Mt Hood Women's HealthObstetrical Care

Postpartum Care

ACOG logoMt Hood Women's Health, P.C. is a member of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). We have included links to selected ACOG pamphlets whenever possible. Click a topic to learn more.

» What to expect after a vaginal delivery

ACOG pamphlets
Getting in Shape

You will experience many different changes after a vaginal birth during your postpartum period.  The first few days you will feel sore and tired.  You will also notice that your uterus continues to cramp along with mild bleeding.  If you are breastfeeding you will have cramping associated with lactation and perhaps more bleeding.  It is not uncommon to continue to have vaginal spotting up to your six week postpartum visit.  It is important at this time that you do not place anything in your vagina (no tampons, sex or douching), and that you call your provider if you develop a fever (>100.4°), have a foul odor to your discharge or begin bleeding heavier than two pads per two hours. 

If you had an episiotomy or vaginal tear you will experience some discomfort in that area.  It is important to keep this area clean and dry and follow the instructions given to you by the hospital. 

» What to expect after a cesarean section

ACOG pamphlets
Cesarean Birth

If you delivered by cesarean section, you may be tender in the abdominal area for several weeks.  To promote healing it is important to keep your incision clean and dry and avoid:

  • lifting anything over 10 pounds
  • driving for two weeks and while taking narcotic medication
  • any abdominal exercise for at least six weeks

We like to see patients two weeks after your surgery to inspect your incision.  Call sooner if you develop a fever >100.4°, increased redness or drainage from the incision, abdominal pain not relieved with your pain medication or vomiting. 

» Baby blues and postpartum depression

ACOG pamphlets
Postpartum Depression

Having a baby is a joyous occasion, but being a new mother can also be stressful and difficult. Taking time to adjust to the demands and changes that come with parenting is normal.  Approximately 13% of pregnant women and new mothers feel depressed.  If you have a history of depression, you are at an increased risk of depression postpartum and should discuss this with your provider.

Many women experience mild sadness, tearfulness, anxiety, irritability, or mood swings after having a baby. These symptoms are normal and often referred to as “baby blues”.  Baby blues usually resolve within a matter of days and typically by six weeks.  If you are feeling a mild case of the blues after having your baby, you can help yourself by getting as much rest as possible, napping when your baby naps, asking for help from family and friends, showering and dressing each day, getting out for a walk and getting someone to watch your baby when you need a break.

If your “baby blues” are not going away or becoming worse, you may have postpartum depression. Symptoms of postpartum depression include severe sadness or feelings of emptiness, emotional numbness, uncontrolled crying, withdrawal from family, friends and pleasurable activities.  You may have trouble sleeping or wanting to sleep all of the time.  You may also experience loss of appetite, feelings of failure, inadequacy, intense worry about the baby, lack of interest in the baby, thoughts of suicide or harming the baby.  If you are having these more severe symptoms please call your medical provider. Help is available and may include social support, mental health therapy or medication.

We want you to enjoy your first weeks and months at home with your new baby. Please ask for help if you are experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression.

For more information please check the Baby Blues Connection, a Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington based mom-to-mom support service.

» Advice for breast feeding problems

ACOG pamphlets

Breastfeeding can be challenging, but with help most women will be able to successfully breastfeed their baby.  While you are in the hospital, you will have a lot of support getting started.  After you go home, there are often questions and/or concerns.  The Family Birth Center Lactation service is an excellent resource for which appointments can be made by calling 503 674-1500. 

The following Websites offer additional information which you may find helpful.

  • GotMom
    A breastfeeding web source created by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) to provide breastfeeding information and resources for mothers and families.
  • La Leche League
    An organization created to support breastfeeding. 
  • Overcoming breastfeeding problems
    From Medline Plus, a service of The National Institutes of Health. 
» Newborn circumcision

ACOG pamphlets
Newborn Circumcision

If you choose to have a circumcision performed on your newborn son, our providers perform this procedure in the hospital prior to your discharge home.  If you have Oregon Health Plan please review our MHWH Circumcision policy (PDF). 

The Legacy Women’s Services Circumcision Care handout (PDF) offers additional care instructions.  

» Postpartum birth control

There are many birth control options available once you have delivered your baby.  We recommend discussing your choices with your provider during your last trimester in pregnancy and before your six week postpartum visit.  We also recommend that you wait at least one year between pregnancies.  

Breast feeding your baby will change your contraceptive options as we recommend avoiding estrogen containing contraception (combination birth control pills, NuvaRing or Ortho Evra patch).  Also since your cycles may not return while breastfeeding you should not depend on breastfeeing alone as a method of birth control or the natural family planning method.  Progestin-only hormones are safe in breastfeeding and include the progestin-only pill or “mini pill,” injectable Depo-Provera, Mirena IUD or Nexplanon.  If you chose to avoid hormones you should consider barrier methods, ParaGard IUD or permanent sterilization.   

Resources in addition to the ACOG pamphlets about birth control are listed below. Your health care provider can assist you and your partner in choosing the best method for both of you.


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24850 SE Stark St, Ste 200
Gresham, OR 97030