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Mum's health.

What’s happening to mum?

Bleeding after the birth is normal, it will be like a very heavy period – use pads, not tampons, to minimise your risk of infection.

If you pass a clot larger than a 50 pence piece speak to your midwife as you could have some of the placenta still inside you.

Baby blues affects up to 80 percent of women, so be prepared to feel quite tearful on about day five. This usually disappears quickly as fluctuating hormones settle down.

Exhaustion can make the baby blues seem worse - try to get more sleep. This isn't easy because you've got a new baby to look after, but even if you just manage a 40-minute nap during the day it will make a big difference.

A temperature higher than 38 0C, could indicate an infection. But some women get a fever and feel shivery when their milk comes in after about three days. Speak to your midwife to rule out any problems.

When your milk comes in, usually between day three and five, your breasts may become engorged with milk. This is relieved by frequent feeding. Hot flannels and warm baths can also help get the milk flowing and soften the breasts.

You may also experience painful letdown – this is when your milk is released ready for a feed, often triggered by your baby crying. For some women this can feel like a sharp, burning-like sensation in the breasts, but it is over in seconds and by about week five it will no longer occur.

If you had a C-section, a small amount of fluid oozing from the incision is nothing to worry about. This is blood and other fluids that have accumulated under the incision. But if oozing persists for longer than a day, tell your midwife - sometimes the incision can open.

If you had an episiotomy or tear, it will probably still be sore this week so you’ll need painkillers. Paracetamol is safe to take while breast feeding. If you need something stronger then try paracetamol with codeine (also safe) although it can cause constipation.

Sitting on bags of frozen peas can be soothing, or try a rubber ring, made for women who have just given birth and available from large pharmacists. And avoid salt baths as this can shrink your stitches.

You may get cramps while breastfeeding because hormones stimulate your uterus to contract back to its smaller size. Again you can take pain killers, and paracetamol is the safest to take while nursing.

Passing urine will probably sting for a couple of days. Try pouring warm water over yourself as you wee, or you could try weeing in a warm bath. If the discomfort goes on for more than several days speak to your midwife to eliminate a urinary infection.

Your first bowel movement after giving birth will be stressful, especially if you've had stitches. But the best advice is to just get on with it, it's never as bad as you think and you won’t burst your stitches. If you've not been to the toilet four days after giving birth then drink masses of water and take prune juice.

Don’t worry if you didn’t bond with your baby the moment you saw him – it’s more common for mums to bond in the first week than on first sight, and nearly one in 10 bond some time after the first week. So if it hasn’t happened yet, it will.  

If you tried breastfeeding and it didn’t work out then take heart in the fact that feeding your baby for just one day would have given his immunity a boost and helped protect him from infection.