Postpartum Thriving

Postpartum Thriving

Tape this to the bathroom mirror!

by Vicki Elson, MA, CCE, CD   Feel free to make copies.


After my baby is born I will:


Lie down and rest and enjoy my baby

as much as possible for the first two weeks, breathing deeply, relaxing my face, jaw, belly

Wash my hands a lot

and ask everybody else to wash their hands, too

Pay attention to my bleeding

I will call my midwife/doctor if I soak through more than one pad in one hour

Feel my uterus (womb)

it should be firm and grapefruit-sized or smaller

Pee a lot

even if I don’t feel like it – this will help my uterus (womb) return to nonpregnant size

Take my temperature

four times a day to make sure I don’t have an infection (it should be below 100.4)

Drink plenty of water

I’ll keep water handy by my bed, couch, rocking chair…

Eat lots of the healthiest food I can find

veggies, fruits, milk, proteins (meat, chicken, fish, yogurt), whole grains if available

I’ll avoid constipating foods like cheese and peanut butter for a few days


I will call my midwife or doctor immediately if:


My temperature is above 100.4

I have chills, or I feel like I have the flu (muscle aches, headache, fatigue)


I soak through more than one sanitary pad in one hour, or I worry about how much I’m bleeding

My lochia (bleeding) is foul-smelling (not just earthy), or I notice pus or gray-green discharge


My stitches don’t look or feel right (red, swollen)

I have trouble peeing

My uterus is not firm, or is bigger than a grapefruit

I have pain, tenderness, a hot spot, or a lump in my breast, or I have pain or swelling in my leg(s)


My breathing is fast, difficult, or odd in any way

I am nauseous, vomiting, constipated, or not hungry

I am anxious, restless, stressed, faint, dizzy, confused, overly sweaty, or overtired


I feel moody, lonely, out of control, unable to function

I notice frightening thoughts about harming myself or the baby

I am troubled by any weird symptoms or problems – I will CALL!  I won’t be shy!


After two weeks I will:


Try to get out of the house and do something nice for myself every day

Stay connected with adult family and friends every day

Eat well and try to get some appropriate exercise every day

1 Comment

  1. Gwyndolyn Pentzer

    I am a nurse who does home visting childbirth education and offer doula and lactation services for a non-for-profit. I LOVE your materials! They are so spot on, down to earth, and functional…every pregnant woman should have this checklist ready for when they get home from the hospital. I like the suggestion of taping it to the mirror. Thank you for generously sharing 🙂

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