Shortly after you give birth at Parkland Health Center, you and your baby will be transferred to one of our mother-baby rooms to begin your recovery. Your designated nurse will perform a checkup every hour, monitoring both you and your baby’s vitals, your baby’s feedings and your postpartum recovery, which includes:
- Administering pain medication (e.g. ibuprofen, Tylenol, prescription)
- Performing fundal massages, which is a type of uterine massage to help the uterus contract back to its usual size
- Cleaning your episiotomy/tear with a peri-bottle and witch hazel pads and/or checking your C-section incision
- Changing your pads and mesh underwear, which you’ll be wearing for days (and even weeks) after delivery
- Monitoring your vaginal blood loss (lochia discharge) for signs of hemorrhage
- Providing breastfeeding support and guidance as needed
Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders
All new moms experience a period of adjustment after giving birth. While pregnancy and childbirth are oftentimes filled with joy, the changes and demands you experience may feel overwhelming. It’s very common for new moms to have the ‘baby blues,’ especially in the first few days and weeks following childbirth.
Usually, feeling sad and irritable will not stop you from taking care of your baby or yourself. But if those feelings prevent you from enjoying life or last longer than two to three weeks, you may have perinatal depression. Many parents experience perinatal depression and anxiety, which can occur at any time during your pregnancy or in your baby’s first year. Symptoms may include:
- Feeling sad, anxious or ‘empty’
- Low mood most (or all) of the day
- Change in sleeping or eating habits
- Feeling helpless, guilty or worthless
- Thoughts about hurting your baby, even if you will not act on them
- Problems concentrating or making simple decisions
- Thoughts about death or suicide
- Panic attacks
- Obsessive thoughts
Asking for Help
If you’re feeling blue, don’t give up. There is help available. Here are some important things you can do to help with symptoms of perinatal depression and anxiety:
- Ask for help. Talk with your doctor, call a crisis hotline or ask a loved one to get you the care you need.
- Get support from family and friends. Research shows that adequate sleep and time away from your baby (even if it’s for just 30 minutes) is very important to emotional health.
- Ask your faith or other community leaders about other support resources.
- Join a support group or talk to other parents.
- Learn the signs of perinatal depression and anxiety.