New Moms: Watch For These Warning Signs After Giving Birth

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Most women who give birth recover without problems. But any woman can have complications after having a baby. If you are a new mother, learn to recognize these warning signs. Knowing what to do could save your life.

Here, courtesy of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), are warning signs new mothers need to watch out for after having a baby.

Call 911 if you have:

  • Pain in the chest
  • Obstructed breathing or shortness of breath
  • Seizures
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby

Call your healthcare provider if you have:

  • Bleeding, soaking through one pad/hour or blood clots the size of an egg or bigger
  • Incision that is not healing
  • Red or swollen leg that is painful or warm to the touch
  • Temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher
  • Headache that does not get better even after taking medicine, or a bad headache with vision changes

If you cannot reach your health care provider, call 911 or go to an emergency department

Why You Should Seek Care

These post-birth warning signs can become life-threatening if you don’t receive medical care right away. Here is what each symptom might signal:

Pain in the chest, obstructed breathing or shortness of breath: May mean you have a blood clot in your lung or a heart problem.

Seizures: May mean you have a condition called eclampsia.

Thoughts or feelings of wanting to hurt yourself or your baby: May mean you have postpartum depression.

Heavy bleeding, soaking more than one pad in an hour or passing an egg-sized clot or bigger: May mean you have an obstetric hemorrhage.

Incision that is not healing, increased redness or pus from an episiotomy or C-section site: May mean you have an infection.

Redness, swelling, warmth or pain in the calf:  May mean you have a blood clot.

Temperature of 100.4 degree or higher, bad-smelling vaginal blood or discharge: May mean you have an infection.

Painful headache, vision changes, or pain in the upper right area of your belly: May mean you have high blood pressure or post birth preeclampsia.

Related links

University Hospitals offers expert care at seven birthing centers across Ohio, bringing knowledgeable specialists, experienced staff and state-of-the-art facilities closer to you. Learn more.

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