Identifying and Preventing 6 Common Postpartum Complications: Understanding Symptoms and Strategies

What is the one thing that most new mothers dread? Postpartum complications. The postpartum period can be a time of great stress and anxiety for new parents, as they struggle to adjust to life with their newborn baby.

One of the scariest parts of this adjustment process is the risk of postpartum complications during the transition from pregnancy to motherhood. In this article, we will discuss six common postpartum complications and how you can prevent them!

Common postpartum complications

1. Infection

Whether you give birth the natural way or via cesarean section, you may have stitches or open wounds, which can happen for several reasons.

While it’s normal for these stitches to cause some discomfort, the area might be infected if the pain increases as the days go by. 

The best thing you can do is to visit your doctor if the pain doesn’t go away.

2. Breast pain

It is wonderful that breastfeeding has many benefits for your little one, but it can also cause breast pain. Although this may sound like a minor issue, it can be a big problem if not addressed properly.

There are several ways to reduce the pain and make breastfeeding easier for you and your baby. For example, using a breastfeeding pillow to support your little one’s head can take the pressure off your back and shoulders if you have to sit for long periods while breastfeeding.

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This way, you can nurse your baby without hurting yourself in the process.

If the pain persists, you might be at risk for a breast infection called Mastitis. It can, however, be treated with a prescription of antibiotics. Consult your doctor if you begin to have a fever or notice redness of the breast.

3. Bleeding excessively

It is normal for you to bleed after giving birth; however, it shouldn’t last more than a week. If the bleeding persists and there are blood clots, you might be at risk for postpartum hemorrhage.

If this is the case, make sure to contact your doctor as soon as possible and follow their instructions carefully.

4. Belly pain and swelling

After giving birth, many first-time mothers think that they will never see their pre-pregnancy belly again; however, it does come back. Although the belly is one of the last areas to recover from pregnancy, it will return in a matter of days/weeks after giving birth.

To speed up your recovery process and reduce swelling, apply ice packs for 20 minutes every few hours. This should help with pain & inflammation as well. We have an in-depth article on how to reduce post-pregnancy belly.

5. Constipation

It is very common for women to experience constipation during the postpartum period. This condition may be caused by several reasons, such as a lack of physical activity, breastfeeding, or taking pain medication.

To avoid this condition, make sure that you are eating a healthy diet and drinking enough water. You can also try to increase your physical activity if you are up for it.

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If these methods don’t work, make sure that you contact your doctor as soon as possible.

6. Depression

It is completely natural to feel a little sad and overwhelmed after giving birth. However, if these symptoms do not fade away or you begin to have difficulty sleeping, it might signify postpartum depression.

To avoid suffering from this condition, make sure that you are getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and taking time to relax. Also, try talking about your feelings with someone you trust or joining a support group for new moms.

While postpartum depression can be extremely difficult to deal with, it is manageable and does not have to make you feel guilty or embarrassed. Many women who seek treatment notice an immediate improvement in their condition.

Postpartum complications – warning signs

Complications can be treated with a high chance of success when discovered early. Take note of the following signs and symptoms.

  • Chest pain
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Seizures
  • Fever
  • Sudden and severe pain in the abdomen
  • Severe headache that doesn’t go away

If you experience any of these symptoms, make sure to contact your doctor immediately.

Postpartum complications – prevention tips

After childbirth, talk to your doctor about what you can do to reduce the risk of postpartum complications. Postpartum consultation and care should be a priority.

Quit smoking and avoid alcohol consumption during your first few weeks after giving birth, as these habits have been linked to a higher risk of postpartum complications.

Eat healthily and maintain a healthy weight; obesity can increase your risk of having gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and postpartum depression.

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Maintain healthy lifestyle habits, such as exercising regularly and limiting stress. Exercise can decrease the risk of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.

Stay in close contact with your doctor after giving birth to prevent complications from occurring. Please make sure that they are aware that you have given birth and might need more medical attention.

Get plenty of sleep (usually 6-8 hours per night) to increase your chances of staying healthy and avoid developing postpartum depression.

Breastfeed if possible as it can help you recover from pregnancy more quickly. It has also been shown to decrease your risk of postpartum depression.

Remember that everyone heals at a different pace, especially after giving birth. The time it takes to recover varies from woman to woman. Do what you can and ask for help if need be.


The postpartum period is difficult for many women, but it does not mean you have to suffer from these common complications. Implementing these tips will help you shorten your recovery time and rapidly return to a healthy lifestyle.

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