We listen to mothers to determine the most important health information and also carefully recommend the organizations that we trust. The information here is not comprehensive nor is it medical advice; the content is intended to add to your health discussions and planning.
Download a one-page document to stick on your refrigerator about urgent warning signs and concerning symptoms – and tips for taking care of you.
What are the maternal health warning signs?
Taking Care of You
- Trust your feelings and also get information and support. Caring for yourself is important.
- You matter and deserve to heal. Allow others to help and show they care.
- You should feel safe, physically and emotionally. If you do not feel safe, please speak with someone you trust and/or know. Anonymous support is available.
- Don’t drive when you are very tired or have difficulty focusing on the road.
- Following birth, applying ice packs to your bottom can help with pain and reduce swelling. After a day or so, warm compresses, soaking your bottom area in warm water can feel good.
- Consider using a peri (squirt) bottle after using the toilet.
- Bleeding after birth (often called lochia) is normal. Quarter-sized blood clots are common the first few days.
- A number of nerves are cut during a cesarean section. It can take months for the incision area to feel normal.
- Some people have varicose veins, stretch marks, extra skin, hair loss or different hair texture after giving birth. It can be hard to see your body change, but think of those as badges of honor.
- Incontinence is a common condition in which pee or poop comes out when you don’t want it to. Treatment is available and can help for pelvic floor problems.
- A lower sex drive after childbirth is common. Talk with your partner. If you are interested in having sex, consider using a lubricant.
- You are physically able to get pregnant a few weeks after childbirth. This is especially true if baby gets anything other than your milk.
- Talk to your provider about recovery, family planning goals, and your birth control options.
- Breast fullness and engorgement (when your breasts fill with milk and are firm to the touch) usually occurs around 3 to 7 days after delivery.
- Being in pain is stressful, and experiencing stress can make you feel more pain and cause breastfeeding problems. Get support right away.
Learn More: NewMomHealth.com > Self-Care
Maternal Health Warning Signs Resources:
- CDC Hear Her for New Families, Care Providers, and more – in multiple languages
- New Parent Health One-Pager with details about warning signs
- Tips for Communicating with your health teams
- Know there is anonymous, 24/7 support available. Learn about the maternal mental health hotline or call 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS
- Download a one-page document about infant warning signs. Stick on your refrigerator to learn about emergencies and concerning symptoms.
- Postpartum Support International has an online chat, resources, and PSI HelpLine: 1-800-944-4773
#1 En Español or #2 English (Text in English: 800-944-4773 and Text en Español: 971-203-7773).
- For those serving in the military: The Military Crisis Line, text-messaging service, and online chat provide free VA support for all Service members, including members of the National Guard and Reserve, and all Veterans, even if they are not registered with VA or enrolled in VA health care.