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4 Common Postpartum Complications and When to Visit the Doctor

Your body evolves physically in more ways than you can imagine after giving birth. Usually, these changes are mild and harmless, but knowing what is expected and when to be worried about your symptoms is essential.

Lack of awareness and inadequate care following pregnancy can lead to serious health hazards and complications for mothers, which could have been avoided with timely intervention. In this article, we’ll go over four of the most common issues new mothers face in the 6 weeks following childbirth (the postpartum period) and how to manage them.

1. Urinary Incontinence

Maternal incontinence is involuntary urine discharge during pregnancy or after giving birth. Childbirth can take a toll on your body, and your pelvic floor can become weak, causing incontinence. Incontinence may become a cause of embarrassment and hinder your everyday activities and movements.

Fortunately, it is a prevalent maternal health issue faced by almost 44% to 57% of the female population and can be controlled or reversed with effective postpartum care. You can consult professional care providers at for incontinence to help relieve your discomfort with effective treatment options.

2. Hypertensive Disorders

Women's blood pressure often shoots at postpartum day three to day six, which usually resolves by the end of the first or second week. It is normal to experience a blood pressure of 140/90 during this period because the body works harder to provide blood for both the mother and the child. However, exceeding this may cause serious health concerns and warrant an immediate visit to the doctor.

Make sure to regularly measure your blood pressure at home to reduce the risk factor for stroke and other complications. Breastfeeding is recommended during this period and has been known to minimize postpartum hypertension.

3. Uterine Contractions

After birth, abdominal pains and cramps are an indication of uterine contractions. It is a normal condition where the uterus contracts to return to its pre-pregnancy size and to shrink blood vessels in the placenta region to prevent postpartum hemorrhage. You can take prescribed NSAIDs and over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen to manage the pain.

Gentle movements and slow walking have been shown to relieve cramps. Heating pads may also help subside these sporadic pains. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience extreme pain with heavy bleeding and a high fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Lochia (Vaginal Discharge)

Lochia, or vaginal discharge in layperson's terms, is the postpartum menstrual discharge and part of the normal healing process after birth.  Technically, it is the shedding and cleansing of the uterus from any blood, tissue lining, or amniotic fluid from the pregnancy period and is an entirely normal body reaction. The intensity in flow and color subsides after a few weeks, and mild cramping and discharge of some clots can be expected. However, if you notice a  foul smell or greenish-colored vaginal fluid, you may have an infection and must consult a doctor immediately.


Physical changes like the ones we described are entirely normal reactions of the body after undergoing the major transition of giving birth. It is essential to give your body time to heal and adapt. Awareness of proper postpartum care is vital for new mothers to deal with childbirth and bring their bodies and minds back to a comfortable state so they can care for themselves and their babies.

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