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Taking Care of Mom


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After birth, you will notice many changes in your body.  It takes at least 6 weeks for your body to "heal" after giving birth.  During your stay on Mother/Baby, your nurse will be routinely checking your vital signs and condition and will instruct you on things to do to help your healing process.  You will also receive instructions prior to discharge on what to expect after you get home.

Breastfeeding Support
For breastfeeding questions or difficulties after discharge, please call 630-527-3238 to make an outpatient appointment with one of our Board Certified Lactation Consultants.  Learn more about Breastfeeding Support.

A Breastfeeding Support Group is free for any breastfeeding mom, led by a certified Lactation Counselor. Join other breastfeeding moms for support and to have questions answered. No registration required. Bring your breastfed baby!  Meets on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays, immediately following Cradle Talk, around 11:45 a.m.  For more information or directions, call (630) 527-7685.

Nurturing Mom: A support group for post-partum depression
The birth of a baby can trigger powerful emotions, from excitement and joy to fear and anxiety. But it can also result in something you might not expect - depression. This Linden Oaks support group meets on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays , immediately following Cradle Talk, around 11:45 a.m. Babies are welcome.  No registration is necessary.  Please call (630) 527-6363 for more information or go to Classes & Events for more information.

Linden Oaks also provides a phone line dedicated to women, or anyone concerned about a woman, who may be experiencing signs or symptoms of post-partum depression. Call our MOM's LINE at (630) 527-7294.

Changes in Your Body
Your life as you knew it is completely changed once your baby arrives. Taking care of a baby is a full-time job, and you're going to feel it - physically and emotionally. No matter what your prior professional or personal life may have been, motherhood is a total transformation. Some first-time moms find it difficult to adjust to their new role, but if you know what to expect it may be easier: 

Cramping (Afterbirth Pains or contractions)

After the birth of your baby and the delivery of the placenta, your uterus will begin the process of shrinking back to its pre-pregnancy size, which takes approximately 6 weeks.  During this time you may feel afterbirth pains or cramping, especially during nursing and after multiple pregnancies. Taking ibuprofen (motrin) can be a big help, although some moms may need prescription medicine. Sometimes lying on a pillow and changing positions may help the discomfort as well.


Bleeding (Lochia) 

It is normal to bleed after birth for about 4 to 6 weeks. This normal occurrence is called lochia, and it takes a while to subside as your uterus and the lining are going back to their regular size. The length of time is different for every woman but it will change from red discharge to white or yellow discharge and then it will stop. Sometimes, women notice a brisk gush of blood about one week after delivery. This is thought to be bleeding from the scar where the placenta was attached. It usually goes away after about an hour. If you soak a large maxipad in less than an hour, or continue to have heavy bleeding after 6 weeks, contact your health care provider. 



If your doctor performed an episiotomy, the healing process may take two to three weeks, but eventually your stitches will dissolve and you will be able to sit on a normal surface again. Meanwhile your health care provider will give you a list of things that you can do to expedite the healing process and to soothe the discomfort.   



One of the most common after effects of pushing during labor is hemorrhoids, or swollen blood vessels around the anus that may bleed and be painful. Depending on the severity of the swelling, you may want to soak your bottom in a few inches of warm water in the bath or wear a cotton pad soaked with cold witch hazel cream in the anal area. Eating foods high in fiber will help to alleviate constipation, which may exacerbate hemorrhoids. If the pain is unbearable, you may need prescription medicine.


Breast changes 

Whether or not you are breastfeeding, you'll know when your milk comes in because your breasts may be so full of milk that they get hard and engorged. To best protect your breasts from engorgement pain, be sure to wear a well-fitted, supportive bra at all times. If you are not breastfeeding, try using cold packs to your breasts to relieve the pain and decrease the swelling.  If you are breastfeeding, frequent feedings (every 2-3 hours) throughout the day and night will help alleviate the engorgement.  If you continue to have problems with engorgement or if it causes breastfeeding difficulties, call our Breastfeeding Center to make an appointment to talk to a Lactation Consultant.


Urinary and bowel movement issues 

For the first few days (and sometimes weeks) after birth, your urine and bowel movements may be out of sorts. Some women experience a lack of control and others find it difficult to urinate or have a bowel movement. The culprit: stretching of the base of the bladder, the stretching and weakening of the pelvic floor muscles, tearing of the perineum, and nerve injury to the sphincter muscles around the anus. The treatment: Kegel exercises to improve the bladder, and special doctor-prescribed exercises to control your bowels.


Most women find that problems with urine, gas or stool leaking resolve within a few weeks to months after delivery. If you continue to have trouble with either one, it is important to inform your health care provider.  Your doctor may order a consult with our Urogyne Services in the  Rehabilitation Services department.


Intense fatigue 

Every new mom (and dad too!) suffers from sleep deprivation. To help manage your fatigue, you can line up or accept offers of help from friends or family to help you initially. Try and make time to nap if possible and get some rest, as you are recovering too. The best strategy: sleep whenever your baby sleeps.


A rollercoaster of emotions 

You may feel overwhelmed, stressed out, teary, elated, or even depressed. Some of those feelings are normal and to be expected, but if you're unable to function or shrug off the blues you should consult a professional. The huge hormonal shifts of delivery can cause severe depression in some women. Learn more. 


While you are on our Mother/Baby unit, your nurse will have you fill out a postpartum depression screening tool.  If you are at risk for postpartum depression, you may receive a visit from a social worker or a therapist from Linden Oaks.  We also do follow-up calls with new moms after discharge.  Edward Hospital offers several support groups for new moms and dads which may help you through this time of adjustment.  

Linden Oaks also provides a phone line dedicated to women, or anyone concerned about a woman, who may be experiencing signs or symptoms of post-partum depression. Call our MOM's LINE at (630) 527-7294.


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Edward Hospital & Health Services
801 S. Washington, Naperville, IL 60540 • (630) 527-3000

Naperville • Plainfield • Bolingbrook • Oswego • Woodridge
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