Postpartum Care

What to Expect After Delivery

Even after delivery, you’ll still need outstanding care and attention. Emory Healthcare will be here to help you heal and adjust to your new role as a parent. Discover what you can expect at each of our maternity centers, after we meet your little one.

In-Hospital Care and Recovery

Typically, you will be in the hospital for 24 to 72 hours after giving birth. How long you stay with us will depend on whether you had a vaginal birth, cesarean section or experienced any other complications. Your care team, including nurses, physicians and advanced practice providers will monitor your health and every step of your recovery.

During this time, you’ll also have the opportunity to meet with our lactation consultants to answer any feeding questions. Your baby can also be circumcised by one of our obstetricians, if you so choose.

Postpartum Appointment

Before you leave the hospital, your doctor will ask you to schedule your postpartum appointment—usually around four weeks after delivery. However, if you experienced any complications, have an underlying medical condition or a history of complications after childbirth, you may be asked to schedule sooner.

During the postpartum visit, your doctor will check in to see how you are adapting to life with your baby and evaluate how your body is healing after labor and delivery. You can also get answers to commonly asked questions such as:

  • What should I eat? A well-balanced diet with plenty of lean protein and healthy fats can help restore your body. Breastfeeding also calls for adequate nutrition (and burns a lot of calories!).
  • When can I drive? New mothers can typically get behind the wheel one to two weeks after delivery, provided they are no longer taking narcotic pain killers. It’s also important to make sure you can see behind you which means you need to be able to twist from the waist without pain.
  • When can I exercise? Ease back into any exercise routines slowly. Start with light walking and wait four to six weeks to resume intense exercise routines.
  • When is it safe to have sex again? Your body needs time to heal after delivery. Usually, it’s safe to have sex around six weeks after delivery (or later if you’re not yet ready). You know your body best.

Supporting Your Mental and Emotional Health

Your physical health isn’t the only thing to monitor after labor and delivery. Adjusting to a completely new lifestyle can also take a toll on your mental health. Your body is also adjusting to new hormone levels, and you’re likely operating on very little sleep.

It’s common to feel anxious, depressed, worried or even angry at your partner around two or three days after delivery. These “baby blues” are normal and should go away on their own in a few weeks. Still, be kind to yourself and take care of yourself as much as you can. Drink plenty of water, try to rest and eat healthy and filling meals.

If your anxiety or depression worsens or doesn’t get better on its own, please let a loved one, friend or your doctor know. There’s no reason to be embarrassed about postpartum depression. In fact, the best thing you can do for you and baby is to seek help as soon as possible.

Emory Healthcare has a dedicated maternal mental health department that serves and supports pregnant and postpartum women. Together, you can create a plan to manage your feelings and find your way back to feeling like you again—all in a compassionate, understanding and judgment-free space.

If you have thoughts of harming yourself or someone else, including your baby, please get immediate help at your nearest emergency room. Experienced and caring mental health professionals can help keep you safe and offer the immediate support you need.

Care and Resources Tailored to You

Becoming a parent isn’t something you and your partner have to do alone. While there’s no handbook, we do have many different resources to help answer questions, ease fears and give you the confidence and knowledge that you can and will be the amazing parent you were meant to be.

Support available at Emory Healthcare includes: