Warning signs after birth

Your body goes through lots of changes after having your baby. These changes help your body recover from pregnancy and help you get ready to care for your new baby.

It’s normal to feel some discomfort, like soreness and fatigue, as your body heals after giving birth. However, other discomforts and health problems may be a sign that you need medical care.

What are some health problems new moms may have after giving birth?

Chances are that you’ll be healthy after giving birth. But some moms may have some health problems, like:

What warning signs should you look for?

Call your provider if you have any of these warning signs:

  • Bleeding that’s heavier than your normal menstrual period or that gets worse
  • Discharge, pain or redness that doesn’t go away or gets worse. These could be from a c-section incision (cut), episiotomy or perineal tear (a tear that happens between the vagina and rectum).
  • Feelings of sadness that last longer than 10 days after giving birth
  • Fever higher than 100.4 F
  • Pain or burning when you go to the bathroom
  • Pain, swelling and tenderness in your legs, especially around your calves
  • Red streaks on your breasts or painful lumps in your breast
  • Severe pain in your lower belly, feeling sick to your stomach or throwing up
  • Vaginal discharge that smells bad

Get help!

Trust your instincts. If you feel like something’s wrong, call your health care provider. Many of these problems can be treated easily. But if you ignore warning signs and they go untreated, they may cause more serious problems. Call your provider or emergency medical services (911) right away if you think your life may be in danger, or if you have any of these warning signs:

  • Bleeding that can’t be controlled
  • Chest pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Signs of shock, such as chills, clammy skin, dizziness, fainting or a racing heart

More information

Last reviewed: June, 2013