Nurses will be doing postpartum checks routinely during your postpartum stay. These checks include your temperature, pulse, blood pressure, assessing the firmness of your uterus, looking at your vaginal flow, assessing your perineal area and helping flex your legs to feel for any tender spots. Your breasts will also be assessed for tenderness and/or fullness and your nipples for tenderness or other concerns. If you have had a cesarean birth, your lungs and bowel sounds and incision will also be assessed.
We believe every patient has a right to pain relief, and we are committed to assisting you with pain management. Using a "0-10" pain scale, your nurses will ask you to describe your pain and the effectiveness of medications and other comfort measures. You may request oral pain pills as needed for discomfort according to your provider's orders.
For women who have had vaginal deliveries, the doctor usually orders oral pain medication every 3-4 hours, as needed. Women who have had a cesarean birth may have a long-acting pain medication in the spinal anesthetic. After a cesarean birth, you may also be instructed on the use of a PCA, a Patient Controlled Analgesia pump, that allows you to self-administer medications through your IV as you need it. The day after a cesarean birth, most women make a transition to pain pills. We encourage all women who have had a vaginal birth to empty their bladder within the first 2-3 hours after delivery. Women who have had a cesarean birth will have a urinary catheter for 12-24 hours after surgery. Again, we encourage you to try to void within the first two hours of the catheter's removal.
Many women who have had a vaginal birth find that tub baths are comforting for the perineal area. Your room has a private bathtub/shower and we encourage you to sit in the tub for 15-20 minutes two to four times per day. Women who have had a cesarean birth are encouraged to shower the day after their surgery and daily thereafter.
Nursing staff will be available to assist you with learning how to care for yourself and your baby. Please let us know what your learning needs are so we can tailor your teaching to what is important to you. Feeding, diapering, bathing and tending to your baby's needs in the hospital helps you get to know your baby and develop confidence in your parenting skills.
We encourage all moms to be up and about as soon as they can safely do so. Call for help if you have any concerns, become lightheaded or if you'd just like someone there. Women who have had cesarean births are encouraged to move about in bed as soon as possible. You will be helped to sit at the edge of your bed 8-12 hours after surgery and to be up in the room with help by 24 hours after surgery. Activity will be encouraged to help your body heal, your bowels to start working again and to prevent complications.
The nurses who care for you are available to assist you with your breast-feeding needs. Nurses with specialized training in lactation are available to assist if feeding problems arise. They are also available for outpatient consultation once you are discharged from the hospital. Lactation services can be reached by calling the Family Birth Center phone number or 385-2967.