Mom Care

Although you'll be busy taking care of your newborn after childbirth, it's also important to take care of yourself.

The first two weeks are a good time to stay home and away from crowds, while your baby's immune system is starting to develop. Your own body needs 6 to 8 weeks of healing, so get plenty of sleep (as much as possible), eat a healthy diet, and have your partner or a family member help with chores and baby care. 

You can also count on Cedars-Sinai for health resources you may need after going home with your baby.

Staying Healthy After a Delivery

Vaginal Delivery

Pregnancy and childbirth take a toll on your body, and it's common to feel some pain and fatigue when you get home. You may also have vaginal discharge for a few weeks after delivery—your body is getting rid of what surrounded the baby in your womb. In most cases, the discharge will lessen gradually. You may also feel cramps as your uterus shrinks back to its size before pregnancy. Follow your doctor's advice to make sure pain is well-controlled.

Two women hiking (holding water bottle)

If you had any tearing at the vaginal opening, or if the doctor performed an episiotomy (surgical cut) to ease the baby’s passage out of the birth canal, you’ll get instructions for keeping the wound clean and dressed.

Call the doctor right away if you:

  • Are vomiting or have an upset stomach
  • Have a fever or chills
  • See redness or feel burning at the wound site
  • Have excessive or increased vaginal bleeding

Cesarean Birth

Having a baby delivered by cesarean section is a major operation, and it takes time to recover from surgery to your belly and uterus. Get as much rest as possible, and check with your doctor before returning to regular activities. When you're ready, take a slow and gentle approach.

Watch for signs of infection around the incision, and follow your doctor's advice about controlling pain.

Call the doctor right away if you:

  • Are vomiting or have an upset stomach
  • Are bloated or can't pass gas
  • Have a fever or chills
  • See redness or feel burning at the wound site
  • Have excessive or increased vaginal bleeding
Yoga class (woman-strenching)

When Should You Call the Doctor?

New recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say that women should have their first postpartum checkup within 3 weeks of childbirth, with regular visits after that. But you should also call your obstetrician or primary-care doctor if, in addition to the issues listed above, you have:

  • Excessive or increased vaginal bleeding (1 pad soaked in 1 hour), or visible clots in the blood
  • A temperature over 100.4 F (38°C)
  • Drainage, redness or increased pain or burning at a cesarean incision site
  • Any pain not relieved by prescribed medications—at a cesarean incision site, in the nipples or breasts, in the belly or kidney area (mid-back), or when urinating
  • Postpartum blues (intense emotions that interfere with daily activities)
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Dizziness, chills or fainting
  • A severe headache that interferes with vision
  • Pain in the calves that doesn’t go away

Experiencing a medical emergency? Please call 911 or your doctor immediately.

New Mom Nutrition

After your baby arrives, you may be eager to lose the pregnancy weight—but don't cut back too much on food, especially if you're breastfeeding. Eat nutritious meals and get enough calories to feed your baby and regain energy. Include lots of fresh vegetables and fruit in your diet. High-fiber foods are especially helpful if you’re constipated, a common problem after childbirth.

All new moms should drink plenty of water, too. For nursing moms, a good rule is to drink one glass of water every time you breastfeed. Avoid drinking alcohol, which can also help with weight loss.

Lactation Program

Breastfeeding is good for your infant—and it can help with mother-baby bonding, too. But for some women, it isn't easy to produce enough milk or nurse comfortably.

The Cedars-Sinai Lactation Program provides breastfeeding advice and support, while you’re in the hospital and by phone when you get home.

Postpartum Depression Help

You may feel a wide range of emotions during pregnancy and after giving birth. If you're still sad, anxious or not quite yourself more than a week or two after arriving home, you could have perinatal postpartum depression. It's a serious but treatable condition that affects many new moms, and help is available.