Post-Partum Instructions for Vaginal Delivery
General Activity – You may gradually increase your activities as your strength and comfort permit. The first week you return home, you should rest and care for only yourself and your newborn.
Take frequent naps – Avoid heavy chores, lifting greater than 25 pounds, straining or prolonged standing. Walking, however, will help prevent many complications and assist in healing. You may walk up and down stairs if necessary, but go slowly and hold the handrail for support. Avoid intercourse until cleared by your physician at your follow-up visit in 6 weeks. This allows your episiotomy and perineum to heal.
Bathing – You may shower and wash your hair. Short tub baths in warm water are permissible.
Diet – Eat a well-balanced diet. Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid constipation.
Driving a Car – Short car rides are permissible, but avoid long car-trips until cleared by your physician at your follow-up appointment. Do not drive until after you have stopped taking narcotic pain medications and you are able to twist your body quickly to look over your shoulder and to step on the brakes without hesitation. This usually requires at least 2 weeks.
Perineal Care – Clean your perineum with every trip to the bathroom. After using the toilet, wipe gently from front to back. Rinse with a peri-bottle filled with warm water and pat dry with a clean towel or tissue. Change your peri-pads frequently. You may use Tucks pads or Dermaplast/Epifoam to ease episiotomy discomfort. You may soak briefly in a tub of warm water to ease discomfort, but avoid soap, bubbles, or shaving the area.
Medications – Mild over-the-counter pain medications (like ibuprofen and naproxen) and stool softeners/laxatives may be used as necessary unless otherwise instructed. You may also be prescribed a mild narcotic to use for breakthrough pain in combination with ibuprofen or naproxen. Resume all other home medications on discharge. Follow your physician’s advice regarding medication precautions while breastfeeding.
Returning to Work – Most patients choose to take 6-8 weeks off work for infant care and bonding. You will probably feel ready to return to work in 2 weeks, but it may take 6 weeks for your body to return to a pre-pregnancy state.
Follow-up Appointment – Call for an appointment if not already scheduled. You will be seen for your final post-partum appointment 4 weeks after delivery.
Problems or Questions – Do not hesitate to call if you have any problems or questions. If your physician is not available, one of the others will help you. Promptly report any of the following problems: fever (temperature >100.5 degrees), problems with the episiotomy, severe pain or nausea, red or painful breasts, pain or burning on urination, severe depression, foul-smelling vaginal discharge, excessive bleeding or passage of clots larger than an orange, or any other unusual symptoms you may be experiencing.