Your health after birth
There are a lot of changes that occur in a very short space of time following the birth of a baby, and it is important to consider the types of support you may need.
The type of support needed is different for everyone, but could include having someone at home to help with meals, washing or helping out with other children. It is important not to be afraid to ask for help.
For more resources on what to expect following birth and caring for yourself visit the Health Direct, Australia website.
“Postnatal or baby blues” are very common and are experienced by more than 80% of new mothers. The term refers to a range of feelings which may be experienced around the 3rd or 4th day after your baby is born and is thought to be caused by a number of factors such as sudden hormonal changes, breastfeeding hormones, sleep deprivation and the process of adjusting to parenthood.
Baby blues can appear in many forms, from being irritable, tearful, or anxious, experiencing fluctuating mood changes, being over-tired, or suffering extreme feelings of sadness or loneliness.
These feelings should disappear after a few days, and usually no specific treatment is required, but recognition, support and empathy from your family and friends is important. If you have these feelings for more than 2 weeks we strongly recommend you seek professional help from your GP or Child Health Nurse.
Bleeding after birth
Normal blood loss
You will experience heavy, bright red blood loss immediately after child birth however this should gradually decrease and lighten in colour in the days following the birth of your baby. It is important to note that you may experience vaginal discharge/spotting for 4-6 weeks after delivery.
You may experience increased blood loss and period-like cramping during breast feeds due to the release of hormones which cause your uterus to contract, but this should settle down after a few days. If needed it is safe to take Paracetamol 20 minutes before a breast feed.
Abnormal blood loss
Please follow up with your doctor as soon as possible if you have a sudden increase in blood loss once you are home. You should also tell your Midwife or GP if:
- you start to lose clots
- you have to change your pads more than hourly
- your blood loss becomes bright red and heavy again
- the blood loss has an offensive smell
- you are worried for any reason.