Postpartum Complications to Look Out For

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By Jamell Andrews

Your body goes through a lot during pregnancy and childbirth, so it’s only natural that you’ll feel some discomfort after giving birth. Feeling sore and fatigued is perfectly normal, but other discomfort may be a sign of postpartum complications.

Possible Complications after Pregnancy

While most women don’t experience complications after giving birth, the possibility, however small, is always there. Possible postpartum health issues include:

  • Infection at the wound site following a C-section
  • Endometritis, which is an infection in the uterus
  • Postpartum bleeding
  • Postpartum depression, which affects 1 in 8 women
  • Mastitis, which is an infection in the breast
  • Deep venous thrombosis (DVT), which is a blood clot

Know the Signs

Any concerning symptoms should be discussed with your doctor right away. Be aware of the following warning signs that may indicate a problem:

  • Fever higher than 100.4 F is a sign of infection
  • Heavy bleeding, which is generally bleeding that is heavier than your usual menstrual period or bleeding that gets worse instead of better
  • Pain, redness or discharge from your C-section or episiotomy site or perineal tear indicates and infection
  • Painful urination, including burning and stinging
  • Vaginal discharge with a strong odor
  • Persistent pain, warmth or swelling in a leg, especially in the calf could be a sign of DVT, which requires immediate medical treatment
  • Painful lumps in your breasts or any signs of redness
  • Severe lower abdominal pain
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Severe headaches
  • Vision changes, such as double or blurred vision, dimming, or flashing
  • Feelings of sadness or despair lasting more than 10 days after giving birth may indicate postpartum depression rather than just a case of the “baby blues”

Some signs may indicate a medical emergency that requires immediate medical treatment. If you experience any of the following signs, call 911 right away:

  • Chest pain
  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Signs of shock, such as dizziness, rapid heartbeat, fainting, clammy skin, or confusion

Though you don’t need to run to the doctor with every ache or pain you feel as some discomfort is to be expected after pregnancy; anything that seems unusual or concerning should be addressed. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

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