal activities at home -- but continue to allow yourself rest periods.

Bathing: You may take a shallow tub bath or shower daily, but do not use douches or tampons until your follow up visit with your doctor at five to six weeks. If you had c-section, shower for the first ten days to two weeks. If a shower is not available, a very shallow tub bath may be taken.

Diet: You may resume eating a regular diet unless you had diet restrictions before your delivery. Continue taking your prenatal vitamins until they are gone. If you are breastfeeding, continue taking prenatal vitamins while you are nursing. Drink at least two quarts of fluid daily and if you are breastfeeding, drink one extra quart.

Pain: Pain medicine may be prescribed for you or you may take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for pain.

Mood: It is not unusual for you to have mood changes after delivery. While your family can help support you through these changes, if your emotions become overwhelming, please call our office, Dr. Boo, Dr. Graber or Dr. Carroll.

Breasts: If your breasts become full and painful and you are not breastfeeding, you can apply a tight binder or sports bra and ice packs. Do not express milk from breasts!

Bowels: You may notice a change in your bowel habits. If you become constipated, increase the amount of water you drink and the amount of fiber in your diet (bran flakes, prune juice, Metamucil, or Senakot). If you continue to have constipation, you may use over-the-counter medications like Colace or Milk of Magnesia, following the directions on the label. Limit consumption of milk and cheese, as they can cause you to become more constipated. If hemorrhoids are swollen and painful, soak in a tub bath and use Corticaine ointment or witch hazel pads (available over the counter) or Anusol suppositories (by prescription). If your episiotomy stitches become uncomfortable, taking a sitz bath three times a day can be very soothing.

Bleeding: The amount of bleeding that each patient has following a vaginal delivery varies greatly. The important thing is that it should not ever become extremely heavy -- heavier than the heaviest day of your period or soaking more than a pad every hour. You may bleed off and on or have some discharge for six to eight weeks after your delivery. External cleansing of the vaginal area is all that is necessary. Do not douche, use tampons, or have intercourse until after your follow-up visit with your doctor.

Contraception: Even if you are breastfeeding, it is possible that you can get pregnant. Talk with your doctor at your follow up appointment about contraception options.

Call our office immediately if any of the following occur:

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