Postpartum Danger Signs
What To Remember
The postpartum period is the most neglected aspect of maternal health.
Almost 2/3 of maternal deaths occur outside the week of birth. Majority of these deaths could have been prevented had there been more social support and education.
It can be REALLY hard to remember what danger signs your care provider told you to remember after giving birth…because you just gave birth.
I’ve compiled a list of danger signs for the postpartum period for you to review.
If you’re not sure what signs are normal or what signs should be evaluated by a professional, reach out to your care team or send me a message. If you don’t know and need help— ask! We got you.
If one of these danger signs happens to you it’s best to head to the emergency room as quickly as possible (day or night!).
Temperature greater than 100.4. You may also have fast breathing, fast heartbeat, extreme pain or discomfort, sweaty or clammy skin.
A postpartum fever can be caused by a number of different things:
Mastitis: inflammation in the breast usually caused by obstruction, allergy or infection.
Symptoms: fever, flu-like symptoms with redness around your breast
Seek medical counsel AND reach out to a lactation consultant for management.
Endometritis: infection of the uterus after delivery. Women who had a long labor with multiple vaginal exams, or had to have a placenta manually removed, a hemorrhage with manual compression, or a c-section are at the highest risk.
Symptoms: fever foul smelling discharge, a tender belly.
Wound infection after c-section or vaginal repair
Symptoms: fever, pain at site of incision, redness, pus, painful urination. Vaginal or perineal pain that doesn’t resolve by week 3 or pain/pressure that worsens with time
This can occur right after delivery (immediate hemorrhage) or you can bleed heavily a few days or even weeks after giving birth (delayed hemorrhage)
Symptoms: Bleeding that is heavier than your normal period, fill up a pad with blood in 1-2 hours, pass 2-3 big golf ball sized clots
3. Postpartum preeclampsia or high blood pressure:
Symptoms: Headache that doesn’t go away with acetaminophen or caffeine, blurry vision, spots before your eyes, pain in upper right side of abdomen.
4. Other danger signs.
Sharp shooting pain in calf could be from a blood clot in your leg.
Shortness of breath or chest pain could be from a blood clot in your lungs.
Urinary retention or inability to void could be from
Inability to walk without assistance
Depressed mood, thoughts of self harm, thoughts of harming others could be a sign of postpartum depression.