Postpartum specialists in Florida
The hours, days, weeks and months after you welcome your little one into the world are full of new experiences, questions and emotions.
Your body has performed a miraculous event, and your baby is in your arms. However, we understand being a new mom is truly a labor of love—both physically and mentally. That’s why the providers at HCA Florida Physicians provide compassionate postpartum care, from the moment you give birth to even after you take your baby home.
What to expect after you give birth
After labor and delivery, you will typically stay in the hospital for a day or two, or until your provider discharges you. This is so your provider and care team can help you with your postpartum health recovery.
Your postpartum hospital stay
The hospitals our providers partner with for labor and delivery are equipped with all the amenities you need for a comfortable recovery. Your room will have plenty of space for your baby to room in with you, as well as sleeping accommodations for your support partner.
Throughout your postpartum care stay, your postpartum care team will be checking on you and helping you in any way they can. They can answer any questions you may have about your recovery or caring for your newborn. They are also always available to care for your baby in the hospital's well-baby nursery when you need time to sleep and rest.
Post-pregnancy changes for mom
Just as early pregnancy causes many rapid changes, so does childbirth. As soon as labor is over, your body begins to return to its pre-pregnancy state. The following changes begin to take place:
- Delivery causes aches and pains throughout the body, but especially in the back.
- Breasts may continue to enlarge. After birth, they will secrete colostrum, a thick, yellow milk that's filled with nutrients for the newborn. Breasts may feel sore, but a supportive bra and cold compresses can help.
- Starting during labor, the uterus will begin to shed its lining, called lochia. The entire process should be complete by the six-week postpartum checkup. The lochia will lighten in color and volume as time passes.
- The uterus begins to contract and return to its normal size. These contractions sometimes continue for up to a week after the birth and can cause some abdominal discomfort. You may find that a warm compress or heating pad soothes the pain.
- Hormone levels adjust. In just a few days, progesterone and estrogen levels can vary by up to 90 percent. These drastic fluctuations may cause mood swings or sadness. If these feelings last more than a short time, contact your prenatal care provider.
- Your skin may develop blotches or other discoloration that usually go away relatively soon after delivery. Other differences in complexion also usually disappear as hormones levels normalize.
- Women who breastfeed will note a marked increase in appetite. It's important to eat nutrient-rich foods that are not high in fat or sugar. On average, breastfeeding mothers need about 500 extra calories per day.
- The baby tummy often takes four to five months to go away, depending on the rate at which the uterus shrinks and the state of abdominal muscles prior to pregnancy. It can be tempting to begin a workout regimen after pregnancy, but please consult with your provider before starting any postpartum exercise routine.
Pregnancy blues after birth
Due to the significant hormone changes that take place after birth, many women experience the pregnancy blues, also called the "baby blues." The baby blues may feel like sadness, emptiness or a range of other emotions. However, if these feelings continue for more than a couple weeks, it may be postpartum depression.
Signs of depression after birth
Postpartum depression is common, affecting about one in eight postpartum women in the U.S. Its symptoms vary from woman to woman. However, you may have postpartum depression if you experience prolonged sadness or the following symptoms:
- Anxiety and depression
- Feeling disconnected from your baby, friends or family
- Feelings of hopelessness and/or emptiness
- Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Mood swings
- Thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby
Postpartum depression help
Caring for a new baby is a tough job, so dealing with postpartum depression can make that job even more challenging. That's why HCA Florida Physicians is dedicated to making postpartum depression support easily accessible.
If you feel like you may have postpartum depression, contact your prenatal care provider. Your provider will first provide consultation and a listening ear to learn about your symptoms. From there, they can look within our network, if necessary, to find just the right resource for you as close to home as possible.
Together, we will help you manage and overcome postpartum depression, so you can enjoy all motherhood has to offer. We'll help you however we can, and the first step to feeling like yourself again is simply asking for help.
Our postpartum health teams
We consider it a great privilege to care for you and help bring your baby into the world, but our support doesn't stop there. We are dedicated to providing you with the expertise and resources you need in your post-pregnancy journey—from birth to the months after you take your baby home.
If you need additional support, such as breastfeeding support, urogynecologic care or postpartum depression care, your OB/GYN or midwife can help you get it. Our statewide healthcare network is vast, and we are committed to using it to your and your baby's benefit.