You did it! You delivered your little bundle of joy. Congratulations! So now that the hard work is done, your pregnancy ends, and your postpartum journey begins. Some parents naively think that the postpartum period is easier than pregnancy. While this may be true for some women, it’s definitely not true for all. Some women breeze through pregnancy just to hit several speed bumps postpartum. There are so many signs and symptoms to be on the lookout for, and you’ll definitely want to be aware of what you need to prepare for. So before you leave the hospital, there are some important questions you’ll want to ask.
How much bleeding should I expect, and what amount would require me to go to the hospital?
Argh. Yes, ladies. After delivery, whether vaginal or c-section, you will have to deal with postpartum bleeding. To prepare, it’s recommended that you stock up on large pads or adult diapers. For more on what to stock up on to prepare for postpartum, click here. With that being said, there will definitely be a larger amount of bleeding than you may be used to. However, there is an amount that you can expect. If you exceed that amount, it can be a sign of hemorrhaging, which is a huge red flag. It is vital that you clarify with your physicians the amount of bleeding that would be too much, and know when you should head to the hospital. Many hospitals have their own protocol — some are stricter than others. So it’s important to see what they constitute as too much bleeding, and keep that in mind as you venture into your postpartum journey.
How long will I be able to go to labor and delivery?
Once you end your pregnancy journey, you may think that your L&D privileges end. Many moms enjoy L&D as it’s usually a shorter wait since it’s a specific floor that’s dedicated to labor and delivery, and the doctors and nurses specialize in the branch of care you need. But once you enter postpartum, most hospitals still allow you to use L&D. This is great because you can still call their dedicated phone line for advice, and go in when you have an issue that they’re experienced in treating.
So with all that being said, it’s important to know how long you’ll be able to use labor and delivery. Most hospitals only allow you to use this service until you’re at 6 weeks postpartum. Obviously this varies from hospital to hospital, so it’s important to ask how long this service will be available to you. And if you run into any issues within that time period, be sure to take advantage of this special access.
What are the symptoms of Mastitis, and what do I do if I have them?
Mastitis is a very serious infection that some moms run into during their postpartum journey. As with any other infection, it’s extremely important to treat it quickly. That’s why you’ll need to be aware of the symptoms. Discuss them with your medical team, and ensure that you’re on the lookout for those symptoms.
Some hospitals may have a different protocol for mastitis symptoms, so be sure to ask. They may have you come in immediately on the onset of the first symptom, while some may have you wait until you break a fever. Clarify when they want you to go in so that you can be as prepared as possible.
What should I do/take to deal with the pain?
So you may be in some pain during the early postpartum period. If you had a tough labor, you can expect to be in more pain than others. It’s important to know what you can do to deal with this pain. If your pain is unbearable, you really need to voice that to your medical team. They may be able to provide you with a little extra assistance for the pain. Even if it’s not that bad, you should still double check with your doctors to see what you should take. Some may have better insight on what works best, and some may recommend some unique tools to aid you with the pain. So be sure to ask them what they recommend.
When can I have sex/workout?
Some may be wanting to ask this question, while others may not want anything to do with this subject. Depending on how hard your labor was, whether or not you needed stitches, and whether you had a c-section or vaginal delivery, you may have a longer road to recovery ahead. Ask your medical team how long you should wait for these activities, however, they may tell you to wait until your 6 week postpartum appointment to get a better answer.
What can I take home?
This may be a lesser-known perk of delivery, but you can take home much more than your baby! When you pay for the delivery room, you also pay for many of the supplies in there. Sometimes that can be scissors, pillows, gauze, pads, bulbs, and more. In the moment, these supplies may not seem that important to take home with you. However, they may come in handy as the weeks go by. As with everything else in life, you should take advantage of free items! So be sure to ask what you can take.
What’s the difference between baby blues and postpartum depression? What do I do if I feel depressed?
Come postpartum, you may undergo some changes in your mood or mental/emotional state. Baby blues, postpartum depression, and postpartum anxiety can happen in the postpartum period. There are some very real differences in symptoms, and they’re important to know in order for mom to get back to normal!
Your medical team will be able to give you the important symptoms to know, and let you know what to do if you start to feel like you’re exhibiting symptoms.
Should my baby be pooping everyday? How many times? What color is bad?
This is an important question to ask. Bowel movements and their frequency (or lack thereof) can help show how healthy your baby is. That’s why it’ll be useful to know how regular their bowel movements should be, and what colors or frequency to lookout for. The pediatrician in L&D should be able to answer all those questions for you.
How much pain is normal? Should I come in if my pain exceeds that amount?
Once again, depending on how hard your labor was, you can expect to be in a bit of pain. Some more than others. You should consult with your medical team to see how much pain to expect, and what to do if your pain exceeds that amount.
How do I care for my stitches?
Whether you had a vaginal delivery or c-section, there’s a chance that you may have stitches. Depending on the protocol of your hospital, they may have different recommendations for moms who have stitches. Be sure to ask any questions you may have about your stitches.
So there you have it! These are some very important questions to ask your medical team before leaving the hospital. You may have a lot on your mind post-delivery (go figure), so keep these questions in mind so that you can be sure to get some important information before you leave. Good luck, and welcome to mommy-hood!
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