MSD Manual

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After Delivery: When to Call the Doctor

After Delivery: When to Call the Doctor

Area

Symptoms

Possible Cause

Discharge

If blood soaks a sanitary pad every hour for more than 2 hours

If the discharge smells foul

If the discharge contains very large clots (larger than a golf ball)

Bleeding (hemorrhage)

Temperature

If the temperature is 100.4° F (38° C) or higher at any time during the first week

Urination

If urination hurts (not just stings)

If the bladder cannot be emptied completely

If urination occurs much more frequently than usual

Lower abdomen

If pain or discomfort is felt in the lower abdomen (above the pubic area) after the first 5 days

Infection of the uterus or bladder

Back

If pain is felt in the back or side just under the rib cage, particularly if fever is also present or urination is painful

Kidney infection

Breast

If a firm lump is felt in the breast after engorgement has subsided

A blocked milk duct

If the breast is painful, swollen, or red or feels hot or tender

Mood

If a new mother has any of the following symptoms for more than 2 weeks:

  • A very sad mood

  • Extreme fatigue

  • Frequent crying

  • Sleep problems (too much or too little)

  • Loss of appetite

  • Overeating

  • Irritability

  • Inability to care for herself or her newborn

Incision from a cesarean delivery

If soreness increases

If this area turns red or becomes swollen or hard to the touch

If there is any discharge from the incision

Wound infection

Leg or chest

If the leg is swollen or painful

If a new mother has sudden, sharp chest pain or chest pain that worsens when she inhales

If breathing becomes difficult

General

If a new mother feels light-headed, faints, or feels short of breath

A blood clot in the lungs

Severe anemia