Is your postpartum recovery not going well, and you’re wondering how to tell the regular ravages of birth from symptoms that you should be worried about? Here’s a quick rundown on when and if you need to call after you get home from the hospital:
Call your health-care provider or the nurse on duty in the maternity ward where you delivered right away if you develop a fever or blurred vision, problems urinating or having a bowel movement, you pass blood clots larger than a quarter, or your bleeding increases or soaks more than a pad an hour.
Also call your health-care provider if your breasts develop red streaks or lumps or you develop sore spots: these could be the signs of infection or a plugged or infected milk duct. Nipple pain at the start of breastfeeding is normal, but call your health-care provider about any nipple pain that persists beyond a week postpartum. And call if you develop:
- Pain in your calves, which can be a sign of a blood clot or inflamed vein
- Breathlessness; swelling in your face or fingers
- Unpleasant-smelling vaginal discharge
- An inflamed incision
- Abdominal pain that doesn’t go away
- Feeling lightheaded. Your blood volume, which increased 20 percent during pregnancy, will return to its normal levels within a week after birth. You may feel lightheaded if you sit up or stand quickly in the days after birth. Lightheadedness can also be a sign of anemia, so let your health-care provider know if you feel lightheaded more than once or twice.
- A severe headache in the first week after birth may be a dangerous symptom of preeclampsia, especially when it’s accompanied by blurred or double vision, so call your health-care provider right away if you experience severe pain or vision disturbances.