Postpartum Warning Signs

After the birth of a baby, whether through normal delivery or a C-section, the mother becomes preoccupied with the baby and they forget all about their body. However, it is important to care for your baby and yourself as well. While complications after normal birth are rare, they can always occur. It is advisable to pay very close attention to your body and look out for any potential postnatal warning signs.

Postpartum Warning Signs

These are the signs you should look out for during the first few weeks after delivery. Contact your doctor immediately if your experience the following signs.

Warning Signs



When you feel depressed or sad coupled with delusions and thoughts of harming either you or your baby. This signifies postnatal depression.

Severe Bleeding

Your bleeding does not seem to be tapering off. It should not be bright red for more than 4 days after delivery. Also, when bleeding resumes after it had stopped and if it contains blood clots that are too big and have a foul smell.


If you develop a fever, even the mildest one. While a fever may not necessarily indicate something serious, it is always best to have it checked out in case it brings about an infection.

Consistent Pain

You experience consistent abdominal and pelvic pain. While there may be initial pains after birth, they should wear off with time. Call you doctor is the afterpains get worse.

Incision Pain

You experience soreness and excruciating pain past the first few weeks. Also, take note of any discharge, swelling and redness at the point of incision if you underwent a C section.

Severe Vaginal Pain

You experience severe pain in your vagina or perineum. You also experience smelly discharge and swelling.

Breast Pain and Changes

You experience pain in part of your breast that is not relieved after you nurse or warm soak. Also, look out for swelling and redness in one area of the breast that is accompanied by flu and fever.

Severe Pain when Urinating

You experience pain when urinating and you feel the urge to pee frequently, but very little comes out. You notice your urine is dark and contains blood traces. However, a stingy feeling is normal when urinating as the urine touches a laceration that came about during birth.

Leg Pain and Swelling

You experience a persistent pain and tenderness in a section of your leg. You may also find that one of your legs remains swollen long after birth while the other is not.


You notice the appearance of hives or rash accompanied by itching. This may signify you’re allergic to some of the medication you’re on.

IV Insertion

The place where IV insertion was done becomes tender, painful and swollen.

Headache, Vomiting, Double Vision

  • Persistent and painful headaches.
  • Blurred vision and also double vision.
  • Persistent and severe vomiting.

Do not hesitate to call 911 if:

  • You are experiencing signs of shock, which include weakness, palpitation, rapid heartbeat, light-headedness, shallow and rapid breathing, confusion and restlessness.
  • You bleed profusely.
  • You cough up blood or have chest pain.

Normal Body Changes After Giving Birth

1. Hair Loss

It is normal to lose some amounts of hair after giving birth. On average, you may lose 100 hair strands each Day. However, normal hair growth returns after a few weeks.

2. Skin Discoloration

It is normal for skin color tans to fade away in some women while others experience the development of red rash around the chin and mouth accompanied by dry skin. These skin changes should be gone within a couple of weeks.

3. Breast Changes

Your breasts will become flushed, sore, swollen and engorged with breast milk. This mostly occurs for at least two days after giving birth. After the swelling stops, your breasts may sag because of the stretched skin. The milk leaks will continue for a few more days even if you are not breastfeeding.

4. Changes in Your Stomach

After you have given birth, your uterus is still large; it weighs at least 2 and a half pounds. You can feel it by touching your navel. After a few weeks, it shrinks in size, and it becomes impossible to feel it. The line you had on your abdomen during your pregnancy also disappears but the stretch marks may linger for longer. Flabbiness in your midsection is also common. Yoga, sit-ups and any other abdominal exercises can help in easing the flabbiness.

5. Back Pain

It is going to be a while before your abdominal muscles get back to normal. This causes you to experience backache as the muscles tighten up again. Poor posture while pregnant can also cause backaches. This should be gone within six weeks.

6. Urinary Inconsistency

Once you have given birth, your bladder is no longer under pressure and hence you will not urinate as often as before. However, you may have put pressure on your urethra during birth causing difficulty in urination after birth. A urinary tract infection can also cause urinary inconsistency.

7. Postpartum Constipation

If you suffered from constipation while pregnant, you may also suffer from it after delivery. Bowel movement is made painful by hemorrhoids and episiotomy. Take diets rich in fiber, taken in plenty of water and juices as well as milk to ease the pain.

8. Vaginal Discharge and Pain

Your vagina may become tender and stretched after delivery. Vaginal discharge is also normal during this period. Most of it is made of blood and uterine lining clots. This is referred to as lochia and can persist for a few weeks. You can resume your sexual activity after four weeks of delivery. If breastfeeding, it is common to experience vaginal dryness, which makes sex uncomfortable. Use of water soluble lubricants can ease the pain.

9. Varicose Veins and Swollen Legs

The puffiness and swelling you experienced during pregnancy will soon fade. However, it is normal to experience twitchiness after giving birth. In case this happens, you can take walks for relief.

10. Sweating

Excessive sweating after giving birth, especially at night, is normal. This is a way for your body to discharge all the excess fluids that were accumulated while you were pregnant.

11. Increased Energy Levels

It is normal for new mothers to feel energized after giving birth. Your aerobic capacity can increase by up to 20% within the first six weeks after giving birth. However, this can be the complete opposite for some women who feel lazy, tired and moody instead of feeling energized.

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